Community Board 3 Passes Resolution on P.S. 64

CHARAS (old PS 64) 605 E 9th St – plans for community use

VOTE: Whereas, the former PS 64, also known as Charas-El Bohio, located at 605 E. 9th Street, is a beloved community building that has served the Lower East Side since it was built more than a hundred years ago; and

Whereas, for nearly 70 years it was a public school serving as both an educational and cultural center for immigrants first from eastern and southern Europe and then from Latin America; and

Whereas, in the mid-1970’s after New York City closed the school, community activists and artists took over the building to create a vibrant community center where local non-profit organizations and artists of all kinds could thrive; and

Whereas, over vehement community opposition Mayor Giuliani in 1999 sold the former PS 64 to a developer who then evicted the community center; and

Whereas, after an unprecedented community campaign, in 2006 the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Former PS 64 as a landmark recognizing both its physical and cultural distinction; and

Whereas, the developer who acquired the building from the city, and is now proposing to convert it to student housing, has shown gross negligence in the maintenance of the building, has been antagonistic toward the community, and completely unwilling to work constructively toward a solution to the impasse over the future of the building; and

Whereas, the current proposal for student housing does not meet the NYC Department of Buildings’ criteria for a dormitory under the community facility definition in the zoning ordinance because there is no long term lease for all of the facility with one or more accredited educational institution nor is there a restrictive declaration that the building will only be used as a dormitory;

Now therefore, Community Board 3 very strongly opposes the current proposal for conversion of the Former PS 64 to student housing;

And further, Community Board 3 strongly favors a proposal that would result in the building becoming a genuine community facility and cultural center consistent with the building’s history in our neighborhood.

Landmarks hears P.S. 64 on Tuesday, 3pm

The battle to reclaim old P.S. 64/ Charas for the East Village community continues. On Tuesday afternoon, the Landmarks Commission will vote on a series of changes to old P.S. 64/Charas/El Bohio. Approval from the LPC is required to move forward the owner’s plan for a 500-bed dormitory. We demand a better plan for old P.S. 64, one that serves the community.

Take action!

Sign the petition 

Speak out

Tuesday, May 7th, 3pm: Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street, 9th floor

LPC will consider alterations to the front and and back courtyards, windows, and the roof.
Review the drawings. Delivery your testimony to the commissioners on Tuesday afternoon or submit written testimony to comments@lpc.nyc.gov. Read our sample letter.

Wednesday, May 8th, 6:30pm: Community Board 3 – Land Use Committee Meeting
56 Essex Street (Broome and Grand)

Plan for community use at former P.S. 64/ Charas

Wednesday, May 15th, 6pm: March from P.S. 64 to Cooper Union

Meet on 9th Street (Avenues B & C)