In the News: Another School Rezoning Plan

••• “The Department of Education released a sweeping new rezoning proposal for Downtown’s schools Tuesday night, scrapping an unpopular plan to send Tribeca children up to Greenwich Village and moving them instead to schools in Chinatown and near City Hall.” I don’t see this one being much more popular. —DNAinfo (Tribeca Trib has a map) UPDATE: As requested in the comments, I posted the much-discussed flyer at the end of the post. Click to enlarge.

••• So very excited about this: “Following whispers of a comeback for 56 Leonard in late July, the Observer reports that Houston-based developer Duncan Hines, who’s been steadily building its New York portfolio over the past 25 years, has taken a stake in the stalled Tribeca condo tower and plans to revive the Herzog & de Meuron design with few changes.” —Curbed

••• Photographer Donna Ferrato’s powerful domestic violence work is featured in the New York Times.

••• The New York Times included you-read-about-it-here-first The Elevens in a big article on crowdsourced restaurants.



  1. I am wondering if rezoning some of the elementary school kids from the Spruce Street School will allow for the possibility that the middle school that was promised might actually have a chance of opening in that building. Pretty sure the families north of Murray and east of West Broadway are not going to go for yet another proposal which moves them even further away from their zoned elementary school.

  2. Not happy about 56 Leonard! That building is horrible looking and does not belong in Tribeca! How much more before every street has lost it’s charm?

  3. What is the logic for anyone on Duane or Reade west of Broadway having to go completely across town to a school on the lower east side. I think the the people on this panel need to go back to elementary school.

  4. What is the logic for anyone on Duane or Reade west of Broadway NOT having to go “completely” across town to a school on the lower east side. Will your children be destroyed for life? What happens when they have to go to college? I guess it’s either BMCC or St. John’s. I think the parents that oppose any plan that doesn’t allow their children to remain within a 2 block radius of their home need to go back to elementary school because they’re being very childish and need to learn how to deal with the realities of living in the real world. Stop acting like your children and stomping your feet. It’s time to start acting like a big a big boy & girl. Isn’t it? Yes, it is.

  5. Wow- How does power work in this city? North-west tribeca claims its too dangerous for their children to cross Canal street and go to a great school: PS3. They get their way and now the east half of Tribeca is asked to send their children through the jail houses and courts, or along Canal st across the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge (the bridge designated for trucks, btw) to a poorly performing school with a very different teaching style from the west side publics.

    Why is it that the Eastern half of Tribeca- (classic, full of loft dwellers, founding artists, new families,firmly in the triangle south-of-canal) keeps getting shuttled to the latest overflow school?

    First it was zoned out of 234 to Spruce, and now our pre- kindergarteners won’t be able to continue there next year, and instead will be forced to walk (no east-west subway connections for winter) to a school that has very low performance records and a very different teaching style.

    How unfair.

  6. OMG – I didn’t realize what a dangerous city we live. Commissioner Kelly, why didn’t you ask Batman to stay after he was done shooting his film? Couldn’t he have stayed a little longer to clean up this lawless city? I sure hope ALL of the children that live in Chinatown & near City Hall get to come to the “better” west side schools. If not, then we are just teaching our children that they can’t always get what they want, when they want it. Plus, I can’t tell my friends that my children go to “that” school.

  7. I don’t have kids so I’m going to have to rely on my already strained empathy skills—it’s been a long morning—but leaving aside everything else, P.S. 1 is a serious schlep to have to make every weekday (because we’re talking about kids who aren’t old enough to go on their own).

  8. This isn’t about distance because no parent would let their child walk alone whether the school was 1 block or 100 blocks away from their home. I can’t believe this is the first time in human history that parents have had to figure out how to get their children to school. If they can figure out how to break down a stroller to get it in the trunk of a car, they can figure this out. This is obviously class warfare. Meet you at Zuccotti Park and remember to bring your No. 2 pencils.

  9. Bravo Jim!

  10. We live west of broadway and have been sending our kids since pre-k to a school in the lower east side for over 6 years. People often ask: 1. Where do you live? and 2. Where does your kids go to school? We answered: 1. Tribeca 2. Lower East Side. We always get a pause and then a “Why?” (on earth?) Answer: because we want to and its a better education (so far). Jim is right, it is about class and racial warfare.

  11. The Board of Ed does not guarantee you a spot at the school of your choice. It guarantees you a spot in your district. Period. Affluent parents are going to kick up a stink to get seats in the schools they deem most “appropriate” for their kids educationally and culturally. The fact of the matter is that you can’t always get what you want. There are 1M kids in the system, and real estate is limited. I wish all the whining would demand better schools (for all students), not optimally convenient (or culturally appropriate) schools for a few hundred kids.

  12. Real estate is limited when it comes to providing the basic amenities like schools, hospitals and public space. It seems to be unending when it comes to the building of and conversion to residential units in Lower Manhattan. They have no problem finding space to build these luxury buildings that advertise 2, 3 and 4 bedroom units and marketing the neighborhood to families based on the great schools. I am pretty sure that the current families in PS 1 are not going to be happy when they find out that they will not be able to find seats for siblings and other children who choose to go there because they are being forced to take Tribeca’s overflow. Look what happened last year when they wanted to solve our overcrowding by sending the overflow to PS 130. It wasn’t just Tribeca families who didn’t want to go, PS 130 had enough of their own students and didn’t want to be forced to take ours.

  13. @Kerri- agreed. The Board of Ed should do more, but they meet their mandated requirement of offering a seat in the district. Developers who are the real beneficiaries of the luxury housing boom need to be required to do more. They build, sell and run.Bloomberg has not asked anything from the developers. PS1 has 10 available classrooms apparently. PS 130 was very accommodating, and if some 130 parents didn’t want an influx of Tribeca families, I say “tough” to them also. Just because some people don’t want something or like something, doesn’t mean the whole system should be changed to accommodate them. This is what we teach our kids. The situation is not ideal. The Board of Ed should be focused on improving the quality of education for the 75% of kids in the system that are getting a truly crappy education. These petty turf wars over “our neighborhood” vs. a school in a totally different “neighborhood” reeks of classcism and racism and makes us look like a bunch of spoiled children.

  14. Jim Smithers obviously doesn’t have kids (or at least doesn’t know much about being a father), so perhaps he can’t appreciate the IMPOSSIBLE situation of a mother having to walk a 5 year old to school while pushing a stroller with a toddler in it from Leonard & Church through the jailhouses (125 White Street anyone?) and accross the entrance to the Manhattan bridge. The prospect of this is terrifying, unsafe, and totally innappropriate for a young child.

  15. Child safety should be the foremost issue in rezoning. This rezoning is terrible in that regards. TriBeCa kids wil necessarily have to traverse the labyrinth of traffic in Chatham square to get to ps 1. This includes the convergence of east broadway, park row, pearl street and several others near the entry of the Manhattan Bridge. The intersection is unavoidable on the way to ps 1. Makes crossing Canal look like cakewalk.

    We dont need rezoning to create worse problems than it’s supposed to solve. We need more schools.

  16. Take over the dog run next to 234. Plop down some trailers since, according to the DOE, we need to make space for 43 now-disenfranchised children in the 2012 Kindergarten class. PS 1 doesn’t have the space; to accommodate the new students the school will be removing its computer lab and art room and opening “overflow” areas like closets and hallways.

    Our best option is temporary expansion into an empty lot while the community works together to find a site for a new north Tribeca school.

  17. @notjimsmithers – Seriously? I haven’t even had coffee yet. You obviously don’t know anything about being a mother…who walks their child down White Street?!! My golly, have you no sense?! But of course, now the issue is about sidewalk safety which requires a mother & child to run the guantlet just to get to school. (giggle, giggle, snort, snort) You’d make a swell politician, just remember at the next public when you get up to the mic to speak to have your child strapped to your front in a Baby Bjorn and your other young toddler standing next to you holding your hand with their best “sad” face. They make great props. Maybe Mayor Bloomberg can install “Tribeca,” excuse me, “TriBeCa Children Only” drinking fountains?

  18. @jimsmither – you’re clearly enjoying belittling the child safety concerns of parents here and questioning their motives. I guess you think if parents choose to raise kids in NYC they should tolerate all manner of risks to their kids, be it crime, traffic safety, etc., since heh, that’s part of the bargain of living here, right?

    Well, you’re wrong. Twenty years ago, Manhattan had few of the parks, low crime rates, and generally livable conditions we enjoy today — thankfully much has changed since then because no one accepted those problems as necessary conditions of living here.

  19. @blindablain – You’re right, my apologies to all. I didn’t mean to sound belittling. I can’t wait to hear your perfect school rezoning proposal that satisfies everyone. When will you be presenting it and how do you propose rezoning without having children cross any major streets (including Canal, West, Broadway, etc.)? And why have you been sitting on it for so long? And I hope you’ve figured out how to get all of those precious children on the East side over to the safer West side schools? Now THAT was belittling.

  20. @JIm Smither. Maybe you should be reading others’ posts more carefully before getting to work on crafting your witty responses. Linda clearly said rezoning isn’t the solution, which might be why she hasn’t proposed a new rezoning plan. Most in the community agree -new schools are the only way to solve the problem. Rezoning every other year is ridiculous. For now, leave the zones intact until we can build.

  21. @notjimsmithers – Maybe you should read my response more closely, as my response, as stated in my last sentence, was belittling. I clearly don’t have any faith in Blinda Blain coming up with an acceptable rezoning plan or figuring out how to get her child to PS 1. Stop belittling everyone else intelligence with all of your fear-mongering reasons why Tribeca kids can’t go to any other school than the one in Tribeca. BTW, your on-line name….not so witty.

  22. Couple of ideas.

    1) DOB should work with DOE to force every one of these new massive highrise buildings they keep building in the area to to allocate a portion of the building space for new school space.

    2) Make the newer mega buildings residents go to the schools that are across town. These buildings are the sole reason for overcrowding. Meanwhile they get big tax breaks while the rest of us who have been here for 10+ years are seeing our taxes go through the roof and are being pushed out of the neighborhood at the same time.

    Here is a short list of those who should relocated to Chinatown: 101 Warren, 89 Murray, 200 Chambers, 50 Murray, 25 Murray, Barclay Tower, Truffles Tribeca, and the new 57 Reade.

    4) Convert many of the massive federal/courthouse buildings into new schools and get rid of some of the government bloat.

    5) Take over this guy Jim Smither’s apartment and make it a school and send him to live in Zucotti park.

  23. @notjimsmithers, Linda Blain, downwithnewdevelopments – You are obviously the same person or of the same shallow mind. New schools are the obvious solution, but it’s not going to happen tomorrow. As a Tribeca parent, I am embarrassed by the comments and flyers being distributed of Tribeca vs. Chinatown, East vs. West, Us vs. Them. You are very small-minded and aren’t setting a good example for children. Jim Smithers’ comments aren’t the problem, because he and WE see through your bullshit smoke screen of racism, elitism, class warfare or however you what to label it. I hope the NYTimes, et al, does a piece on these “mothers” and the real “issues.” Bravo, Jim, Bravo!

  24. @miriam – I am so glad you spoke up. I have lived in this neighborhood for 25 years and have never been ashamed of it. Until today. I can not believe that residents of this neighborhood think it is acceptable to not only have such an attitude of elitism, but think it is their civic duty to post a flyer with their elitist, racist views. And this rezoning backlash is nothing more than racism and elitism. My kids finished school many years ago but as a mom, I would not want my kids to have to share a classroom with children who were raised to believe they were to good to attend school that is an Asian majority. And lets be honest – that is what this “protest” is all about.

    @kiff, notjimsmither, linda blain and downwithdevelopments – SHAME ON YOU!!!!

    BTW – you are not fooling anyone… you are clearly the same person. And that is nothing to be proud of.

  25. @Miriam – nice try calling me racist, but I’m Chinese you fool.

  26. @miriam, et al – since all this opposition to the newest rezoning proposal must be motivated by insidious racism and elitism, I guess the north TriBeCa opposition to the last re-against proposal was because west villagers are inferior and the predominantly rich white people living there are “them”?

  27. @notChinese – Yes, that’s exactly what I was saying. Thank you for clarifying the issue.

  28. @notjimsmithers – parents living in N. Tribeca were opposed to sending their kids to PS 130 (which is 89% Asian)? Yes, that does seem motivated by racism. You should really do your research, dear.

    PS 1 and PS 130 have 69% and 89% (respectively) Asian students with only 2% and 4% white students. PS 234 has a 15% Asian student population compared to a 72% white student population.

    Let’s be honest – that is the biggest issue for you isn’t it?

    For all the parents throwing tantrums and stomping their feet because their child cannot attend PS 234, what is your immediate solution? A new school will not be built by next fall. These students have to be placed somewhere. So where is your ideal placement for these children?

    @notjimsmithers – you don’t seem to be offering any solutions or suggestions. Stop wasting everyone’s time with your silly arguments and your petty name calling. This is a wonderful forum to comment on issues and share opinions but you seem to only be lashing out at specific individuals. As a fellow Asian (if you are in fact Chinese) – I know you were raised better than that.

  29. Their solution is to pack as many kids as they can into PS 234. They are against overcrowded schools unless that means their kids will have to go to another school. Then it’s okay, so pack ’em all in!!

  30. Since a new school is not appearing tomorrow, what specific ideas do people have for next year? Lets keep the pressure on developers to commit space to schools, but we need a solution and no one seems to have anything better than the BOE.

    Also, for everyone concerned about getting kids safely to school. Crossing Greenwich to get to 234,which everyone east of Greenwich has to do, might be one of the most dangerous pedestrian cross walks in downtown. Wasn’t that our position in regards to getting a traffic light on Greenwich? Can anyone really tell me that crossing Chambers and Greenwich is not potentially dangerous? We cross that intersection 2x a day (with stroller and 2 kids) and even with a crossing guard, that intersection is a nightmare. The grazing of pedestrians by cars, is not that uncommon. I have a hard time believing that safety is the driving issue.

    I have not seen flyers, but am hoping this is some sort of myth. Eric, if you see one, please post.