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Kips Bay: Bellevue Hospital

StuyTown Apartments are located near the Manhattan neighborhood of Kips Bay. There are many areas of Kips Bay with a rich history and many stories to tell. One of the most famous institutions of this neighborhood is the Bellevue Hospital Center. Bellevue which was founded in 1736 is the nation’s oldest public hospital.

The Founding

In 1736 when Bellevue was founded, New York City was a very different place. Far less populated the city barely extended past Wall Street. At the time, two miles north of Manhattan was mostly unpopulated wilderness. This unsettled area was an ideal place to build Bellevue which was originally opened as a location to keep the ill quarantined. However, the hospital would soon start to grow past its original intent with the opening of the first maternity ward in the nation in 1799.   


The 1800s saw Bellevue Hospital grow and expand into several key areas of medical science and education. In the area of education in 1819, clinical instruction courses began at Bellevue being taught by educators from New York University. This would lead to the opening for the purposes of surgery and further medical education classes. Finally 1861 would see the opening of Bellevue Hospital Medical College. The Bellevue Hospital Medical College is historically significant for being the first medical college in New York with ties to a hospital; their 1883 residency program is still the medical standard. Bellevue also opened the United States’ first nursing school for women in 1873 and also the nation’s first male nursing school in 1888.      

Medical care would see a lot of growth with the opening of several different clinics, national firsts, and areas of expertise as the hospital grew. These included the first morgue in New York City in 1866, the first children’s clinic in the United States in 1874, the first building devoted solely to for emergency care in 1876, and the first building dedicated to the care of the mentally unwell 1879. Bellevue became especially famous for its psychological care which was considered highly advanced for the timeframe. Expansion and innovation continued as the The Carnegie Laboratory opened in 1884 the first lab in the nation to focus entirely on the study of bacteria. As the 1800s came to a close Bellevue opened a unit for the care and treatment of alcoholics in 1892.      


In the 20th century Bellevue continued to lead the way in medical care and innovation in several key areas.

  • 1902 the acceptance of both women and African American physicians into the hospital.
  • 1903 the Bellevue Chest Service was opened to fight tuberculous.  
  • 1911 they opened the nation’s first ambulatory cardiac clinic.
  • 1917 saw the opening of a ward focused on the treatment of metabolic ailments.
  • 1941 saw the opening of the nation’s first catastrophe unit.
  • 1952 a heart failure clinic opened.
  • 1962 an intensive care unit opened.
  • 1981 certification for cardiac emergencies was granted by the city of New York.
  • 1983 New York City also granted Bellevue status as a level one trauma center.
  • 1984 saw a microsurgery designation.
  • 1988 official recognition for head and spinal treatment.
  • 1990 a residency training program with accreditation in Emergency Medicine was established.


Located near Stuyvesant Town Apartments, today Bellevue continues to treat and care of patients with its in-house staff of 5,500 employees and 1,800 attending physicians. Note that in 2014 Bellevue helped care for Dr. Craig Spencer who contracted Ebola during the worldwide 2014 outbreak.   


At A Glance

Bellevue Hospital