December 2017
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Brooklyn Landmark Endangered by School Construction Authority Proposal

Full title: MAS Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed PS 557 by the New York City School Construction Authority, Community School District No. 15, Brooklyn, New York


The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) is deeply disappointed that these important historic structures have been allowed to deteriorate to their current state and restoration has been deemed infeasible by the School Construction Authority (SCA).

As we stated in our response to the June 1, 2016 Notice of Filing (NOF), MAS strongly opposed any plan that would involve the demolition of the 18th Police Precinct Station House and Stable, which are both listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places and are designated individual New York City landmarks. At the time, we urged the SCA to either pursue an alternate site for the school or preserve the two buildings and incorporate them into the new school design. We maintain this position today.

Comments and Recommendations

In addition, several critical concerns expressed by MAS remain unanswered and we have several comments and recommendations that we urge the SCA to consider and incorporate into a revised DEIS before the project moves to a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and further review by the City Council.

According to the NOF, SCA was required to conduct an alternative sites analysis for eight other potential sites for a school facility in Community School District No. 15. At the time of the issuance of the NOF, two sites (250-266 46th Street and 291-301 24th Street) remained under consideration by SCA and were undergoing “various studies” to determine if they were appropriate and could accommodate a small public school facility. SCA never provided a response to MAS’s inquiries regarding these sites. And neither the DEIS nor any supporting documentation addresses their status. Furthermore, neither the DEIS nor supporting documentation includes information about other sites in the area that were under consideration for a school site. Therefore, MAS urges that the revised DEIS include an appendix providing the full evaluation of these two sites and details on other potential school sites selected in Community School District No. 15 that were eliminated from consideration for the construction of a new school.

In addition, consideration of preserving or reuse of the stable has largely been ignored under the plan, the DEIS, and supporting documentation. The DEIS needs to be revised to include an evaluation of options for preserving the landmark stable.

We also find the DEIS Urban Design and Visual Resources section to be deficient in fully evaluating how the proposed project will incorporate the historic façade into the new building.

  • The DEIS should be revised to include interior and exterior conceptual renderings of the proposed school showing details how the existing historic structure will be incorporated into the design.
  • With consideration of the important role the 18th Police Precinct Station House and Stable has played in defining the character of the Sunset Park neighborhood, the DEIS Urban Design and Visual Resources and Neighborhood Character sections need to be revised to include a more detailed and rigorous evaluation of how the new building would be consistent with the design and character of the neighborhood.
  • The DEIS must be revised to include more detailed drawings of the massing of the new building. Figure 8-2 in the Urban Design and Visual Resources section of the DEIS is not sufficiently detailed.

As we stated in our comments on the NOF, we urge the SCA to enter into consultation with the Landmarks Preservation Commission regarding this project and disclose the correspondence in the revised DEIS.

We look forward to SCA’s responses to our concerns expressed herein.