New images show how the Cathedral of St. John the Divine is being converted into the city’s latest field hospital — its seats now replaced with hospital beds.
Volunteers Wednesday labored to convert the massive, storied Morningside Heights house of worship into a makeshift infirmary as the city grapples with the worst coronavirus outbreak in the US.
With the thousands of church seats removed from the cathedral’s cavernous, 600-foot-long nave, workers began lining rows of 400 beds and erecting the white tents that will soon be staffed by healthcare workers from the neighboring Mount Sinai Health System.
Church leaders announced the conversion of what is billed as the largest Gothic cathedral in the world on Monday to assist in the dire shortage of beds at city hospitals.
The cathedral’s emergency hospital is expected to be open and receiving patients, including COVID-19 cases, within the next week or so, according to the Episcopal News Service.
“In the history and tradition of the church, and following the example of Jesus, cathedrals have long served as places of refuge and healing in times of plague and community crisis,” the Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel III, dean of the cathedral, said in the statement to the outlet.
“The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is stepping up now, as we always have, to help support our diverse and beloved community and the community of doctors, nurses and volunteers risking their health and well-being in the service of the people of New York City in our hour of need,” Daniel added.