Today, May 17th, 2021, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Congress Member Adriano Espaillat, Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa, Councilmember Feliz, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Manhattan Community Board 12 Chairman Eleazar Bueno, Healthcare workers, and community residents held a street co-naming ceremony to honor the tireless commitment and many sacrifices of healthcare workers of New York City at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To memorialize our debt and cement our commitment to support healthcare workers, 168th Street, between Broadway and Fort Washington St., was co-named Healthcare Heroes Way.
The Covid-19 / Novel Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 is the most critical global health threat in generations. New York City was the initial epicenter of the Coronavirus epidemic in the United States, with over 260,000 cases as of late October 2020.
The almost 24,000 deaths in this period represent over ten times the number of people who perished at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
New York City hospitals were at the forefront of the first wave of COVID-19 response in the City. Notably, New York-Presbyterian / Columbia University Irving Medical Center, premier national medical institutions, played a key role both in the treatment of COVID-19 patients and the development of new protocols to improve outcomes and lower death rates.
During the height of the pandemic, New York Presbyterian-Columbia and NY-Presbyterian-Allen Hospital surged their capacities, both indoors and out, adding many additional beds to adeptly respond to the large number of New Yorkers seeking COVID-19 related treatment.
Throughout every minute of every day of these tumultuous months, an extraordinary team of healthcare professionals at New York-Presbyterian / Columbia University Irving Medical Center worked tirelessly to help their fellow New Yorkers fight this new and dangerous disease. Medical students at Columbia University’s Vagelos Medical School even graduated early to help join the fight.
Doctors, nurses, first responders, and other medical personnel put their lives at risk to ensure that all those diagnosed with COVID-19 are treated and cared for to the best of their ability.
The vast essential workforce of New York-Presbyterian / Columbia University Irving Medical Center also includes those who work in critical roles beyond healthcare delivery: custodial, food service, security staff, chaplains, administrative staff and others.
Like the front-line medical staff and first responders, they came to work every day to care for all who came through the doors, even with the risks to themselves and their families.
Each of these healthcare professionals have put their own lives at risk, distanced themselves from their own loved ones, and challenged the limits of their mental health and fortitude.
Whatever their occupation in this time, they all embody the Florence Nightingale Pledge — an oath those in the nursing profession take, which states — I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession…and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.
Northern Manhattan is home to many other residents who responded to the worst public health emergency of our time, including many who work in the healthcare professions beyond NYP & CUIMC, as well as numerous committed volunteers who from day one helped their more vulnerable neighbors meet their daily needs.
To honor and continue to support the thousands of dedicated medical and nursing professionals, EMTs, social workers, administrators, custodial and food service staff, volunteers, and others vital to the continuity of care during our City’s darkest hour, W. 168th Street, between Broadway and Fort Washington Avenue, will be co-named as Healthcare Heroes Way.
“We must never forget the many sacrifices made by all healthcare workers during the height of the pandemic. Healthcare workers rose to the challenge and helped deliver us from the worst health crisis of our generation. More than 300 healthcare workers lost their lives to the virus. They must be treated like essential workers not just when we need them but when they need us,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “I am proud to be joined by my colleagues in government, the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and The Columbia Medical School as we unveil Healthcare Heroes Way.”
“This city owes a huge debt of gratitude to the healthcare workers who worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m thrilled that we are co-naming a street in their honor as a permanent reminder of all they sacrificed to keep us safe. It will be an inspiration for generations to come, and hopefully a source of pride to these dedicated women and men. Thank you to my colleague Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez and Community Board 12 for making this happen,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
“Daily, our health care workers served selflessly on the frontlines to aid our communities, and there is no greater example of this than the health care heroes in New York City,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “We owe our health care heroes a tremendous amount of gratitude that extends beyond the pandemic as their work to protect our community is ongoing and their sacrifices immeasurable. By commemorating Healthcare Heroes Way, we will have a lasting memorial of their work and commitment and of our gratitude for the health care workers who continue to fight on the frontlines to help our city rebuild, recover and get back on track.”
“Healthcare workers and all those we call essential became our daily heroes in times of despair and uncertainty. This pandemic at its peak showed us how vulnerable our care facilities can be; in turn, these frontline workers stood firm to tackle this health crisis in the most courageous acts of bravery and boldness to save lives. Today, we honor their heroic efforts and contribution to humanity during a global emergency, especially in Northern Manhattan that has been plagued with higher mortality rates.” Said Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa. “I look forward to seeing the co-naming of Healthcare Heroes a staple of appreciation and gracefulness in our community.”
Uptown Senator Robert Jackson said, “I have so much deep respect and gratitude for the healthcare professionals working in public health settings for the past 14 months to keep us safe. When New York City was the epicenter of the virus, you put yourselves on the front lines. Today we come together in unity to honor our healthcare heroes and to thank you. I also pledge my ongoing support as a legislator to fight for the changes that we all collectively need to see in order to keep you safe in the future.”
“No one deserves more celebration and honor this past year than our essential frontline healthcare workers,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “From janitors, to food service workers, to medical staff, and everyone in between, you have shown up in the darkest of days to fight against COVID and for that, we are eternally grateful for your service. I am proud to join Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez to rename 168th Street ‘Healthcare Heroes Way’.”
“The naming of this street is a wonderful tribute to the thousands of health care providers, medical researchers, students, administrators, technicians, public health workers, facilities and security personnel, and many others in crucial support roles who have played such an important role in fighting this pandemic. We did this in partnership with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital,” said Anil K. Rustgi, MD, Interim Executive Vice President and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “We are truly humbled by the community’s support throughout this historic crisis.”
“We are honored to be recognized for the heroic work of all health care workers,” said Dr. Steven J. Corwin, president and chief executive officer of NewYork-Presbyterian. “Thank you to our amazing team of health care heroes for your unwavering commitment to caring for our patients and all New Yorkers during this incredibly challenging time. We are deeply grateful for what you do every day for this great city of ours as we work together to end this pandemic.”