City issues permits for restoration work at P.S. 64

Since receiving the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s blessing in 2013, Gregg Singer may finally be moving forward with restoration work at former P.S. 64/ CHARAS – El Bohio. The landmarked school building has been vacant following the eviction of the former tenants of El Bohio led by CHARAS in 2001. The City reversed its short-lived approval for plans to convert the building into a multi-school “dormitory” this past September.

The project’s future is uncertain, but the exterior work may begin soon. The owner got the okay from Landmarks more than a year ago to perform restorative work to replace damaged architectural details and to install new windows. Two permits from the Department of Buildings issued in January allow for repairs to the dormers, mansard roof, roofing, and the facade. LPC also supported alterations to carve along the edges of the raised courtyards to create windows at ground level for dorm rooms. It does not appear that the permits issued allow for this component of the work.

While the permits are dated 2015, the owner set the start date for the work in August, prior to the project’s approval and subsequent Stop Work Order. The DOB maintains its objections to the dormitory plan, which Singer will need to resolve before moving forward with any interior work. We support the City’s objections to the project as presented and maintain that a dormitory is an improper use for the site.

Old P.S 64 has endured several major weather events while unsealed including Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. The condition of the building is not entirely due to wear-and-tear; at the time of landmarks designation, many architectural details suffered damage by the workers. Facade and architectural restoration work is welcome if it will protect this historic neighborhood gem. We will watch to see if, after years of decay, some restorative work begins here.

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Petition: Establish a Community Gardens District in Community Board 3

Petitioning the City Of New York to
Establish a Community Gardens District that includes all community gardens within Community Board 3, and map and designate these gardens as parklands.

On January 15th, the CB3 Parks Committee unanimously passed a resolution in support of establishing a Community Gardens District. The full board will vote at their monthly item on Thursday, January 29th at University Settlement, Speyer Hall, 184 Eldridge Street (btwn Rivington & Delancey Sts). Supporters of the district are encouraged to attend.

Community Board 3 (CB3) is the birthplace of community gardens in New York City and New York State. In 1973, the first garden was established in CB3 by local activists who worked to reverse years of decline and neglect by public and private property owners.

At one time, there were fifty-seven registered community gardens in CB3, and dozens more operating independently. As the neighborhood evolved, however, numerous gardens were bulldozed as development proceeded.

Today, there are still forty-six community gardens located in CB3 – the highest density in New York City. Community Board 3 has been strengthened by the history of its community gardens, which provide environmental, cultural, aesthetic, ecological, economic, and artistic benefits to this community, and more.

While gardens located on City-owned lots are of indisputable value, they unfortunately are not permanent. We are asking that all community gardens in CB3 be mapped and designated as parklands by the City of New York, designated a special Community Gardens District, and continue to be managed by community-based volunteers.

Sign the petition to show your support.