Friday, February 10, 2017

A Valentine's Day rally to get some love for the former PS 64

This coming Tuesday (Valentine's Day!), City Council Member Rosie Mendez and other community leaders, organizations and residents are holding a rally and press conference on the steps of City Hall to get Mayor De Blasio's attention on the former P.S 64 and CHARAS/El Bohio community center on East Ninth Street.

As previously reported, developer Gregg Singer, who bought the property between Avenue B and Avenue C from the city in 1998, is reportedly pushing de Blasio's administration to remove a stop-work order that has been in place since 2015.

According to published reports, Singer has a signed lease with Adelphi University, and hopes to have students move in by the fall of 2018.

Preservationist groups and other residents have been opposed to Singer's plans, and want to see a return of the landmarked building to use as a cultural and community center.

The rally starts at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.



Anonymous said...

The last school building that was transformed into a community center got highjacked by a theater group who threw everybody out ( including an affordable daycare for working moms) to keep the space for themselves. There is no community in that building. Why repeat this fiasco? Get that building repaired and put some students in it instead of Rosie's personal friends.

cmarrtyy said...


That's exactly the problem: Rosie's friends. It's not the community. The Latinos are afraid that the whites will take over the space and the whites are not welcomed by Rosie's friends. If the leadership of the group was strong and not bias, a lot more people would join hands and work for the good of the community. But the EV is still like it was when I moved here 45 years ago - racially divided.

Anonymous said...


I agree for the most part. There's no good argument to turn the building back into the private social club and pigeon coop that it was in the 80s and 90s. What would an inclusive community center circa 2017 include? Daycare and social services for the old neighborhood and a huge discount cafe with free wifi and cellphone charging for the current natives?

29yearsanEVresident said...

It's a mess because two things are true. One, since almost the day he acquired the property Singer has behaved in a hamfisted, secretive, destructive, entitled and untrustworthy way. Two, the sentimentality about El Charas/El Bohio is misplaced. It never was a "community center" in that it was always a mess, always a clique that ran it and never generated a scale of activity or served a broad enough constituency to justify it's control over city asset that big and valuable. It's shame that our elected leaders can't excercise enough planning wisdom and muscle to manufacture a solution that leaves all parties half way satisfied. Why is it impossible to split the baby here? Why can't a building this big be financially viable as both a dorm and a significantly sized community cente? Some scheme where a city agency could guarantee the lease of a "community based organization" for 40,000 sq feet (which is more than the builing ever had really activated for community use) and then the 110LK sq feet remaining gets used for dorm space if that's what Singer wants to do. As it is--it sites and rots and demolition by neglect will take hold and then we'll all get stuck with huge condo.

Anonymous said...

Main issue now is same lobbyist in the Rivington House scandal is involved here too, stop this pattern and open ways to have vibrant community center and use here. A fake dorm would be in no one's interest, not even the haters. lol

ReclaimOurCommons said...

(1) Alphabet City needs its cultural community center back. The City needs to stop ignoring this injustice and expedite steps to get Charas/El Bohio back.

(2) It's ridiculous that one man's greed was able to deprive an entire neighborhood for a whole generation of its space. Singer should be imprisoned and made pay fines for his crimes against community. Boycott those who quietly bankroll Singer.

(3) Singer's latest paperwork with some Adelphi official is hardly more than an empty attempt to prevent community take-over while he waits for the community's hopes to die. (It is subject to investigation whether those Adelphi officials were merely ill-informed or had other ties to Singer and/or its lobbying arm.)

(4) A number of artists who had worked at and supported Charas/El Bohio have died during this long period of forced vacancy. Yet, new people have been born or moved to the neighborhood who need such space to thrive.

(5) Reflecting the neighborhood's diversity, the building's proper use is manifold: arts, community activism, meetings, education, research, and training, expositions, historical archiving and studies, performances, program development, media, music, research, and support for individual residents and local non-profit groups - for the young and the elderly and anyone in-between, for people of any color, and irrespective of their financial abilities. In other words: inclusive use in support of culture and democracy.

(6) If you can afford the time, join this event and let City Hall know that the community remains vigilant even two decades later.

cmarrtyy said...

If the building is to function as a community based resource then it should be single purpose - the arts.: Theater, Dance, Film, Music., and the plastic arts(painting, sculpture etc). No Dorms. No Seniors. No babies. The Center should be a public space for performance., rehearsals, and workshop and studio space. All space would be allocated to neighborhood groups first and then to outside groups if space permits. But the space should not be for free. Fees and scholarship money should pay for the maintenance of the space plus grants of course. The EV use to be an artist's haven. We can't bring back the EV of our youth. But we can bring the diversity and cultural enrichment that the arts can bring to a community that used to define the EV.

Gojira said...

Hell, why not turn it into senior housing to replace what was taken away in both in the Rivington House and Cabrini debacles? Does the city really think that there are no more elderly people living in Manhattan in need of such spaces?

Anonymous said...


They were nursing homes not Housing for seniors. If the City lifts the deed and zoning restrictions to allow this to be used as Housing than at some time in the future it could be converted to lux housing.

Anonymous said...

This seems to go on and on if it really was a comnunity area let it be one as the last time it was friends only

Anonymous said...

It makes sense to bring it back to its original purpose when built a school. Since this was the original design and configuration a restoration would be plausible financially. East Village has been growing its young family population and the amount of land required to build a school is expensive and would probably involve a "taking". The unfortunate thing is the decades of abandonment and decay. At a point landmark status will not manner when public safety is involved and demolition will be the only recourse. At that point it's a safe bet it will not become a community garden perhaps Senior Citizens housing like on 8th Street not a bad thing overall.

RRReality1 said...

Bimbo Rivas, Chino Garcia, Sliwa, et. al. occupied the building when it was totally abandoned by the city. That took courage. They did the entire neighborhood a favor. It was as much an occupation as it was a community cultural center, the main purposes of which were to strengthen, preserve and protect local culture. They did not want to run it as a hyper-institutionalized organization but as a collective. The paradigm was to run programs on 'no budget.' It was not intended to be a Shangri-La for bourgeois artists. It also was a headquarters for organizing ongoing resistance to the predatory landlords and developers with countless completely confrontational street actions. People who bitch now about how it was a private clique misunderstand all of this. I don't want to see the building turned into dorms or condos. A cultural center is one of the most needed priorities in the area now. The one building could replace the over 25 venues that populated the zone that are now all vanished. But the city government has no real consciousness regarding grass roots, community based culture. It only sees cultural organizations as bureaucratically administered corporately organized institutions. Such places are far more exclusionary to artists than any collective/cooperative organization. And they don't engage in militant protests and resistance to over development either.