Showing posts with label PS 64. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PS 64. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Report: The former Charas/P.S. 64 is headed to auction this March

After another round of legal rulings, the former P.S. 64/Charas/El Bohio Community Center is headed to a foreclosure auction in March. 

According to The Real Deal, a court-appointed referee last week set an auction for the property at the Hilton New York Midtown Fifth Avenue on March 22. (As previously noted, the 135,000-square-foot building is zoned for "community facility use." Any conversion to a condoplex or residential housing would require a time-consuming zoning variance.)

Late last year, Judge Melissa Crane "agreed with a report from a court-appointed referee that Madison was owed $89.9 million for principal, interest and other charges." 

Per TRD
Singer disputed the interest and charges, arguing that the report lacked a "breakdown by month of the Prime and LIBOR rates, making it impossible to verify the accuracy of the calculations." 

Crane quickly shot down that argument. "The note explains the method for calculating the relevant interest rate in its first paragraph," she said. 
Singer vows to keep fighting despite the scheduled auction, citing new evidence he was "finally able to obtain," The Real Deal reported. 
"We expect our rights will be fully vindicated and we will ultimately prevail and be allowed to have the building be a benefit to the community," he said.
In recent weeks, workers — under emergency orders via the DOB — have been sealing up the building's Ninth Street and 10th Street sides between Avenue B and Avenue C. The former school and community center had been easy to access in recent years, attracting a variety of urban thrillseekers and partygoers. The broken windows and poorly secured doors also exposed the building to the elements — not to mention pigeons and other wildlife.

The property that Singer purchased from the city in 1998 for $3.15 million fell into foreclosure last year. Through the years, Singer wanted to turn the building into a dorm (more here), though those plans never materialized. (At one point, the Joffrey Ballet and Cooper Union were attached to the project.)

In October 2017, then-Mayor de Blasio's statement at a Town Hall put forth the idea that the city would take steps to reacquire the building. 

Some residents want to see the space used again as a community center, as it was during its time as Charas/El Bohio Community Center. Singer evicted the group on Dec. 27, 2001.  

Thursday, January 26, 2023

The former Charas/P.S. 64 is nearly all sealed up as it awaits its fate

Photos Tuesday by Stacie Joy 

The construction team sealing up the former P.S. 64/Charas/El Bohio Community Center is wrapping up their work over the next few days. 

As The Village Voice previously pointed out, "the work is being performed under an Immediate Emergency Declaration, and permits are not a prerequisite for the work to begin," per the Department of Buildings. 

The work also comes at the expense of now-former owner Gregg Singer, who bought the property via a city auction in 1998. The address has multiple open fines and violations with the Department of Buildings, which still has a Stop Work Order (dating to August 2015) and a Full Vacate Order (from February 2019).

The workers, who arrived on Dec. 20, told EVG contributor Stacie Joy on Tuesday that they are sealing up some remaining windows and putting down 2x4s to shore up the ground-floor banisters and flooring on the building's Ninth Street and 10th Street sides here between Avenue B and Avenue C ...
The former school and community center had been easy to access in recent years, attracting a variety of urban thrillseekers and partygoers. The broken windows and poorly secured doors also exposed the building to the elements — not to mention pigeons and other critters.

On Monday, workers were spotted using cinder blocks to cover part of a Charas tribute/LES history mural on the 10th Street side of the building that included part of a former doorway. 

According to workers, they've actually "preserved" the artwork here (two murals were mostly covered), saying that there is an inch or two between the masonry and the painting, so it is not being disturbed and that no mortar abuts the work.
The property will likely sit in limbo for a little longer. As we previously reported, at the end of 2022, Singer's nearly 23-year tenure as building owner ended. 

On Dec. 23, New York State Justice Melissa Crane ordered the foreclosure and sale of the building with a default, including penalties and interest totaling approximately $90 million. (You can read Crane's 20-page decision and order here.)

The order could send the property back to auction within 90 days.

Meanwhile, some residents want to see the space used again as a community center, as it was during its time as Charas/El Bohio Community Center. Singer evicted the group on Dec. 27, 2001. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

Worker bricks up tribute mural at the former P.S. 64/Charas site on 10th Street

A longtime EVG reader alerted us to the 10th Street side of the long-vacant former P.S. 64/Charas/El Bohio Community Center between Avenue B and Avenue C. 

As part of the effort to seal up the building, a worker used cinder blocks to cover part of a Charas tribute/LES history mural here — one that included part of a former doorway.

By early evening, work had stopped for the day...
So far, only one of the murals has been disfigured by the building work. 

The murals first arrived in late November ... a PIRAGUA art space initiative in partnership with by the Thrive Collective, Loisaida Inc., the Clemente, LES Community Concerns, MoRUS and La Plaza Cultural, among others.

At the end of 2022, Gregg Singer's nearly 23-year tenure as building owner ended. 

On Dec. 23, New York State Justice Melissa Crane ordered the foreclosure and sale of the building with a default, including penalties and interest totaling approximately $90 million. (You can read Crane's 20-page decision and order here.)

The order could send the property back to auction within 90 days.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Sealing up the former Charas/P.S. 64 on 9th Street

On Dec. 20, a crew arrived with pallets full of construction materials for emergency work at the long-vacant former P.S. 64/Charas/El Bohio Community Center., 605 E. Ninth St. between Avenue B and Avenue C. 

Since then, readers and residents have noted a lot of activity on the property. 

EVG contributor Stacie Joy took these top three photos on Jan. 5, when workers said they were "sealing this place up."
As of Monday, the windows and entrances on the Ninth Street side have been covered...
... and similar work looks nearly complete on the 10th Street side...
Afterward, the property will likely sit in limbo for a little longer.

At the end of 2022, news broke that Gregg Singer's nearly 23-year tenure as building owner had come to an end. 

On Dec. 23, New York State Justice Melissa Crane ordered the foreclosure and sale of the building with a default, including penalties and interest totaling approximately $90 million. (You can read Crane's 20-page decision and order here.)

The order could send the property back to auction within 90 days, according to members of Save Our Community Center CHARAS/former P.S. 64 (SOCCC-64).

The property that Singer purchased from the city in 1998 for $3.15 million fell into foreclosure last year and is reportedly back in the hands of lender Madison Realty Capital. As The Village Voice reported: "Madison Realty Capital declined to comment on the foreclosure or what plans it has for the building."

The five-floor structure is currently being offered for use as medical space or educational-related purposes. You can find the listing at Corcoran here. (Aside from the efforts to seal up the building to ward off intruders, thrillseekers, and the elements, the long-standing Stop Work Order and Full Vacate are still on file with the department of buildings.)

It's important to note that the 135,000-square-foot building is zoned for "community facility use." Any conversion to a condoplex or residential housing would require a time-consuming zoning variance.

Meanwhile, some residents want to see the space used again as a community center, as it was during its time as Charas/El Bohio Community Center. Singer evicted the group on Dec. 27, 2001. 

Through the years, Singer wanted to turn the building into a dorm (more here), though those plans never materialized. (At one point, the Joffrey Ballet and Cooper Union were attached to the project.)

In October 2017, then-Mayor de Blasio's statement at a Town Hall put forth the idea that the city would take steps to reacquire the building. According to published reports, the Mayor said he'd work to "right the wrongs of the past." 

SOCCC-64 members hope that Mayor Adams considers this request. Per the group's press release after the judge's decision: "We are excited to finally have the opportunity to return the building to full community use, and are ready to work with Mayor Adams to restore this once vibrant community hub," said Chino Garcia, co-founder of Charas.

As The Village Voice pointed out, "exactly how a CHARAS-like community center might be restored to P.S. 64 is hard to say, given the tremendous debt that Singer leveraged on the building, and the cost to renovate a building left to rot for two decades."  

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Gregg Singer's reign as owner of the former of P.S. 64 is said to be over

Photos yesterday by Stacie Joy 

Gregg Singer's nearly 23-year tenure as owner of the former P.S. 64 on Ninth Street has apparently come to an end. 

According to a press release from members of Save Our Community Center CHARAS/former P.S. 64 (SOCCC-64), Singer has been found in default of his mortgage and the property has been foreclosed. 

Last Friday, New York State Justice Melissa Crane ordered the foreclosure and sale of the former P.S. 64 at 605 E. Ninth St. between Avenue B and Avenue C with a default, including penalties and interest totaling approximately $90 million.

The order could send the property back to auction within 90 days, according to SOCCC-64. You can read Crane's 20-page decision and order here.

The property that Singer purchased from the city in 1998 for $3.15 million fell into foreclosure earlier this year and was reportedly in the hands of lender Madison Realty Capital. 

The five-floor building is being offered for use as medical space or educational-related purposes. Meanwhile, some residents want to see the space used again as a community center, as it was during its time as Charas/El Bohio Community Center. Singer evicted the group on Dec. 27, 2001. 

It's important to note that the 135,000-square-foot building is zoned for “community facility use” and any conversion to a condoplex or residential housing would require a time-consuming zoning variance.

In October 2017, then-Mayor de Blasio's statement at a Town Hall put forth the idea that the city would take steps to reacquire the building. According to published reports, the Mayor said he'd work to "right the wrongs of the past." 

SOCCC-64 members hope that Mayor Adams considers this request. Per the group's press release: "We are excited to finally have the opportunity to return the building to full community use, and are ready to work with Mayor Adams to restore this once vibrant community hub," said Chino Garcia, co-founder of Charas.

Singer wanted to turn the building into a dorm (more here), though those plans never materialized. (In past years, the Joffrey Ballet and Cooper Union were attached to the project.) 

Meanwhile, work continues at the site. As we first reported on Dec. 21, workers arrived at the site ...
A worker on the scene told this to EVG contributor Stacie Joy yesterday: "Our job is to completely seal up the building. It's dangerous in there."
The long-standing Stop Work Order and Full Vacate are still on file with the department of buildings.

For a detailed history of Singer and the space, you can check out this article at The Village Voice.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Workers arrive with construction materials at the former P.S. 64 on 9th Street

Photos by Stacie Joy 

Workers arrived yesterday and began to unload construction materials, including cement and cinder blocks, plywood, 2x4s and fire suppressants at the long-vacant former P.S. 64, 605 E. Ninth St. between Avenue B and Avenue C.
It's not immediately clear what the scope of the work will entail. The long-standing Stop Work Order and Full Vacant are still on file with the department of buildings.
As always with this address, there's an air of mystery about what is happening. No new work permits were spotted on-site, where none of the workers were seen wearing protective gear while entering the building that has been vacant for 21 years. (There's speculation among some P.S. 64 watchers that workers will be sealing up the entrances to keep people from entering the premises.)

The property that Gregg Singer purchased from the city in 1998 for $3.15 million fell into foreclosure earlier this year and is reportedly in the hands of lender Madison Realty Capital. 

The five-floor building is being offered for use as medical space or educational-related purposes. Meanwhile, some residents want to see the space used again as a community center, as it was during its time as Charas/El Bohio Community Center. Singer evicted the group on Dec. 27, 2001. 

Last week, Sarah Ferguson filed a lengthy feature for The Village Voice about what has transpired. Among many other things, no one knows who owns the property now. 
This past January, a court ruled that Madison Realty Capital, a $10 billion global private equity firm, can foreclose on the property. Although Singer is fighting that too, he appears to be running out of money. Singer now owes Madison nearly $90 million in interest and principal, along with late fees and interest charges of $30,000 per day, which started accruing as of the January 20 court judgment, according to a report compiled by a court-appointed referee. 

Singer's attorneys and Madison Realty Capital did not respond to numerous calls and emails seeking clarification on the current ownership status of the building or their intentions for it. Both sides were supposed to appear in court in June, but the meeting was postponed, so the fate of this old school is still in limbo.
Some local elected officials, residents and Charas supporters are hopeful the limbo doesn't last another 20-plus years.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Holiday wishes for the former Charas/El Bohio Community Center

Two community events are taking place this weekend at the former P.S. 64 at 605 E. Ninth St. between Avenue B and Avenue C. (The above photo was taken from the 10th Street side a few weeks ago.)

Tomorrow (Saturday) at noon, local elected officials, residents and supporters are coming together for a rally to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the eviction of the Charas/El Bohio Community & Cultural Center here. 

The assembled speakers will be asking "the mayor to make our holiday wish come true and return our community center."
This evening starting at 5:30, the activist group Loisaida Guardians is hosting a holiday dinner on the Ninth Street side of the property "to share gifts and food in the spirit of the holidays and work together to reopen Charas for the community of the people of New York City." 

We're told that Two Boots will be providing some pizzas. Find more details on the Facebook event page.

The long-vacant building, owned by Gregg Singer since 1998, fell into foreclosure earlier this year and is reportedly in the hands of lender Madison Realty Capital. 

The five-floor building is being offered for use as medical space or educational-related purposes. Meanwhile, some residents want to see the space used as a community center, as it was during its time as Charas/El Bohio Community Center. Singer evicted the group on Dec. 27, 2001. 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

New murals depict LES history outside the long-empty CHARAS/El Bohio Community Center

Photos by Stacie Joy 

New murals are in progress on the 10th Street side of the former P.S. 64/CHARAS/El Bohio Community Center between Avenue B and Avenue C. 

EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by yesterday for a work-in-progress look at the murals that aim to beautify the sidewalk and celebrate the legacy of the founders of CHARAS. It's a PIRAGUA art space initiative in partnership with by the Thrive Collective, Loisaida Inc., LES Community Concerns, MoRUS and La Plaza Cultural.

The murals, which include one honoring longtime neighborhood activist Carlos "Chino" Garcia (below), are expected to be completed later this week...
The building, owned by Gregg Singer since 1998, fell into foreclosure earlier this year and is reportedly in the hands of lender Madison Realty Capital.

The five-floor building is being offered for use as medical space or educational-related purposes. Meanwhile, some residents want to see the space used as a community center, as it was during its time as CHARAS/El Bohio Community Center.

This past Monday, a group of activists marched on the Midtown offices of Madison Realty Capital to demand the return of the former P.S. 64 to the community. You can read news coverage of the action at The Village Sun.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

A march to 'give us back our community center'

This coming Monday (Nov. 14), a group of activists is planning a march on the Midtown offices of Madison Realty Capital to demand the return of the former P.S. 64 to the community.

The long-empty building at 605 E. Ninth St. between Avenue B and Avenue C fell into foreclosure earlier this year and is reportedly in the hands of lender Madison Realty Capital.

The five-floor building is being offered for use as medical space or educational-related purposes. Meanwhile, some residents want to see the space used as a community center, as it was during its time as CHARAS/El Bohio Community Center.

Here's more about Monday's noon-time action via the Facebook invite:
Hey Billionaires! Give Us Back Our Community Center! 

Recently the former P.S. 64 ... fell into foreclosure. It is now in the hands of the Madison Realty group, "a vertically integrated real estate private-equity firm that manages approximately $9.5 billion in total assets on behalf of an institutional global investor base."

These are the folks that currently hold sway regarding the future of our beloved community center. 

We need to let them know that: We Demand that the former P.S. 64 be returned to our Lower East Side community for use by our community. Protest at Madison Realty Capital offices: 520 Madison Ave. (between 53rd and 54th Streets).
Gregg Singer bought the property from the city during an auction in 1998 for $3.15 million. He later evicted CHARAS in 2001, and the building has sat empty ever since.

There's now an updated action on Monday afternoon directed toward then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Per the invite:
At 1:30 p.m., we’ll send "A Message to You, Rudy." We'll march to protest Rudy Giuliani's underhanded sale of the property by picketing the RUDY SHOW at WABC Radio, 800 Third Ave. (between 49th and 50th Streets).
You can find the Facebook invite here.

As previously reported, ownership of the property had been in transition. In January, Supreme Court Justice Melissa Crane ruled that Madison Realty Capital could move forward with a foreclosure against Singer after years of delay. 

Madison Realty Capital reportedly provided Singer with a $44 million loan on the property in 2016. Court records show that he failed to repay the balance by its maturity date in April 2016, and by that September, the lender filed to foreclose, as reported by The Real Deal.

Singer wanted to turn the building into a dorm (more here), though those plans never materialized.

The address has multiple open fines and violations with the Department of Buildings, which still has a Stop Work Order (dating to August 2015) and a Full Vacate Order (from February 2019).

Photo by Kenny Toglia 

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Public art returns to the former CHARAS/El Bohio Community Center

Photos by Kenny Toglia 

Public art has returned to the former CHARAS/El Bohio Community Center on Ninth Street/10th Street between Avenue B and Avenue C. 

There's a new installation on the property titled "Pumpkin Dome" via the Buckyteers, a radical art/engineering collective. The group is reclaiming the space for the community "and tells big real estate to back off," per a statement.
... group member Mark Chaos...
The five-floor building became the CHARAS/El Bohio Community Center after P.S. 64 left in the mid-1970s. New landlord Gregg Singer reportedly evicted the group in December 2001. He bought the property from the city during an auction in 1998 for $3.15 million, and it has remained vacant for 20-plus years.


Meanwhile, Madison Realty Capital has moved forward with a foreclosure against Singer ... and, as we first reported, the building is now being pitched for use as a medical facility or for educational purposes. 

H/T John Penley

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Long-vacant P.S. 64 now being pitched for medical use, educational purposes

Photo from July by Stacie Joy

The former P.S. 64 at 605 E. Ninth St., a point of contention in the neighborhood for the past 20-plus years, is now being offered for use as medical space or educational-related purposes. 

An EVG tipster points us to a new listing from late last week at LoopNet. According to the listing, 156,000 square feet of space is available for sale or lease here between Avenue B and Avenue C via Wexler Healthcare Properties at the Corcoran Group.
The listing states: 
The redevelopment and historic restoration of this century-old landmark, a former New York City elementary school, can be transformed into a variety of modern, amenity-rich opportunities, including:  
• Student Dormitories
• Education Center College
• Satellite Campus 
• Medical Center 
• Nursing Home 
• Assisted Living
The listing also notes that the property "can be made Article 28 compliant" and "leasehold condo structure considered."

The building became the CHARAS/El Bohio Community Center after the school left in 1977. New landlord Gregg Singer reportedly evicted the group in December 2001. He bought the property from the city during an auction in 1998 for $3.15 million.

As previously reported, ownership of the property had been in transition. In January, Supreme Court Justice Melissa Crane ruled that Madison Realty Capital could move forward with a foreclosure against Singer after years of delay. 

Madison Realty Capital reportedly provided Singer with a $44 million loan on the property in 2016. Court records show that he failed to repay the balance by its maturity date in April 2016, and by that September, the lender filed to foreclose, as reported by The Real Deal.

Now we're back to some familiar proposed uses for the space. Singer wanted to turn the building into a dorm (more here), though those plans never materialized. (In past years, the Joffrey Ballet and Cooper Union were attached to the project.) 

There was also a moment when the building could have been used for medical purposes: In March 2020, Singer reportedly offered the building to the city for use in treating patients with COVID. The city declined.

The address has multiple open fines and violations with the Department of Buildings, which still has a Stop Work Order (dating to August 2015) and a Full Vacate Order (from February 2019).


The five-story building has been vacant for 20-plus years.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Seth Tobocman on the story behind a long-covered mural on 9th Street

Interview and images by Stacie Joy 

For 22 years, from 1979 to 2001, 605 E. Ninth St. between Avenue B and Avenue C served as the home to the Charas/El Bohio Community & Cultural Center.

At its peak, it was used by thousands each year, and hosted a wide array of activity: community meetings, children’s programming, art exhibits, music concerts, film screenings, plays, dance recitals, bicycle recycling, construction training, a substance abuse treatment, and political organizing. 
Unfortunately, the abandoned building, the onetime P.S. 64, has sat in disrepair for more than 20 years. (See the end of the post for more background.)

Workers recently removed the plywood from the Ninth Street side, revealing artwork from the days leading up to Charas’ eviction in 2001, including a drawing by longtime East Village-based artist-illustrator Seth Tobocman (above)

The art reads:
A 7-year-old drew this picture at a class here at Charas. The boy was upset because he and his family had found the body of a woman who had been decapitated on their doorstep. That was in the 1980s when they called the Lower East Side the warzone. Now all of N.Y.C. is a warzone. The world is a bad neighborhood. We need cultural centers like Charas more than ever to keep our sanity.
We reached out to Tobocman to learn more about the piece and the story he referenced in the painting. 

How did it feel to see your recently uncovered work in front of Charas? When we first sent you the image, you expressed surprise at seeing it — it had been under plywood for 20-plus years.

When EV Grieve first contacted me, asking me whether I had a mural at Charas, I said “no” because I had completely forgotten about this project. But when I saw the photograph, I immediately remembered it. 

It is strange that this artwork was covered over with plywood to emerge almost intact 20-plus years later like some kind of time capsule, and it makes the past seem close and far away at the same time.

Can you tell us how that work came to be? Why did Charas invite you and other artists to paint the walls outside the building? 

We painted these murals — with Charas’ permission — because the building was facing eviction, and this was a form of protest. Our group, World War 3 Arts In Action, was an artist collective formed to provide signs and banners for the protests against the invasion of Iraq. It included Christopher Cardinales, Sharron Kwik, Samantha Wilson, Carlo Quispe, Diane Jarvis, and others. 

We volunteered to paint these murals ... We started in the afternoon and continued into the evening. Eventually, the police stopped us saying, “No graffiti!” out of a loudspeaker. We did not consider this to be graffiti because we had Charas’ permission. We complied with the police order to avoid creating an incident that might reflect negatively on Charas.
Can you walk us through the story of the child’s drawing referenced in the work? You’ve held on to that piece since the early 1980s. How has it informed the art you created at that time? 

In 1983, an older community organizer, Fred Siedan, started the art classes at Charas with Lupe Garnica’s nonprofit, Chicana Raza Group of the Performing Arts, acting as an umbrella organization and occasionally providing a very small amount of funding. 

A number of artists were concerned about the role of art galleries in gentrifying the Lower East Side. We wanted to find positive ways for artists to work with the community. Eric Drooker and Paula Hewitt Amram had organized a tenant union called Angry NOHO Tenants or ANT. 

I was involved in a rent strike in my building. Sabrina Jones was working with a feminist art group called Carnival Knowledge that had studio space in Charas. We all worked on the magazine World War 3 Illustrated and did political postering and stencil graffiti in the neighborhood. 

Seidan invited us to teach classes. He said the real purpose of these art classes was to keep the kids away from the drug operation, which dominated the blocks around Charas. Parents would bring us all their kids, from toddlers to teenagers. 

Classes were very orderly because the older kids kept their younger siblings in line. Kids liked the classes so much that sometimes I would be walking through the neighborhood, and a group of children would stop me and ask, “When are we gonna have art class again?” 

One day I walked into class and saw this group of very small children sitting in one corner talking quietly to one another. Now that’s unusual, small kids talking quietly. So I listened in. The kids had found the body of a woman who had been decapitated. They were telling each other about this. Trying to describe it. Trying to figure out what it meant. 

I was fascinated by their plain but forceful language, without adjectives, value judgments or cliches. One of the kids eventually painted this wild picture of a screamy-faced woman. At the time, I was trying to do political art, but my real influences were comic books and science fiction illustrations. I really had not found my voice as a writer. 

After hearing the kids, I resolved to learn to write the way they talked and to draw the way they drew. The result was an account of my own witness to violence on the streets of New York called “I Saw A Man Bleed To Death,” which was the beginning of the art and writing style most people associate with my work. I owe a lot to those kids.
When was the last time you were inside Charas and what do you hope becomes of the building? 

The last time I was in Charas was as part of a protest against the murder of Brad Will. A crowd broke in and held the building for about an hour. 

Charas was where the East Village art scene met the Nuyorican art scene, but always on terms set by Puerto Rican community organizers. New York still needs a place like that.
As previously reported, ownership of the property is in transition. In January, Supreme Court Justice Melissa Crane ruled that Madison Realty Capital could move forward with a foreclosure against building landlord Gregg Singer after years of delay. 

Madison Realty Capital reportedly provided Singer with a $44 million loan on the property in 2016. Court records show that he failed to repay the balance by its maturity date in April 2016, and by that September, the lender filed to foreclose, as reported by The Real Deal.

Singer bought the property during a city auction in 1998 for $3.15 million. He has wanted to turn the building into a dorm, though those plans never materialized. There has been a call to return the building for community use in years past. 

The building became the Charas/El Bohio Community Center after the school left in 1977. The group was evicted in December 2001 when Singer took over as the landlord.