Unbelievable but true, the city now wants to de-landmark a building.
According to the Brooklyn Daily, “The city will knock over Sunset Park’s castle-like former police precinct to make way for 300 classroom seats, officials announced on June 13. School Construction Authority reps made the pitch to Community Board Seven, claiming the crumbling landmark at Fourth Avenue and 43rd Street would “probably have to come down” while also showing photos of schools the agency previously built atop demolished historic structures.”
School Construction Authority reps refused to say the agency would definitely demolish the building, which would require a virtually unheard-of un-landmarking or for the city to condemn the derelict structure as a hazard. However, they did show locals photos of schools the agency build with an aesthetic nod to the historic buildings that they replaced, such as PS 133 in Park Slope, which rose from an older schoolhouse, and PS 30 in Bay Ridge, which succeeded the Green Church.
This is ridiculous double speak. First they say they will take it down, and then they say they’re not sure, but here’s a bunch of photos of how they demolished the Green Church (which should have been landmarked) to make a school? THE FACT THAT THEY ARE EVEN CONSIDERING DEMOLISHING IT IS NOT OK.
This simply cannot be allowed. De-landmarking one building means they can all be de-landmarked. It opens a floodgate for destroying historic buildings across NYC. It is a frankly disgusting thought.
Furthermore, it would likely cost far more to demolish the existing building than to rebuild it. For comparison, let’s look at the New York Terra Cotta factory office in LIC. This formerly forelorn building was given a gut renovation a few years ago, with brand new crossbeams and floors. According to the permit filed with the DOB, the cost of work was a mere $30k (though I suspect it was a little more than that). How is it that a private company (silvercup studios) can preserve a building they own for cheap, while the city wants to blow an untold amount of money to demolish a landmarked building and build an entire new structure – to create 300 classroom seats?
The situation with the 68 precinct seems pretty shady. The former owners were forced to sell under threat by the city, and then the person who buys it (Yosef Streicher) apparently sells it to the city just a few months later? How much is he profiting from this? Something smells here, and I hope someone looks into it.
I find it hard to imagine the city can’t muster another location for this school. Last I checked Industry City has a decent amount of space available, which would not require demolition of a beloved landmark and construction of a new building.
I do hope preservationists, journalists and history nerds rally around this beloved building. Once again we need to draw another line in the sand, and this time stand firmly behind it. Enough is enough.