On September 18, I joined New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and other local officials at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new PS 51 (Elias Howe School) at 525 West 44th Street. The school, which was previously located a block away on West 45th Street, had been relocated to the Upper East Side for two years during the new school’s construction as part of the Gotham West development, which also includes more than 600 units of affordable housing. Manhattan Community Board 4 and its Housing Health and Human Services Committee co-chair Joe Restuccia were justifiably praised for their role in securing both the school and the hundreds of affordable apartments.
I was very happy to celebrate our new, state-of-the-art school and to welcome the Elias Howe School community back to Hell’s Kitchen. Special thanks go to Principal Nancy Sing-Bock, the entire PS 51 staff, the PTA, parents and students, and the Department of Education for making the school’s temporary relocation work. PS 51 is in the heart of my Senate district and is one of the jewels of our city’s school system.
The new building has six stories, is fully air-conditioned, accessible for students with disabilities and is designed to serve 640 students in grades pre-kindergarten through five and special education. In addition to classrooms, it has a music room, art room, and science labs, a cafeteria and kitchen, library, rooftop playground, street-level playground and two gymnasiums, including one that is also used as an auditorium.