In 2017, the convention center began another round of renovations to further expand its exhibition capacity. Under Cuomo’s stewardship, the $1.5-billion plan will increase Jacob Javits’s total floor area to 3.3 million sq ft (307,000 sq m).

The additional facilities at Javits Center, which could increase to 2,000 beds as Cuomo suggested, will help divert traffic from New York’s overburdened hospital system, but the governor says he’s looking for other viable facilities within the city. The Wing, a chain of co-working clubs geared for women, has offered free access to 70,000 sq. ft of space. Their facilities include  showers, operational kitchens, hospital grade lactation pumps, and two childcare areas.

Thomas Quigley, director of healthcare at the global architecture firm HOK, explains says that erecting a separate hospital for non-Covid cases will help stem the spread of the virus. “What you want to do is decant or direct the less acute and non-Covid-19 patients away from the current hospital,” he explains. “The temporary hospital allows for clinical care in a medically supervised environment, where they are less likely to become infected and can receive the appropriate care.”

He says that the Javits Center’s location, access to transportation, and wide, open floor plans make it an excellent spot for such a facility. “It has space, and lots of it,” Quigley explains. “The space is configured with large, open, structural bays with high ceilings. I suspect…they could erect entire military tent hospitals inside of the building.”

Quigley also says that the Javits Center’s massive loading docks are a big plus. “Conventions and shows, by their nature, require you to move large amounts of freight in and out in short periods of time. For a hospital, you can move very large equipment, in significant volume, through those docks in short order to get just such a facility set up,” he says.

Correction: A previous version of this story noted that the number of confirmed cases in New York City was over 25,000. That’s the figure for the entire state. At the time of publication, the city’s figure was over 15,000. It has been updated to reflect that, but please note, too, that the number is continuing to change.

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