The question was put to a class from a Brooklyn high school: Had they ever given a moment’s thought to their school building?
The quick answers were no, no, no. Then:
“Huge windows,” said Justin Statia.
“I wondered why the hallways are so thin,” said Gaston Ovando.
“It’s old,” said Hanifah Presley. “My granduncle went here.”
The students attend the Academy for Young Writers, a small program housed in Junior High School 50 on South Third Street in Williamsburg.
JHS 50 was built in 1915 (and replaced an earlier public school on the site). Like many of NYC's other public schools, this building was designed by Charles B. J. Snyder, the City's architect for public school from 1891 to 1922. Over the course of those three decades, Snyder transformed the design of public schools, emphasizing light and air, safety, and amenities such as gymnasiums and auditoriums. (PS 17 on North 5th and Roebling is probably a Snyder school.)
Jim Dwyer has an article in today's Times detailing an effort to resurrect Snyder's legacy.