Abandoned School in Harlem

Post Author: Nate Dorr

Given property values in this city, it’s hard to imagine how buildings go vacant and abandoned anywhere, but least of all right in Manhattan. And yet, there it was: an old public school, structurally sound and beautifully built, but gradually deteriorating after years of disuse.

The roof had rotted through in a few places, and the windows were long gone, so snow gathered in corners and gaps between floorboards and tall trees had been allowed to grow from the upper stories. Most startling was the lack of vandalism or, largely, even graffiti. The ground floor was gutted, but the rest relatively untouched besides by the passing years. How did it get like this? I’m not sure exactly when it closed but the city gave the property to a local organization for renovation into a Youth Center. Clearly that never happened, but more recent luxury condos proposals (as seen in action at another similar school only blocks away) were fought by locals and the spot remains as it is.