Staten Island University Hospital last night began an "unprecedented" evacuation of patients ahead of powerful Hurricane Irene, which is expected to slam New York City this weekend. Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared a state of emergency and ordered SIUH, massive Coney Island Hospital and the other three hospitals in the city's low-lying "Zone A" coastal areas to evacuate as part of the city's storm preparedness, which will include shutting down the entire transit system for part of the weekend. A major concern for the hospitals is the prospect of power outages, which had deadly consequences for New Orleans in the wake of 2005's Hurricane Katrina. The city's health commissioner, Thomas A. Farley, MD, was chairman of the community health sciences department at Tulane University when Katrina hit. Anthony Ferreri, president and CEO of Staten Island University Hospital, said the evacuation began last night with newborns in the neonatal unit being painstakingly transported, one by one, to Cohen Children's Hospital in Lake Success, L.I. The process was to continue today.