Doctors, nurses, and hospital staff are always on the frontlines, caring for our loved ones.
They are our everyday heroes, but they are also our neighbors, friends, and family.
by Deborah L. Martin photography by Andrew Matusik
In April 2020, while New York City was still the United States epicenter of the novel coronavirus pandemic, we were in the throes of planning a story celebrating
the hardworking staff of NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital.
We wanted to show the strength and heroism, but more importantly the humanity, of the people who were the literal frontline in the fight against this mysterious, and deadly, virus.
The hospital has been a longtime supporter of our Downtown magazine mission—to celebrate the community and diversity of our beloved downtown neighborhoods. They have always been an integral part of the Lower Manhattan family, even more so now.
We planned a shoot with 33 members of the NewYork-
Presbyterian family, from a chaplain to nurses and doctors to members of the security department and dietitians, and on May 12, we watched as these determined and brave humans— our neighbors and friends—assembled on a cobblestone street in the Seaport, where our intrepid photographer, Andrew Matusik, photographed them from a scissor lift.
We then interviewed each of them and were reminded of what we have always known. The people who devote their lives in service to our health are heroes. They show up every day to keep our hospitals clean and well supplied, to guide our spirits in times of need, to administer medications, innovate treatments, help us breathe, and teach us to walk and live again.
Not all heroes wear capes.
The last several months have been trying times for all New Yorkers as we have battled the COVID-19 pandemic together. Despite the challenges and hardships, we continue to face, our Lower Manhattan community continues to demonstrate tremendous resilience and perseverance.
“This community’s ability to overcome adversity is well-known”
This community’s ability to overcome adversity is well-known, and it has, once again, been a defining attribute and a source of inspiration for all New Yorkers.
During this pandemic, the outpouring of support and love for our hospital has been a constant light. We have received countless donations of food and supplies for our front-line workers. Hundreds of letters expressing gratitude and encouragement are prominently displayed on a special recognition wall for all of our staff to see. Every night at 7 p.m., our teams were recognized and applauded as healthcare heroes by the community at large, including the brave women and men of the FDNY. It’s difficult to fully convey how meaningful this has been to us as we’ve fought side-by-side during this pandemic.
On behalf of all of us at NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital, I would like to sincerely thank the entire community for supporting our hospital and staff in so many ways. As we transition to our “new normal,” please know that our commitment to you – to always provide the highest quality and most compassionate care to every member of our community– is unwavering.
We look forward to experiencing and celebrating better days ahead with all of you.
Juan Mejia Juan Mejia Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital
The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis the likes of which we have never seen. As the initial epicenter in the United States, New York City has borne unimaginable damage. This virus attacked New Yorkers with ruthless efficiency, resulting in losses that we will mourn for a long time to come. But it has also served to remind us—and the world—that New Yorkers are a different breed. Once again, in a time of profound tragedy, we have shown that we are fighters who may get knocked down, but who always get back up.
Our heroic health care workers have been on the front lines of the battle against this virus. While we have always known that they are exceptionally dedicated, skilled, and compassionate professionals, now everyone has come to see their unwavering commitment to helping their patients. Even during the most, dire moments, they continued to fight to save every life possible, putting their own health and safety at risk to help others.
NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital is a remarkable place. Like all of our hospitals, it exists, above all else, to serve our community. During this crisis, it has been amazing to witness our neighbors galvanize behind the doctors, nurses, and staff and lift their spirits in the darkest days. On behalf of everyone at NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital and the entire NewYork- Presbyterian family, we thank you for your incredible support of our front-line health care workers. Thank you for the cheers, for the meals, for the words of encouragement and gratitude.