I’m a little late with this but when I walked much of Church Avenue in Brooklyn late last year, I sort of knew that the days were numbered for what was built as the Flatbush District #1 School at Bedford and Church. The historic school, built for what was then the Town of Flatbush between 1878 and 1894, was in utter ruin from the time I began surveying NYC streets in earnest for this site in the late 1990s. In fact it was in bad shape when I bicycled throughout Brooklyn beginning in the Super Seventies. In fact, mine may be among the last photos ever taken of the old place.

The school was designed by architect John Culyer, whose other major Flatbush work, the old Town Hall, is still in good shape a short distance away on Snyder Avenue. It was actually a designated NYC Landmark (in 2007) and was a public school until 1951; 3 years later it became the Yeshiva University Boys’ High School in 1968, the Beth Rivkah private Jewish school for girls. It had been empty since the 1990s.

Even though landmarked it had deteriorated to such a degree that it was condemned by the Department of Buildings since it had become an endangerment due to possible collapse. It was torn down in March 2016.

Flatbush’s oldest building — the original Erasmus Hall school that predated the high school constructed in the early 1900s — is also in poor shape and could be condemned.

New York City is not really keen on preserving history unless, sad to say, it’s in Manhattan.



Categorized in: One Shots

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