Thursday, April 25, 2013

Save PS 199

Guest post by David Saphier, co-chair of Lincoln Square Community Association and co-creator of

The Bloomberg administration is bringing more high rises to the Upper West Side, with threats to demolish Public School 199 on West 70th Street, as well as another local site, and replace them with luxury condo towers.

The Lincoln Square community has undergone major upheaval over the past few years, with the building of countless high rises, including the Trump Buildings on Riverside Boulevard, all of which have significantly changed the neighborhood from a close-knit, family-friendly community to something very different, a place unaffordable to many. These real-estate developments have also disrupted long-established school catchments and contributed to major overcrowding in schools. As a result, many children are forced to sit on waiting lists for their local public schools.

A while back, the DOE, through the ECF (Education Construction Fund), quietly released a Request for Expressions of Interest to developers for the development of the sites currently hosting PS 199 and PS 191 on the Upper West Side, along with a third site on the East Side. The community was not informed, and the plan as proposed is not subject to any further community, city, or state overview.

The proposed plan for PS 199 outlines the construction of a 50-story residential tower and a new school--a nice sentiment, but it will barely accommodate the additional children that will reside in the tower.

PS 199 was designed by the renowned architect Edward Durell Stone. Although it is a small building for the man who also designed MOMA, Radio City Music Hall, and The Kennedy Center, it is significant. It represents Stone's shift from the International Style to his signature style that drew from classical elements.

According to Landmark West, the school’s 166 thin, glazed white brick piers are faithful to Stone’s love of repetitive columns and are evocative of a grand colonnade. Classical patterning is illustrated in the concentric squares inscribed beneath the roof’s overhang. Stone paid attention to the smallest detail, including the roof design, knowing that the surrounding buildings would view it. The roof contains a cutout that serves as an open-air play space. PS 199 continues the neoclassical spirit of Stone’s unique form of Modernism on the Upper West Side and should be preserved in its own right.

With all of these concerns in mind, the local Lincoln Square community has formed a task force to oppose the project. Please read more details at our website. And consider signing the petition to save PS 199.


chummy's mum said...

They are in the process of doing this to my HS up on E57th and 2nd - knocked it down along with the adjoining elementary public school. Putting up a "multi-use" building in it's place, replete with a Whole Foods on the ground level and, hey what a surprise... condos above. I don't believe there will be a terrace/ any outdoor space for the kids to utilize any longer.

Owen Gereth said...

Who needs public schools anyways? New York has the best private schools in the country, send the kids there. Many give out scholarships and there are still the great public competitive schools the smartest kids can compete to get into.

All of Manhattan is prime real estate and if Mayor Bloomberg and those who make and produce deem it important to build the towers and condos for the rich and powerful and make New York the wealth capital of the world, should they not have the final say? With federal tax reform and radical entitlement reform and lower state and municipal tax rates the economy will soar and the people who can afford to live in these towers will be fighting to do so.

Christine Quinn is the one Democrat who will be sure to continue Mayor Bloomberg's legacy, so voters should take that into account.

vzabuser said...

What process? Its Gone!
New York's famous High School of Music and Art- Demolished- DEMOLISHED
Where are the students now?

Rule #1 in my city:
1. If developers want land in use, they must build the replacement school they promised they'd supply BEFORE the DEMOLITION.

the G said...

57th & 2nd??? that's A&D! No fuckin' way!

(was my HS too, shit.)

Mark said...

I, too, attended the High School of Art & Design on 57th & Second Avenue. I was appalled that the school and adjacent PS 59 were demolished to make way for a condo tower. The students were moved to a much smaller building in mid-block on 56th Street with none of the light that art students require. The two schools now share this building. The 57th Street frontage is a Whole Foods. Unfortunately, I think this battle is pretty much over.

Anonymous said...

In the name of condos: libraries, gone; hospitals, gone; schools, gone. When will they go for the houses of worship? St. Pat's is on a nice piece of property.

BTW, what's with hipsturbia? Brooklyn is now becoming too pricey?

Caleo said...

Owen Gareth- who needs public schools ? Human beings need them, that's who. Do you know any real human beings in your world ? Or does your entire existence revolve around genuflecting before the All Powerful Bloomberg and Those Who Make And Produce?
everyone in this city who pays taxes "makes and produces", and deserves decent schools to send their kids to.
I know I'm talking to a wall, because your attitude perfectly illustrates the new city that all of us are trying to adapt to. Dubai on the Hudson.

vzabuser said...

Sorry, Art & Design at 57th & 2nd...gone
Seems the land was to 'valuable' to let students use it exclusively.

Anonymous said...

It's not over, please fight the good fight! I work in a school in the Julia Richman building on 67th between 1st and 2nd and a deal between Hunter College, a developer, and the DOE would have knocked down our gem of a building to a new, shoddy "multi-use" building on 25 and FDR Drive. The powers that be we're wholly unconcerned with what they would have destroyed. And, I am sure, would have been wholly unconcerned with building us a decent space.

We fought it: made neighborhood allies, marched, had press conferences... In the end we won, a fact which may have been in the end a function of the 2008 crash. However, we held them off for long enough for that to settle it.

JM said...

Uh, Caleo...Owen Gereth was using this thing we call 'sarcasm'. It's when you say the opposite of what you really mean but the way you say it makes it clear that you're actually on the other side.

The Quinn line was kind of the dead giveaway.

We're all in agreement here.

uwsmum said...

Anonymous who works in the Julia Richman school- This is exactly what our group is hoping to achieve! We would love to learn about your tactics. What is happening is such a travesty - a thinly veiled money-making scheme with a claim that it's "for the kids". Any way we could talk offline?

Anonymous said...

i was in a cab going down 2nd the other day and did a freaking double take in disbelief when i noticed A&D high was GONE. i think i even said 'what the fuck' out loud, startling the driver.

i don't know what's more disturbing, that the city can take a vital high school with a storied history and destroy it for high commerce, or that such destruction in this city can go unnoticed, even to the alumni and people like myself who care so much.

Caleo said...

Uh, John M... thanks for the snark and try not to be such a douche about it in the future.
We are definitely not all on the same page on this blog, and people with exactly this attitude have posted comments before. Plenty of folks support Quinn, so that is hardly a dead giveaway. I just responded to what appeared to be a genuine comment.
But I thank Owen for wasting my time and you for pointing it out .

Uncle Waltie said...

Since we're already under fire from so many different directions, may I suggest to refrain from in-fighting. I mean this very sincerely...our adversaries are well-funded, well trained and extremely disciplined. We have to be tactically adept. PS: "Bloomberg is so repulsive".

Brendan said...

Owen Gereth's comment sounded sincere to me. People really do think that way.

Anonymous said...

Uh....Caleo and John: Best of luck to you both.

--------m said...

bloomburg is doing a bang-up job at out-doing the legacy of robert to tear apart our city and destroy communities