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Old P.S. 64/CHARAS Landmark Anniversary

You can see the H-Plan design from above. Image via Google.
You can see the H-Plan layout from above. Image via Google.

Today marks the ten year anniversary of the LPC designation of  605 East 9th Street, the former P.S. 64 & Charas-El Bohio Cultural Center. GVSHP fought hard in support of this designation along with many neighborhood partners, which saved the property from imminent destruction. As part of an all too common story, the owners of the property attempted to subvert the landmarking process by preemptively removing significant architectural details from the building. Fortunately, the LPC at that time saw through this charade and unanimously designated the property an exterior landmark.

According to the designation report, 48 people spoke in favor of designation including City Councilmember Rosie Mendez and representatives of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, State Assemblymember Sylvia Friedman, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr., Congressmember Nydia Velazquez, State Assemblymember Deborah Glick, State Senator Martin Connor, Community Board 3, the East Village Community Coalition, Place Matters Project, Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Society for the Architecture of the City, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, the Landmarks Conservancy, Municipal Art Society and Historic Districts Council. Six people spoke in opposition to designation including three representatives of the owner, and a representative of REBNY. In addition the Commission has received several hundred letters, petitions and postcards in support of designation.

The East 10th Street side of the building showing deteriorated conditions including the stripped decorative window surrounds, now partially covered with blue tarps.

GVSHP’s testimony focused on the building’significance as a great example of Charles B.J. Snyder’s H-Plan schools, which were designed in a manner to maximize light and air in a city dense with immigrants.  We also focused on the building’s second life as the home of Charas/El Bohio Community Center from the late 1970’s through 2001. Read more about the Snyder and his H-Plan schools herehere for more information on the ongoing saga, and here for the most recent update on the property.

As previously reported, in many of our advocacy campaigns, GVSHP fights for landmark designation of buildings and neighborhoods. In the case of the Charas/El Bohio Community Center, we are also fighting for the community’s ability to continue to use the space as a public, community center, as it had functioned from its construction in 1904 until it was sold by the City to a developer in 1998.

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