New York City is filled with many edifices that are as much a part of the fabric which makes up this city as are the people who walk their corridors.
Just a few short blocks from where the Grand Concourse begins, that boulevard of dreams, sits PS 31.
Affectionately known as the Castle on the Concourse by local residents and the thousands who walked its halls, the school sits decaying as if in mockery at all the urban renewal that has sprung up from the rubble in the surrounding neighborhoods.
The landmarked building has sat vacant since it was deemed unsafe in 1997. As the years passed it by and the neighborhood began a strong revival, the building deteriorated.
It is almost criminal that the city has sat on its hands for 17 years letting such an important building waste away to the point that now it has been recommended to be demolished.
There are many questions that need to be answered and officials need to be held accountable. Why was this building neglected for so long? Had it perhaps been in Brooklyn or Manhattan then maybe it would have been salvaged immediately.
It is very interesting that the building sits in the middle of a 30 block district known as the Lower Concourse Rezoning where underutilized buildings were rezoned from commercial and manufacturing to residential to encourage the continual revitalization of the neighborhood. It is strategically located one stop from Manhattan and 15 minutes from midtown making that swath of land – including the waterfront – quite a catch for someone.
Even more interesting is that once Goldman Sachs showed interest in restoring the landmark building to its former glory and converting it into apartments and artist space the city began pushing very hard for HPD and Department of Buildings to declare the property unsafe.
During a community board 1 meeting over the summer, a representative from Sobro presented to the Board that engineers found the building badly deteriorated but to be salvageable.
Landmarks Preservation Commission has the final say in the building this coming December 17th where the city will make their case to strip PS 31 of its landmark status so that can begin demolishing the structure.
We cannot let our city and politicians to get away with neglect of our landmarked treasures.
PLEASE CIRCULATE THIS PETITION!