203 Second Avenue | Block : 468 | Lot #36
Description & Building Alterations
Like its neighbors, this five-story brick building began its life as a private home, developed by Hamilton Fish circa 1862. However, it did not follow the same development paths of those buildings. In 1909, the building was purchased by Moses Greenbaum and converted into The People’s Hospital. During this conversion, the rear wall and the original raised-stoop entrance was removed. According to a 1911 New York Times article, the hospital was opened “to relieve pressure on other east side hospitals, all of which are overcrowded, and makes a particular appeal to Austrians and Hungarians.” In 1913, Dr. Freiderich Friedmann tested his tuberculosis serum at the hospital. It was hoped that it would cure the disease, but later testing by the Surgeon General revealed that it did not. A laboratory was added to the rear of the building and at some point a morgue was installed in the basement…
In 1949, the building became a home and day care for the elderly. Named for one of the trustees of the hospital, the William I. Sirovich House had space for socialization and recreation and would also have social workers on staff to work with the seniors. It never provided a place for the elderly to live, like many other Homes for the Aged, but provided a daycare facility, again, a rather modern notion for the time. The day care operated in the space until 1976 when it was turned into the Ukrainian Museum, founded by the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America who presently occupy this building.
Very few original facade details remain. The brick has been stuccoed and painted and the stone lintels and sills have been shaved off and painted over. The metal cornice was also removed and a brick-arched extension was added to the first floor.
Block : 468 / Lot : 036 / Building Date : 1862 / Original Owner : Hamilton Fish / Original Use : Residential / Original Architect : Unknown