Cup of the Day #125 - "Rising Skyline, Midtown"
India Ink on Used Paper Coffee Cup, by Gwyneth Leech
Needed for over 20 years, discussed and planned for 12, under construction for 3 - and now it is here!
New York City Public School 51, a.k.a. PS 51, a.k.a. the Elias Howe School, a.k.a. "the Pride of the West Side" will open to elementary students on September 9th, 2013 in a brand new building on 44th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues.
This Wednesday morning I had the privilege of an early walk-through with members of the Task Force, a group comprised of the many stake-holders in the new school construction effort: parent, teacher, school administration, community, construction and political representatives. I myself am a PS 51 parent rep. Until now, I had only ever seen the liaison from the School Construction Authority standing in front of an architect's rendering of the new school. And here we were, entering the actual front doors! After so many years of talk, effort and struggle, not to mention the stresses of a two-year relocation to a temporary building on East 91st Street, it was hard to believe it was real. Yet administration and teachers have already taken possession and are busy unpacking and setting up classrooms and offices on every floor, even as teams of workers continue to make their way down the list of finishing items.
Picture if you will the old Elias Howe building - an erstwhile sewing machine factory on 45th Street which housed PS 51 from 1940 until 2011. For gym, auditorium and cafeteria we had one single room, which, by the way was also the local polling station! In the new building there are large, airy and light-filled spaces at every turn: five floors of generously proportioned classrooms with state-of-the-art technology, wide hallways and stairs, a pristine library filled with over 4000 new books, specialized science, art and music rooms, a health clinic, and not one, but two gyms. The second, a gymnatorium houses a fully kitted out theatrical stage. Behind the school is a surprisingly large play-yard filled with light and ringed by sizable trees, and atop the school is a roof playground covered with silver netting. Finally, there is a large separate cafeteria with adequate sound-proofing and a beautiful kitchen for on-site cooking!
What follows are some preview shots of the new spaces, leading off with Principal Nancy Sing-Bock in her office. I am delighted that our family will be returning for fifth grade and we look forward to joining a reinvigorated school community in celebrating our magnificent home. This new school is a great example of the whole Hell's Kitchen community coming together to make things better for our kids. We extend our warmest congratulations to all who worked so long and so hard and overcame so many hurdles to make it a reality!!
Principal Nancy Sing-Bock in her brand new office on the ground floor.
The only work item on her desk so far: floor plan for the new school!
Christine Keskemeti setting up her 4th grade classroom on the 4th floor.
In awe as we discover the double size gymnasium on the 3rd floor.
A view of the rooftop playground
from the art room windows on the fifth floor.
Silvery netting on the rooftop playground allows full view of the sky.
Play equipment lacking for nothing but the arrival of students on Monday, September 9th.
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PS 51 is a zoned, neighborhood Pre-K through 5th elementary school with a strong and resourceful principal, a dedicated administration, an energetic and creative teaching staff, and a diverse and genuinely inclusive student body. For more information and to find out how to register, visit http://ps51manhattan.com