Major takedown: City to demolish landmarked former precinct for school

Brooklyn Paper
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Here’s the lessen plan.

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.

The news divided locals — the building deserves a shot, but the district needs learning space, one area parent said.

“We need the seats,” said Nick Nyhan, a father of four and parent teacher organization member. “I want to preserve that beautiful building — I really do like it — but we need those seats.”

But another dad argued that reopening the 124-year-old-and-showing-it mini-fortress as a school would spark children’s excitement for learning.

“Of all the buildings that could be demolished in Sunset Park, you’re going to knock down the police station? Unbelievab­le,” Peter Kruty said. “That building fires the imagination of everyone who sees it — my two kids in grammar school love to go by that building.”

Community board and local education council members supported the plan, along with Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D–Sunset Park). But preservationists argued 300 seats was too few to cede the landmark and said they want the structure restored and publicly accessible — something a developer who recently bought the land was planning.

Officials have reached an agreement with owner Yosef Streicher for the property — an eventuality the builder’s lawyer predicted to this paper last week.

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.

Streicher bought the station house and neighboring horse stable for $6 million last year after the city threatened to sue a previous owner if it did not fix up the property or sell it off.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Michael from Bay Ridge says:
WTF?!?! Build the school somewhere else then! There's tons of unimportant buildings in the area - why tear down this one????
Complete idiocy. Use this landmarked building for something else then!
June 14, 2016, 7:42 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
They tore down the Carnegie library in the 60s and now this? Disgusting. The school they built with a "nod" to the Green Church is ugly.
June 14, 2016, 8 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
Children in Saint Michaels managed to learn with 40-50 kids in a classroom and one teacher. Now 20 children is "overcrowded" and there has to be an aide and an teacher.
June 14, 2016, 8:18 am
Rose from Sunset Park says:
This is a terrible idea! Yes we need schools but really! They make us choose between education and our history. This will divide the community when we need to unit around more schools for our kids. Please Pick another site!
June 14, 2016, 9:02 am
Linda Paris says:
Really, you can unlandmark a building?
June 14, 2016, 9:17 am
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
Hellom John Wasserman here. This is unfathomable! John Wasserman does not like this!
June 14, 2016, 10:11 am
Mitzi from Park Slope says:
I say tear it down and don't build a school! Double screw them!
June 14, 2016, 10:23 am
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
the lot is still too small for a 300 seat school, with playground probably on the roof of the building and tiny cafeteria. The new developer will now make a lot of money by selling the building to the DoE, such a smart move.
June 14, 2016, 11:10 am
Hector from Sunset Park says:
Forcing the community to decide between it's history and it's future is ridiculous. Tearing down a landmark building is absurd. It's a beautiful building that many "real estate owners" have let deteriorate as an excuse for this demolition. A school with this facade would be spectacular and bring children a sense of wonder. Why must progress be measured by the destruction of our past?
June 14, 2016, 11:24 am
Linda from Sunset Park says:
There's plenty of other places a school can be built in Sunset Park. Like the other lady above says, I didn't know you could unlandmark a building. Isn't it the people of a community who call for a building to be landmarked? So how does a politician allow it to be destroyed without their knowledge or consent? Carlos Menchaca never works with the community on any issue. He just goes behind their backs. What next, Carlos? You gave away our waterfront. Are the churches next? Are you going to give our park to the real estate guys to build hotels and condos?
June 14, 2016, 11:40 am
Tony Wiener from Sunset Pk says:
Allow me to reiterate my initial reaction from reading the headline of this story. NO F*€KIN WAY!! I, like many neighbors have been waiting 40 years to see this building rebuilt from the ashes and this is the genius idea you people come up with!? I believe it's testament to the quality of the buildings construction tha it is still standing after 40 years of neglect.
June 14, 2016, 12:15 pm
Evelyn Tully Costa from Crown Heights says:
These geniuses can't figure out HOW to save the facade and build behind???? Tearing down history for UGLY is what you will get...

Seriously we are losing the heart and soul of our city with the HELP of City Hall. WORST time for landmarks since they ripped down Penn Station.
Let's DITCH more political operatives taking money from craven developers who tear down our history...
June 14, 2016, 12:27 pm
no way from Brooklyn says:
This one-of-a-kind gem must be preserved. And if there are any portions beyond repair, they can be rebuilt exactly as they were before.

If you want to use the restored structure for a school or whatever, that's fine, just as long as it gets restored.

Brooklyn's history is what's makes it stand out amongst the rest, let's save every last bit of it we can.

Stand up and fight for this, against DOE, against Councilman, against anyone who tries to destroy this magnificent historical structure.
June 14, 2016, 12:33 pm
Nobody from Queens says:
Meanwhile, a private company in Queens did a gut renovation and saved their landmarked building for less than 100k.

I sincerely hope someone at least organizes a protest against this. These shady developers and the politicians who they have bought with their 'campaign donations' need to be sent a message. Hands off our landmarks. Restore that building to its proper glory.
June 14, 2016, 1:32 pm
Sick of pigs! says:
Noooooo! To hell with Nick Nyhan, he should have stopped breeding at two kids.
June 14, 2016, 3:20 pm
M Peggy Bree from Sunset Park says:
Other countries preserve their historical buildings ... we just tear ours down. It's a sin to demolish the castle-like building. It has fired the imagination of generations of Brooklynites but our politicians want to remove it and replace it with a 30-room school! How can you do this when the citizens of the area, the ones you represent, don't want it demolished. Restore the building, include classrooms, but dont tear down an historical one-of-a-kind edifice and replace it with some cheap ugly building. Represent us and our wishes; dont be dictator and push on us what we dont want. Stand up for your constituents and fight this... preserve the old police precinct for us and for our kids and their kids and so on down the line. It was horrible that you demolished the gorgeous Carnegie Library -- learn from your mistakes and preserve the "castle"
June 14, 2016, 3:47 pm
Abba L. from Cobble Hill says:
aesthetic nod to the historic building is not a guarantee of a well built building and rarely stands up to the original

demolition is wasteful and environmentally destructive... so much for the kids' futures being the priority.
June 14, 2016, 5 pm
Joshua from Arizona says:
That's right, destroy the landscape for the sake of the children.
June 14, 2016, 5:06 pm
Amalia Ivanovna from PH says:
More than two kids? Don't complain about running out of room, it's your own jiz at fault. Who pays for all those nature destroying cute as a button children? Oh yes, the rest of us dearly do.
June 14, 2016, 5:20 pm
Pat from born & raised in sunset park says:
pathetic. your destroying brooklyn history. that building will fit alot of chairs for kids.
June 14, 2016, 5:23 pm
Marvin from Sunset Park says:
I grew up admiring this building as a child. As an adult, it has become a constant eyesore with contant news of possible renovations for social use. It jas been over 25 years that i have been looking at this building. If it will mot be used as a museum or other use, why not just use the property for good use like a school?
June 14, 2016, 5:38 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
This building should be turned into the new Sunset Park library (and neighborhood museum) and a school built on the library site.
June 14, 2016, 5:48 pm
Linda McDonagh from Sunset park says:
You have got to be kidding, I grew up on 43rd st. And watched this Castle deteriorate, due to neglect. Lived for years with scary scaffolding and rats! Now it is going to be torn down. What a disgrace. And I did go to St. Michaels with 50-60 kids in each class. What is happening to land Marking? When it's a poor neighborhood no one cares!
June 14, 2016, 7:52 pm
Ted from Bayside says:
This building has been an eyesore for 40 years.

Knock this useless chunk of bricks down
June 14, 2016, 11:51 pm
Charles from Bklyn says:
Of course, if we dig into the city's planning, we will find a back room deal where an alternate site is being given to a developer for luxury condos while the community is forced to destroy a landmark for more school seats. When will we stop the corruption from our elected officials?
June 15, 2016, 9:40 am
Norma from Sunset Park says:
What a disgrace. Fix the beautiful building that has been neglected for over two decades and then turn it into a school. My neighborhood needs alot of work, so when they are done with that maybe they can fix the bricks under the 3rd ave bridge so when crossing the street you don't twist your leg.
June 15, 2016, 2:24 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I always thought that if something was landmarked then it can't be demolished at all. Then again, some will probably find ways around such laws especially if they have friends in high places. How about just making this former precinct into a public school while leaving the building there? I don't see what is wrong with that, and there have been many buildings that have been converted into something else beyond their original usage, so this won't be something new here.
June 15, 2016, 4:22 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
They claim there are too many difficulties in converting the building. In other words, if it was in a more affluent area they would do it, but they won't spend the money in Sunset Park.
June 15, 2016, 5:34 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
If they can un-landmark Yankee Stadium, they can un-landmark this. Money to be made tearing it down, money to be made putting up an eyesore in it's place.

Don't forget the cost over runs!

Soon you won't recognize Warren Wilhelm, Jr.'s New York!
June 15, 2016, 5:44 pm
Carlos Diaz from Sunset Park says:
Disgusting!! People of Sunset Park and elsewhere who care about history AND education should make sure Carlos Menchaca knows this is totally unacceptable.

With the (ridiculous) slush funds are (utterly corrupt and corrupting) City Council runs, this can rehabbed and turned into a much needed comminity / arts/ culture center. There are a nearly a JILLION other places better suited for the school.
June 15, 2016, 6:31 pm
Cynthia U from Clinton Hill says:
Great! the structure is beautiful to knock it down to build four walls for the animals that come from the hood, they don't deserve this school its not like "they" gonna learn anything!?!?!,
June 15, 2016, 9:11 pm
scott from park slope says:
We're short thousands of seats in the district. PS 169 alone has 500 more kids than its building is rated for. there is room to build plenty of schools west of 3rd ave. in fact there are huge warehouses, recently upgraded that could be schools instantly if you hung a sign on the front door, but the sunset park community is too proud to cross 3rd ave. So they will probably wait another 12 years for the SCA to do something, by which time sunset park kids will be stacked like cordwood. meanwhile developers have snapped up all the easy properties. get over your aversion to crossing 3rd avenue, sunset park, or face choices like this. don't hesitate too long, or even 3rd ave will be gone, too.
June 16, 2016, 7:49 am
Carol from Park Slope says:
Do NOT destroy this landmarked building! Do NOT do that!
Build the school somewhere else! Literally anywhere else!!!
June 16, 2016, 5:08 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
If you want to save this building you have to find the right politician to bribe.
June 20, 2016, 6:15 pm
Joe from Brooklyn says:
Sunset Park desperately needed to alleviate the overcrowding in the schools for many years. It seems interesting that all of a sudden they decide to use a landmark . Are these seats being used for students in the real public schools or for the really private charter schools which make the most noise?
July 1, 2016, 10:46 am
Mary Jane from Sunset Park, B ay Ridge says:
Attended St.Michael's elementary School across from old jailhouse which has been closed as a school for many years now. Why can't it be reopened as a public school, with a little remodeling. I also approve the proposed jail house demolition for a school house.
Whatever Works.
July 29, 2016, 3:45 pm
Pat Cunningham from Sunset park says:
As I recall St. Michael had 2 buildings used for the elementary school plus a large school yard. I graduated back in 1963 so not sure if both are still vacant. With remodeling I would think it would be wiser and more economical to use St Michaels as opposed to tearing down a landmark and building from scratch.
If there us money for upgrading to safety standards, I think that the police station could be used as a museum and a community center.
Feb. 20, 2018, 8 pm

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