Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Façade repairs next door have prevented kids at this East Village school from using the playground

Since early January, students at the Children's Workshop School have been without use of the playground here on 12th Street between Avenue B and Avenue C. 

On Jan. 9, part of the façade of an adjacent building at 638 E. 12th St. crumbled, and pieces of concrete from the exterior landed in the playground, also used by students in the P94M program within District 75

The playground has been closed while the new landlords of the 638 property made the necessary repairs, completed nearly four weeks ago. 

Since then, school officials (and parents) have been waiting for the Department of Buildings (DOB) to inspect and hopefully approve the work so the kids can have outdoor access again.
An item in the most recent school newsletter, dated Friday from Principal Maria Velez-Clarke, states: "There is no still no news regarding the schoolyard. We are working with elected officials to try and expedite the inspections, but have no control over the Department of Buildings." 

There's a DOB notice posted to the one-story structure dated Feb. 2 for the owner/occupant to call the city for inspection...
Parents hope that this will be resolved soon. (Students are on midwinter break this week.)

"This is negatively impacting classroom behavior and depriving kids of much-needed fresh air, exercise, and time to socialize," one parent with two children at the school told us. 

We're unsure what's inside No. 638 and how often anyone uses it. According to public records, there have been occasional complaints about No. 638's west-facing wall dating to 1989...
Repairs aside, that problematic wall won't be an issue in the months ahead. 

The 8,900-square-foot structure had been on the sales market. Per the listing: "Ideal for a luxury residential condominium in a well-established Downtown Manhattan neighborhood" with "Four sides of light and air." (Campos Community Garden is on the building's east side.)

The structure behind 432 E. 11th St., sold last summer for $2.8 million. Public records show the buyer is affiliated with an LLC in Brooklyn that "provides development services for residential and commercial properties."

This past Wednesday, plans were filed for a 6-story residential building at the address. The plans show one residential unit per floor, likely meaning there will be condos as pitched in the sales sheet.

Here's an aerial view of the space via Google Maps...
The project is in its earliest stages, and there's no estimate when construction could start... work that will possibly prompt closure of at least part of the playground and community garden for scaffolding and netting.

Since April 2016, the front of 638 E. 12th St. has served as a memorial (via Chico) for Elliot Caldwell, a 23-year-old who was shot and killed across the street outside Campos Plaza (below photo via LoopNet)...


yetanothercommenter said...

Great local journalism EVG.

Anonymous said...

I am a parent of a child at Children’s Workshop. I’m so curious who passed this on to you?! Because the parents here haven’t really talked much about it, as far as I know. I have been following all these details on NYC BIS site, forwarding info to the school, etc. When I saw the inspection notice on the roll down gate at 638 E 12 st, we reached out to the development company Patoma to inform them. They said that the notice for inspection 2/2 was not related to the closure of the playground. It is up to the Dept of Ed team and the Dept of Buildings to get an inspection—this is what our principal has been saying as well.
I appreciate your writing this up EV grieve so we have something more to show our elected officials. It’s a beautiful playground! And it’s also a community playground on weekends. Such a loss for all of us!

DuchessofNYC said...

Great reporting. Free the playground!

Anonymous said...

Due to the unsafe facade and then repairs being made, the school playground has been off-limits since January 9th when the closure was announced.

Generally this is where kids are dropped off early between 8 and 8:30 and kids can get their wiggles out and socialize. Instead they all must sit in the auditorium.

Lunch recess isn’t permitted there. Weekly school-wide community meetings aren’t permitted. The afterschool clubs that normally have the young kids playing in it aren’t permitted. Nor are the sports afterschool clubs that use the field. Kids again wait in the auditorium at dismissal time rather than hanging in the playground for pick-up.

The teachers make an effort to get kids outside elsewhere but it’s a real hassle and adds a lot more work for everyone—not something you want to have to manage for every class, every day. Plus, we have a really amazing beloved playground in excellent condition right on site—we’d like to use it.

This building also co-houses a very small district 75 school.

And the community loses out on weekend access as well.

We keep being told that Council Member Carlina Rivera’s office is trying to get dept of Buildings to act and do an inspection. I’m sure they are trying!

However at PTA meeting last night we were told again that there is no update.

Our wonderful, caring school believes that “Our goal is for our children to recognize that they have the power and resources to effect change. It is our hope that children will grow to be responsible, critical, and caring members of a pluralistic society.”

Perhaps it’s time for a school-wide field trip down to the Department of Buildings and kids can investigate the hold-up for themselves.

Anonymous said...

It's re-opened!!!