Health & Medicine

Father of Gynecology?

What: A controversial statue of the “Father of Modern Gynecology”
When: 1894
Where: Fifth Avenue and 103 Street


Dental School

What: New York College of Dentistry, third oldest in the country
When: mid-1800s
Where: 161 Fifth Avenue


A Rural Cemetery

What: A cemetery to address 19th century bans on downtown burials
When: mid 1800s
Where: 770 Riverside Drive, between 153 and 155 streets


The Doctors Riot

What: Armed protest of doctors who were grave robbing for medical dissection
When: 1788
Where: Trinity Church and then Manhattan-wide


Harlem Hospital

What: Trained African American physicians and nurses during segregation
When: Founded in 1887
Where: Harlem


Opium for Mothers at Bellevue

What: Women suffering from infection during childbirth were treated with high doses of opium
When: Mid Nineteenth Century
Where: Bellevue Hospital


Spanish Flu

What: Spanish flu hit New York City less drastically than some other American cities
When: 1918
Where: New York City


Birth Control Clinic

What: One of Margaret Sanger’s first contraceptive clinics
When: 1930 to 1973
Where: 17 West 16 Street, Manhattan


Typhoid Mary’s Exile

What: Cook Mary Mallon was forcibly detained on North Brother Island to stem the spread of typhoid
When: Early 1900s
Where: North Brother Island, in the East River


Malaria Therapy

What: A misguided effort to fight one disease, syphilis, with another, malaria.
When: 1930s
Where: The Rockefeller Institute


Factory Fire Horror

What: A fire that killed 146 employees in a factory in Greenwich Village led to the creation of the American Society of Safety Engineers and improved labor laws.
When: 1911
Where: Washington Place, Greenwich Village, Manhattan


Ginsing in Gotham

What: Elgin, America’s first public botanical garden, cultivated many plants with medical properties. Centuries later, one of those plants would reappear in medical stores in Chinatown.
When: 1801
Where: Fifth Avenue with 50 Street, Manhattan


Clandestine Abortionist

What: Ann Trow Lohman, known as Madame Restell, ran a 19th century abortion house at a time when physicians advocated for fertility control.
When: 1840
Where: Fifth Avenue and 52 Street, Manhattan


Walking the Line on Ellis Island

What: Officers from the Public Health Service examined thousands of immigrants who arrived by ship, controlling who could enter the country
When: 1929
Where: Ellis Island, Upper New York Bay


When Hogs Ruled

What: About 20,000 hogs—one for every five people—roamed the city in the first half of the 19th century. After the outbreak of cholera epidemics in the 1830s, the pigs were persecuted by the police and driven to other boroughs. It was later discovered that they were not to blame for the epidemics.
When: 1820
Where: Everywhere in Manhattan


Heat Wave 1896

What: An intense heat wave killed 1,500 people and was nearly lost to history because of the paucity of records
When: 1896
Where: New York City


Metropolis of Coffee

What: Coffee has been in New York since the Dutch settled. The first coffee house was the Kings Arms Tavern; the first coffee roasters was Gillies.
When: 1660s to the present
Where: The Financial District


Father of Pediatrics

What: Established pediatrics as a medical field
When: 1853
Where: 20 Howard Street, Manhattan


A Madhouse in the East River

What: Reporter for “The New York World,” Nellie Bly pretended to be a patient in order to spend ten days in New York’s worst mental institution. Her article transformed conditions at the institution.
When: 1887
Where: Roosevelt’s Island


Black History Unearthed

What: Discovered in 1989, this slave cemetery held an estimated 15,000 individuals, and overturned the widespread notion that slavery in America was largely a Southern phenomenon.
When: 1700s
Where: 290 Broadway


Yellow Fever Fence

What: Repeated yellow fever outbreaks led to quarantines and a fence
When: 1822
Where: Financial District, Manhattan


Cold Blood

What: A discovery by physician Charles R. Drew enabled blood to be stored for a year, instead of the usual seven days. The finding had huge importance during the World War II.
When: 1938
Where: Columbia University’s Presbyterian Hospital, Manhattan


Infamous Lung Block

What: A tenement rife with tuberculosis that was eventually razed
When: Early 1900s
Where: Between Catherine, Cherry, Hamilton and Market streets on the Lower East Side in Manhattan


Rural TB Retreat

Home for Chronic Invalids. (Image: Montefiore Medical Center)

What: The 25-bed Montefiore Home for Chronic Invalids
When: 1884
Where: 84 Street and York Avenue