I love the historical geography of New York City, and the Ephemeral New York blog is all about it! Here’s a very cool place I would never have discovered on my own: the old Grammar School 47, built in 1855, which incredibly still exists (and is still recognizable) in Greenwich Village. Its history is pretty interesting, so take a look!

Ephemeral New York

“Proper but gloomy” is how one architectural writer characterizes this Italianate brownstone building at 34 East 12th Street.


“Lovely and enchanting” might be a better description. For a long time, this 19th century beauty was covered up behind scaffolding and brown paint. Now that its facade is back in view, its history deserves a shout out too.

Schoolhouse18551920sThe building opened in 1855 as Grammar School 47. That makes it one of the oldest schoolhouses in the city, and it’s also a rare public school at the time that was reserved for girls only.

“In 1854, the year before Public School 47 was built, East 12th Street between Broadway and University Place consisted mainly of houses and stables,” according to the Landmarks Preservation Committee report, which designated it a landmark in 1998.

The city school board wanted to expand the number of schools, especially for girls. “It was the Board’s…

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