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The original item was published from 4/4/2020 11:58:57 AM to 4/12/2020 12:00:00 AM.

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News & Town Board Reports (gblist)

Posted on: April 4, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Greenburgh Slice of History

A Leading Medical Institution at The Border of Greenburgh: The Story of New York Medical College

Town Historian

Plague Doctor

A Leading Medical Institution at The Border of Greenburgh: The Story of New York Medical College

By: Riley Wentzler & Felicia Barber

In the mist of the current public health crisis presented by coronavirus, the state and the nation must look to the medical community for leadership. Tragically, New York has been the state hit the hardest. However, we are very fortunate to have many leading medical institutions right here in Westchester County.

One such leading medical institution is New York Medical College. New York Medical College was founded in 1860 by the abolitionist – poet William Cullen.  At the time of its founding, it was located at the corner of 20th street and Third Avenue. At this time it was known as the New York Homeopathic Medical College.  New York Medical College became the first medical school to require an entrance exam (Frishman 2016 p.255). It was also one of the first medical colleges to train female doctors. This training began in 1863 with the foundation of a satellite school known as New York Medical College for Women. Then in 1889 it opened the first teaching hospital in the country known as The Flower Free Surgical Hospital ( Dr. Edwin Kilbourne, who developed the flu vaccine, was a professor at New York medical college who taught at this teaching hospital (personal communication from Dr. William Frishman, Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College). The curriculum of the college was so innovative that it was later adopted by The Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins(Frishman 2016 p.255). As a result of this bold curriculum, the college grew in leaps and bounds. By 1960 however, it became too difficult to operate the Flower and Fifth Avenue Hospitals simultaneously. Therefore, the organization began looking for space to build a building big enough to house both facilities. It was this quest for space that brought it to Westchester County. In August of 1971, the institution moved to the grounds of Grasslands Hospital at 100 Woods Rd, Valhalla. Today it is located at 40 Sunshine Cottage Rd Valhalla ( This location is very close to the border of the Town of Mount Pleasant and the Town of Greenburgh, so many Greenburgh residents go to New York Medical College when seeking advice.

Given its status at the forefront of medicine, it should come as no surprise to the reader that the eyes of New York and the nation turned to New York Medical College when looking for ways to handle the: First Ebola Epidemic of 1989, the SARS Epidemic of 2003, and the Second Ebola Epidemic of 2014.

Here is how this venerable institution handled each crisis:

First Ebola Epidemic of 1989:

People with symptoms were isolated (personal communication from Dr. William Frishman, Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College).

The SARS Epidemic of 2003:

People with symptoms were isolated (personal communication from Dr. William Frishman, Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College)

Second Ebola Epidemic of 2014:

People with symptoms were isolated and Dr. William   Frishman was assigned to a national task force on Ebola virus.  He and the other taskforce members created a special ward for Ebola virus patients (personal communication from Dr. William Frishman, Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College).

 (personal communication from Dr. William Frishman, Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College)

As coronavirus marches relentlessly across the state, the nation, and the globe, both the state and nation will undoubtedly look again to New York Medical College for leadership as they did in the past. We prevailed before and we shall prevail again.


Previous Slices of History include:

Greenburgh’s BROTHERLY LOVE, RELIEF AND TRUTH: A History of The Freemasons in Greenburgh (9/12/18)

Greenburgh and The Arts (9/22/18)

A Final Resting Place for “Man’s Best Friend”: The Peaceable Kingdom (9/29/18)

Greenburgh’s Hall of Heroes: Ferncliff Cemetery Where Memories Live Forever (10/12/18)

Greenburgh at The Great American Crossroads: Greenburgh’s Civil War Story(10/19/18)

A Different Kind of Rebel: Greenburgh’s Contributions to the Underground Railroad (10/27/18)

"The Disappearing Railroad Blues" in Greenburgh: The Fate of the Putnam Railroad Line and the old Putnam Trail (11/6/18)

A Thousand Words Which You Never Knew: The Forgotten Story of the Seal of Greenburgh (11/17/18)

How a Flat Tire led to a Happy Escape: The Story of Carvel in Greenburgh (12/11/18)

The Guardians of History: Greenburgh’s Historical Societies (1/6/19)

A Small House, an Important Meeting, a Huge Victory: The Story of the Odell House (1/12/2019)

The Intersection of Banking, Ballet, and School: Greenburgh’s Warburg Estate  (Updated) (10/22/19) 

Lost History: The Tragedy of Malkasten (1/26/19)

A Beautiful View for the Perfect Event: The Belvedere Estate (2/9/19)

The Power of Wealth and Humility: A Reflection on Two Highly Influential African Americans (2/18/19)

Greenburgh Under the Hollywood Lights: The TV shows and movies Filmed in Greenburgh Part I (2/23/19)

Oh, The Places Your Mail has Gone: A History of The Hartsdale Post Office (3/9/2019)

From Insurance to Symphonies: The Home of Charles Ives (3/16/19)

Greenburgh Under the Hollywood Lights: The TV shows and Movies Filmed in Greenburgh Part II (3/29/19)

From Chasing Rabbits to Setting Records: The Amazing Story of Larry James (4/7/2019)

From Fixing Cars to building Infrastructure: How Massaro Park Got its name (4/13/2019)

There is no church here, but “the brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated” this ground: The Story of The Little White Church Cemetery (4/27/19)

Irvington in Chains and our Process A History of Slavery in Irvington and A look at how Slices of History are made (and our interview with historian Robert Marchant) (5/11/2019)

From Farmland to Shopping District: The Rise of Central Avenue (5/25/2019)

Like a long lost friend”: The story of how summer recreation has evolved in Greenburgh (6/7/2019)

Abandon Ship!!! The Story of United Nuclear Corporation and their Short-lived Elmsford Facility (6/28/19)

Beyond Heritage Versus Hate Toward Hope and Reconciliation: The story of Mount Hope Cemetery and its Confederate Monument (7/13/19)

Hidden History: The Story of Fairview Fairgrounds Part I (7/27/19)

Entertainers for Justice (8/3/2019)

A Tale of Two Towns: Greenburgh, NY, and Muncy, PA (8/23/ 2019)

 When Greenburgh Went  “East  Bound and Down”: Greenburgh  During Prohibition (10/6/2019) 

From Mopping The Floor of One Institution to Managing Three at Once: The Amazing Story of Former Westchester County Commissioner of Public Welfare Ruth Taylor (12/12/19)

Greenburgh Gets its “Sun Daze on” Under the Watchful Eyes of the Boys in Blue (1/9/2020) 

Making Martin Luther King Jrs Dream Come Alive the Success Story of the Parkway Homes/ Parkway Gardens Community: (1/18/2020)

Formed By Adversity, Held Together by Faith: The History of the Parkway Homes/Parkway Gardens Community (2/27/2020) 

From an Apple Orchard to The Olympics: The Saint Andrews Golf Club (3/8/2020) 

Ashes Ashes, Ashes!!We all Fall Down(3/23/2020)


About the Authors

We are both Assistant Town Historians at Greenburgh Town Hall and we are engaged to be married and are currently looking for permanent employment.

Riley Wentzler:

I was born and raised in a small rural town in central Pennsylvania. In high school, I took every honors course available including four years of Spanish. I received A’s in all of them. I graduated third in my class of 146 students. This brought me to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Once there, I continued my trend of academic excellence. I graduated summa cum laude in Political Science with a minor in Spanish and a Master’s in Communication Studies, with a G.P.A of 3.94.  It was also there that I met my lovely fiancée, Felicia Barber. My Master’s in Communication has promoted public speaking, teamwork, and customer service. My Political Science degree has developed my research skills using computer-based tools and provided me with experience using the Microsoft Office products. My minor in Spanish has facilitated my bilingual capabilities. During my internship at Greenburgh, I created the petition for the State Roads project using website tools.  My diverse education and areas of interest have provided me with a wide range of skills. I look forward to finding a career opportunity in business or government. To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at assistanthistorian@greenburghny.comor to help me find employment, you can contact me at 

Felicia Barber:

I was born in New York City and raised in Hartsdale, New York. I graduated from Ardsley High School. I recently earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. It was here that I met my fiancé, Riley Wentzler. As a result of my academic excellence, I won a scholarship every year. I learned and applied many graphic design skills to projects during my summer internships and at school. I am proficient in using Adobe graphic design applications including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. For my Identity/branding course at Edinboro, I created logos to appear on the tee-shirts of Physical Education majors. For a veteran’s upcoming event, I used a typeface to focus the reader to the soldier in the poster. For the State Roads Legislative Campaign project, I created the embedded graphic-photo that accompanied the petition I am looking for a job to utilize my skills as a Graphic Designer in an agency, print shop, company or government To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at assistanthistorian@greenburghny.comTo learn more about my artwork or to help me find employment you can contact me at

Two Interviews with the authors:



Frishman, W. (2016). Triumph Over Tragedy: The Odyssey of an Academic Physician . Stamford, Connecticut: Science International Corporation .

 New York Medical College . (2018, (NOT GIVEN) (NOT GIVEN)). History. Retrieved from NYMC:

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