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Ghosts of St. Vincent's

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  146 ratings  ·  25 reviews
“Before the entitled lived here exclusively, the marginalized died in droves.”

Founded in 1849 to care for indigent immigrants in Greenwich Village, St. Vincent’s Hospital was sold in 2010 to create multi-million-dollar homes. In its 161 years of existence, the legendary institution treated survivors of the Titanic, tended to victims of both World Trade Center attacks, and
Published March 10th 2017 by BookBaby
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Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I truly want to read more from Tom Eubanks. Once I started this book I was captivated and couldn't put it down. Thank you for writing this Tom!

One of my favorite lines from the book: I used to think that coming out stories were like assholes:every queen has one and cultivated it proudly. But coming out isn't a single event. Doors have hinges. By nature they open and close. Coming out, I realized, is a graduating continuum of self-acceptance, bravery, and opportunity. The process never ends.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
While I originally picked up this book thinking it was a history of the hospital (and it still turned out to be, in a way), I kept reading it because the author captured me with the way he spilled his spirit onto the page. I am too young to have lived through the era but he brought me there with his stories and had me thinking of some books by Abraham Verghese in certain parts. Being chronically ill myself I could relate to more passages than I cared to, but that is also what I loved about the b ...more
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn to this book simply because I was a nurse at St. Vincent's both before and at the beginning of the AIDs crisis (I did not work the AIDs Units- but we were all touched by it).
I liked this book very much, but it was hard to read as it brought back some horrid memories of how cruel the world was during those years. Strengthened my love, pride and admiration for the people of Saint Vincent's.
Fiona Helmsley
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I read online that the author had to self- publish because publishers felt that the recent spate of books with AIDS storylines made the genre bloated. How absolutely ridiculous. (Funny how some stories have restrictive quotas to their telling, others not so much.) Eubanks is a great writer with an erudite yet chatty style. If anything, I wished it were longer.
Alyx Hurst
A beautiful account of a dark period so recent in our history, Eubanks sheds light on the day to day life of a gay man at the height of the AIDS crisis. I learnt a lot and I felt a lot through reading this book.
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Eubanks pays bittersweet homage to an institution, which served those at the epicenter of the AIDS crisis in the 70s, 80s and 90s, St Vincents. Beautiful, dark introspection of those friends he witnessed dying juxtaposed against his own “miraculous” 3x survival from complications that killed his peers a mere 12 months prior to his last visit to the “Sevens....” I have no words. The chapter on Lazarus Redux was brilliant.

His musings on the conversion of St Vincents to luxury apartments express ex
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a heartfelt quasi-memoir, quasi-fiction work, which I thought was very interesting, but the memoir sections is where it really excelled. Eubanks has a plainspoken, efficacious yet emotional way of writing. I enjoyed it a lot.
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wilkes
An important look at the AIDS crisis beautifully told by braiding the author's own story with a history of St. Vincent's Hospital, 'ground zero' of the epidemic in NYC. ...more
susan murray
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Won from goodreads
About st Vincent's hospital and some of the patients on the 7th floor .
Some interesting stories mainly about one patient and his life from the beginning also who he met along the way.
He was one of the lucky ones that the drug saved .
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The novel is about some famous patients of St. Vincent's and the AIDS sick narrator. I was a bit disappointed that more than the half of the book is about the gay narrator who suffered from AIDS when it was a taboo and no cure in sight. There was no tension f the narrator is going to survive it because the back of the book already tells you that he will be saved. One sees that Tom Eubanks did a lot of research for the stories of the historical characters as well as for the detailed description o ...more
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great read! Highly recommended.
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The book was more of a series of vignettes interspersed with the author's own experiences at the hospital. I actually think it worked better than a linear history would have. Sandwiching the story of how Edna St Vincent Millay got her middle name with the story of Mayor Koch meeting Joey Ramone in the waiting room around the more gruesome stories of the 7th floor was a good balance. I have tried to forget the 7th floor as I visited friends there. It was grim. But the nursing staff went above & b ...more
May 15, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fairly unique approach to memoir (I believe that's what it is, though it's not entirely clear). The chapters flip between those narrated by a young man with HIV spending time in St. Vincent's in the 1990s and historical figures who have spent time there in years prior. I found all of the chapters engaging. I read this in a couple of hours and hardly put it down. There are multiple grammatical errors (mostly missing words), which did impact my rating a bit. I also enjoyed the shifting p ...more
Gregory Orr
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
St Vincent’s hospital in the West Village dates back to the Civil War and had a long, glorious history in NYC. Nearing the end of the 20th century it was also the epicenter of the AIDS crisis. Hundreds of men died alone and shunned by their families on the 7th floor AIDS ward. Tom Eubanks was one of those 7th floor ward patrons near death. Until the new AIDS meds took hold of him and he’s still here today. Weaving a historic non fiction history of the hospital mixed with his own story as a trans ...more
Lisa Workman
May 08, 2017 rated it liked it
I like to read books about the histories of old hospitals. I enjoyed the parts of this book that told stories of St. Vincent's and the people there, and the author's recount of his personal experiences on the 7th floor. I felt like the book went off on a number of unrelated tangents, though, and lost something in the process. My favorite story was about how Vito snuck out to see a movie - it was very endearing. I would've loved to see more stories like that in this book, and more history and det ...more
Pat Morris
Jul 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this book because I thought it was a history of the hospital and because I lived on Bank Street in the early 80’s before AIDS. I felt the best part were the imagined hospital conversations of little Frankie Spellman and Roy Cohn as well as Ed Koch and Johnny Ramone. The author really captures the spirit and the sense of community that existed in the early days of AIDS when so many of my young men friends died. The ghosts of St.Vincent’s should haunt the church and the gentrific ...more
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book succeeds despite rather than because of the autobiographical element. I feel like an ass for saying so, but the author doesn't come across as very likable. But then, we are who we are, and his experience is one that needs to be told and preserved. He took the time to contextualize his own experiences and create a memory of a time and place that shouldn't be forgotten.

While not an amazing pleasure read, it's a very interesting historical read. Really a 4.5 star sort of situation.
vanessa johnson
Aug 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Witty and articulate

This is a terrific book. Tom Eubanks manages to combine an informative history of St. Vincent's with his own experiences of the hospital in a seamless narrative. Laugh out loud moments come as often as tears do and there is a constant sense of the author's sense of irony and the absurd.

I'll be looking out for more from Mr. Eubanks if this is the standard of writing he can achieve.
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating biography of both the author and the hospital. I read it because my sister was a social worker at St. Vincent's for 25 years, but my "connection" to the book was not necessary to enjoy this compelling book. ...more
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Coming out and surviving AIDS. A perfect sunday afternoon read.
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
3.5 stars. This was good, but I wanted more descriptions of 1980s NYC.
Rachel Simenec
All in all, it was a good read. I noticed a few typos and underdeveloped stories that left me confused. Still, it kept my interest and I enjoyed it.
Thomas Severino
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
History of people who stood against the plague in a place that welcomed the hopeless and alone. Immensely good reading. Poignant and heroic ...
Ellie Hope
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 75
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Tom Eubanks lives in Southern California.

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