NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island originated in 1875 as an emergency first-aid station located on the oceanfront beach near West Third Street. The cases consisted chiefly of lacerations of the feet caused by broken bottles. On May 12, 1902, a small, one and ½-story wooden building located on Sea Breeze Avenue was rented to serve as an emergency hospital during the summer months. Generally referred to as Sea Breeze Hospital, it was officially known as Reception Hospital, and was actually an annex of Kings County Hospital. This unit had accommodations for 20 beds and facilities for emergency treatment. Patients requiring surgery or prolonged treatment and care were taken by horse-drawn ambulance to Kings County Hospital, about seven miles away.
With the rapid population growth in the southern part of Brooklyn, the need for a large and permanent hospital in the area became apparent. In 1908, construction of a 100 bed hospital was started on land purchased just north of Coney Island Creek and east of Ocean Parkway. On May 18, 1910, dedication ceremonies were held. NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island consisted of six buildings: the Main Hospital Building, Nurses Home, Employees Dormitory, Laboratory Building, Power Plant, and Laundry Building. The shore-front community experienced a population explosion as veterans returned from World War II, so the two white brick towers that make up the current hospital were opened in 1954. In spring 2006, NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island opened a new inpatient bed tower to provide care to its ever-changing, ever-growing community.
Southern Brooklyn has long been a Mecca to new immigrants. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries it was ethnic Jews, Irish, and Italians who settled here. In the ’50s and ’60s, African-Americans migrated from the South to live and work in New York City. Many settled in Coney Island where there was newly constructed affordable housing. From the late 1970s through the early 1990s, Brighton Beach became known as “Little Odessa” because it became the home of refugees fleeing religious and political persecution in the former Soviet Union. In the last 10 years, immigrants from many parts of the world have made southern Brooklyn their home as they sought a better life for themselves and their children. During its years of service, NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island has established its reputation for clinical excellence and culturally competent care. The hospital has been recognized for its clinical innovations in Primary Care, Adolescent Medicine, Nuclear Medicine, and Emergency Services. The hospital’s staff is as diverse as the patients they serve. Interpreter services can be provided at any time of the day or night in over 130 languages.
People from all over the world have not only found a home in southern Brooklyn but they have chosen to make their medical home at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island.