The Floating Hospital Legacy
Launched as NYC’s first charity pediatric clinic, The Floating Hospital has provided a healthier and more hopeful future to over 5 million New Yorkers.
Today, as a Federally Qualified Health Center, TFH continues its historic legacy as “Family Doctor to NYC Families In Need,” by providing 80,000 primary medical, dental and mental health patient visits annually to homeless women and children living in the NYC family shelter system. More About How We Help
Established in 1866
Founded as part of the St. John’s Guild of Trinity Church philanthropic efforts, The Floating Hospital has remained true to its mission for nearly 145 years: serving all families in need without regard to creed, color or nationality. Launched in an era of public health epidemics ranging from cholera to smallpox, with orphans and homeless boys and girls working as child laborers and immigrant families living in slums and cramped tenements, The Floating Hospital provides a health care safety-net for NYC's most vulnerable women and children.
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The New York Times Issues an Appeal
JULY 3, 1872: The New York Times asks wealthy New Yorkers to support this meaningful mission by helping poor children (including their own newsboys) temporarily escape the crushing heat, filth and diseased conditions of a NYC summer. In the first year alone, 18,600 impoverished children and caretakers enjoy these free chartered ferry rides and countryside picnic excursions and experience for the first time in their young lives the benefits of “fresh air and healthy food.”
The Floating Hospital is Launched
JULY 19, 1875: The Floating Hospital “Summer Sails” continue to gain in popularity and prompt the St. John’s Guild to commission its own vessel to help significantly expand the number of trips and scope of health services offered. The “Emma Abbot,” named for an opera star (and early benefactor), is christened and hosts 909,104 mothers and children over
a 14-year period.
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Services Expanded to Staten Island
1881: The need for health care for NYC’s poor exceeds the resources available on the Ship’s Main Clinic. St. John’s Guild establishes the Seaside Nursery on the sea shore in Staten Island with patient transportation provided by the Ship. In 1887, a 200-bed hospital facility for children is built along side the nursery and this extension of The Floating Hospital continues to operate until 1939, serving 79,902 patients.
The Floating Hospital Successors
1889 -- 1973: To generations of New Yorkers, each individual “Ship of Health” is a treasured symbol of hope and promise for a better future, and collectively remains fondly remembered by all as THE FLOATING HOSPITAL. The second TFH Ship, the “Helen C. Juilliard” launches in 1889 to replace the “Emma Abbott.” The “Helen C. Juilliard II” launches in 1916… followed by the “Lloyd I. Seaman” in 1935… and the “Lila Acheson Wallace” in 1973.
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TFH Incorporates Under NYS Law
1980: St. John’s Guild dissolves and The Floating Hospital incorporates under New York State law and continues to provide Ship-based health care services while anchored near Wall Street until September 2001.
The Floating Hospital Charts a New Course
2001: Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, The Floating Hospital is unable to secure affordable and accessible dock space, and makes the decision to sell the Ship in 2004 to a private investor. TFH continues to provide uninterrupted health care services at its network of clinics located within the NYC family homeless shelter system.
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“Dropping Anchor" in Long Island City
2006: Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and NYS Assembly Member Cathy Nolan join the Grand Opening festivities as The Floating Hospital launches its new land-based main clinic site and administrative headquarters in Long Island City (Queens) in October 2006. This newly renovated 5,200 square foot facility provides over 10,000 patient visits to homeless families in its first year of operation.
Healthy LIC Community Health Center Opens
October 26, 2009: Long Island City Public Officials, neighbors and community partners help TFH celebrate the Grand Opening of its newest facility. TFH Friend, Andrea Mantione, and Board Members Dean LaBate, Dr. Debra Pellegrino, Maude Askin and Evelyn Lord (l to r) join the festivities.