by Edwin Mayorga,
Education in our Barrios Project (#BarrioEdProj) Principal Investigator
June 28, 2013
The three sites are truly special opportunities as they present sizable developments within submarkets having limited available land for any substantial development, and are located within neighborhoods exhibiting exceptionally strong residential market fundamentals. They are among the few chances remaining to build large projects in their respective neighborhoods. – RFEI created by CBRE for the NYC Educational Construction Fund
In February of this year the Westside Rag broke the story about New York City proposing to demolish three schools and offer the land and air rights to real east developers. The quote from above was drawn directly from the the glossy Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) released by NYC Educational Construction Fund.
PS 191 (W. 61st St) and PS 199 (W. 71st St.) on the Upper West Side and Cooperative Technical Education (CTE/CO-OP Tech) (E. 96th St) on the Upper East Side/East Harlem (depending on who you are talking to) are the targeted schools. In exchange for rights to develop on each school’s footprint and providing city funded support, developers would be required to integrate the schools into the bottom floors of the new condo high rises.
Recently the westside schools, with a tremendous amount of support from local elected officials, and the mobilization of various families that cut across socio-economic lines, were able to fight off this attempt to displace and demolish public spaces and disrupt the educational process to the benefit of private real estate entities.
CO-OP Tech in East Harlem, or the lucrative Upper East Side as the location was described in the RFEI, remained vulnerable. Whereas the two elementary schools had some geographic base of families and support systems, CO-OP Tech is a technical school for young people (ages 16-20) seeking to learn specific trades (culinary arts, carpentry, IT, etc) and for Adults seeking similar educational opportunities. With students coming from all over the city it becomes clear that organizing to prevent the demolition was going to be an uphill climb.
The DOE’s decision to stop their plans in the more economically mixed Upper Westside schools while still pushing forward in the more socioeconomically disadvantaged, though changing, East Harlem site also raises questions about how these two different neighborhoods are perceived and dealt with politically.
While the traditional academic school year ended this past Wednesday CO-OP Tech families, City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito and Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer, organized a rally in front of the school for Friday, June 28th.
Here is the footage of today’s rally/press conference, as produced by the Education in our Barrios Project (#BarrioEdProj) team.
The #BarrioEdProj team will be following up with struggle at CO-OP Tech.
The team was able to speak to Louis Thievenot, a para at the school for the last 15 years. You can listen to his remarks here
We encourage individuals connected to CO-OP Tech and East Harlem to make commentary on this page regarding the issue.
We will also be accepting commentary about CO-OP tech through voicemail commentary at (516) 240-9115 or text messages (type in: firstname.lastname@example.org).