This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of January 12

2024-01-12 TWIR Image-PR Hospital


January 10, 1874 
Rockland County Journal

       The daily reports of robberies committed all around us should have the effect of inducing our citizens to adopt some measures for the protection of themselves and property. The pinching times have rendered men desperate, and those who are thieves and burglars by profession more daring and unscrupulous. Our single watchman is as vigilant as any we can find, but as he cannot be ubiquitous we think he should have assistance even if it costs a little more. It is no time to lock the stable after the horse is stolen.

       We notice a number of our young men standing around in different places in our village, as if time wore heavily on their hands. We wonder if they do not know that there is a place provided where they can while away the hours pleasantly, and where they can store their minds with choice knowledge?
       Such a place is the Free Reading Room of the Y.M.C.A., in [the] Commercial Building. It is conducted in the best possible manner, and the tables are filled with well-selected newspapers and periodicals. There is also a fine library connected with the Room, which contains the most valuable works of History, Travel, &e., and also the complete productions of all the popular poets. All are cordially invited to come to the room as often as they have opportunity.

January 9, 1924 100 YEARS AGO
Pearl River News

       Federal Service officers have unearthed 900 bogus $10 bills in a wood, near Chicago. Many thousands of dollars worth has already been taken over by the Federal officers.
       These false bills are in circulation from the East Coast to the Rocky Mts, and may be distinguished as follows:
       They bear the Series of 7G, the portrait of Andrew Jackson and the number D333 under the seal.
       They are said to be imitations of Federal Reserve notes. It is hard to detect them because of the presence of the genuine silk thread in them. A parcel of them, passed by a bank cashier, were received by the Chicago Sanitary Board.
       The confession of Homer Sweeney and his wife, arrested at St. Louis, revealed the cache of counterfeits.
       He said he bought the bills for 10 cents on the dollar. He is said to have given the names of the engraver and the printer, and a search for them is now being instituted.
       Five important arrests have been made; and several minor arrests.
       It behooves the recipient of a $10 Federal Reserve note to examine it, in light of the above identifying characteristics.
       Cashier Lovatt of the First National Bank of Pearl River says they are looking sharply for the tampered tens. There are fives and twenties in counterfeit, also.
       At the State National Bank it was said that one could with some attention, “get onto” these ten dollar counterfeits thru the fact that the silk thread is present.
       The bills are, on that account, probably “thicker” of feel, between the fingers, and if so would be rather readily detected by one alert for them, or used to handling the genuine bills of usual thickness of paper.

January 10, 197450 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

[Image: Pearl River Private Hospital, undated postcard. HSRC Permanent Collection.]
       The 39-year-history of the Pearl River General Hospital, the last seven spent fighting for its survival, will come to an abrupt end Sunday when the last of this week’s eight patients will be either sent home or transferred to another hospital.
       It’s dying gasps will be heard in a series of meetings planned for today, Friday and the weekend with staff, community leaders, and public officials, but administrator Robert Gegerson says the Sunday closing is inevitable, the result of what he termed bureaucratic and financial harassment by the New York State Health Department.
       The primary cause for the closing, Gegerson said Wednesday, is the fact the hospital has not made a profit in two years and has been losing money at an increasing rate for the past six months, putting such a strain on the owner he can no longer afford to keep it operating.
        The loss is directly related to a severe decrease in the number of patients at the hospital, Gegerson said, noting the average at any one point in the past few months was about five while the institution has 29 beds.
       The declining number of patients, in turn, is directly related to the state’s refusal to grant the Pearl River Hospital status as a Medicare-Medicaid facility, the administrator continued. As a result, many patients who would have preferred to go to the Pearl River Hospital have gone instead to Nyack Hospital or Good Samaritan, where they can have their bills paid by the state or federal governments.
       Pearl River area doctors got caught in the middle, Gegerson said, but with some patients who had to go to Nyack or Good Samaritan to get their bills paid, they had little choice but to put others there as well because it was difficult for them to visit patients on a daily basis in two different locations.
       This led to a drop in the number of doctors practicing at Pearl River from about twenty, 2 years ago to only three who Gegerson said still continued to service the hospital on a “regular” basis. They are Drs. Michael Lefkowitz, Henry Dobson, and Anthony Porcelli, all of Pearl River. Lefkowitz is a general surgeon and Dobson and Porcelli are general practitioners.
       The first in a planned series of meetings on the hospital closing will be today at 2:30 p.m., when Gegerson meets with members of the Orangetown Town Board, headed by Supervisor Americo DiFrancesca.
       According to Gegerson, there are only four ways he sees in which the hospital could be reopened, and one of them appeared hopeful as of Wednesday.
       Members of the community could buy it from his father, Dr.Harry Gegerson, and attempt to run it and make a profit; the town could take it over and operate it as a public hospital; another hospital in the county could purchase it and run it as an “outreach” facility; or the state could grant Medicare and Medicaid approval, in which case Gegerson himself would reopen it, his son said.
       Orangetown Councilman Cornelius O’Sullivan of Pearl River, long an outspoken proponent of the hospital’s continued existence, saw little chance for a town takeover when questioned Wednesday night, saying he didn’t think residents would approve the town’s going into such a business, despite the widespread sympathy for the hospital.
       He said today’s meeting will explore the possibility, however, of bringing pressure to bear on the state’s new governor, Malcolm Wilson, in hopes he in turn will bring pressure on the Health Department to re-certify the hospital and grant Medicare-Medicaid approval.
       Officials of the Health Department in Albany were not only dubious of any such effort working, but actually appeared pleased that their long, battle to close the Pearl River Hospital was finally at hand.
        “It’s about time that fire trap was closed,” Associate Health Commissioner Dr. Frank Cicero said Wednesday afternoon when informed of the owner’s decision.
       Calling it “non fire-resistive,” he said there was “no chance” the department would or could ever certify it for Medicare and Medicaid, since one of the highest criterion for such certification is the safety of the structure. Variances cannot be granted for certification, he said.
       Responding to charges by Gegerson that the hospital never heard from the state regarding results of public hearings last year of its relicensing, Cicero said “they were put on notice more than five years ago to close and they kept postponing the inevitable by appealing each year. Their time has run out.”
       He said Gegerson never got a report of last year’s three hearings because none was ever prepared or filed by the hearing examiners. “They have other things to do than keep preparing reports on the Pearl River Hospital you know,” Cicero said of the early spring sessions in Albany and White Plains and a fall hearing in Spring Valley.
       Cicero’s comments were echoed by William Leavy, director of facility planning for the department, who said Pearl River General was ordered in 1968 to close by 1972 at the latest.
       Both men said the state wanted the hospital closed because it was housed in an unsafe structure. They did not mention a second reason which was given by the department at each of the public hearings in which it was claimed Rockland County had an oversupply of hospital beds and some must thus be eliminated.
       Gegerson said his staff and the remaining three doctors will spend the next couple of days preparing patients for discharge or making arrangements to have them transferred to Nyack, Good Samaritan, or Ramapo General hospitals, so the Pearl River Hospital can be closed up Sunday.
       A meeting of the 57 full and part-time employees of the hospital has been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday, Gegerson said, at which time the situation will be explained to them and any questions they might have will be answered.

This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. © 2024 by The Historical Society of Rockland County. #FBF Flashback Friday may be reprinted only with written permission from the HSRC. To learn about the HSRC’s mission, upcoming events or programs, visit or call (845) 634-9629.


Thanks for the information on Pearl River Hospital. I couldn't remember WHEN it closed, and knew Dr. Porcelli.

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