I was born in a magnificent Art Deco hospital in Jersey City, the Margaret Hague Maternity (named after Boss Frank, “I am the law,” Hague’s mother) Hospital. It was part of the Jersey City Medical Center. The Art Deco medical center provided virtually free health care for all Jersey City residents. Now it’s a condo called “The Beacon” and is not available to virtually all Jersey City residents. The last time I was in the medical center was during my Grandfather’s final illness in 1962. I wondered at the art deco touches. I was too young to notice them the first time I was in the Medical Center.
Recently I was at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for surgery. I was pleased to see that it, too, is an art deco cluster of buildings, erected at about the same time as Jersey City’s Medical Center. While the lobbies are not as high or grand as those in Jersey City I got a great deal of pleasure from them during my internment. I had a view out the window toward Puget Sound, sunsets, ships, and the art deco tops of the building across the street. I could also watch helicopters bring in people in much worse shape than I was. It gave me cause to be thankful. The lobby to my building, while not the multi-story atrium of Boss Hague’s monument to his mother, has delightful grill work, plaster work, marble columns and period light fixtures. I think looking at things designed to be beautiful helps in healing.