A pricey Upper East Side private school is seeking to continue its controversial land grab this fall, despite a call from the UES community board to revoke their permit. Upper East Site has confirmed that The Allen-Stevenson School has once again quietly applied for the ‘Open Streets’ program — which closes the street to pretty much anyone except the children of the obscenely wealthy, who can afford the school’s $59,200 a year tuition.
Launched during the height of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in New York City in April 2020, the ‘Open Streets’ program originally gave New Yorkers space to walk or bike when they were asked to stay home to slow the spread of the virus. For schools, the intended purpose was to create outdoor learning space to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
ALSO READ | Creep on Citi Bike Smashes Woman’s Head Against Tree in Central Park
As neighbors who live and work on East 78th Street, between Lexington and Park Avenue, told Upper East Site last year, The Allen-Stevenson School’s all-day closure on weekdays from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm, is not being used for any kind of outdoor learning.
Instead, neighbors say it has become a free-for-all. Filthy rich students of the all-boys school get dropped off and picked up by nannies in black cars, the school holds bake sales and yoga classes for parents, or is used for recess — with the sounds of shrieking children drowning out all other noise, while pedestrians are forced to dodge flying balls.
“The number of patients that were injured by these kids with throwing balls was unbelievable,” Dr. Pamela Lipkin, whose home and office are located on the closed block of East 78th Street, told Upper East Site an interview last year.
“Half the time the street is closed off and they’re not even using it,” she explained, “There are real safety issues with what they have been allowed to do.”
“What they’ve done basically, is steal the street to make it convenient for their drop offs, pickups, whatever they want,” Dr. Lipkin continued.
Following months of outrage from neighbors, Community Board 8 voted last November to approve a resolution calling on the Department of Transportation to revoke the Allen-Stevenson School’s OpenStreet permit once the school’s massive ‘play roof’ — a state-of-the-art recreational area for children built on the school’s rooftop — was complete and safe for children to use.
Fast-forward to April and The Allen-Stevenson School’s ‘play roof,’ which school leadership said was expected to open in early 2023, has still not received a Certificate of Occupancy, Upper East Site has confirmed.
Meanwhile the street closure continues, preventing New Yorkers from using a street for the sole benefit of a single private school, which now plans to continue the road takeover for the 2023-2024 school year as well.
“In consultation with a neighborhood representative, we’ve submitted an Open Streets program application focusing on modified use to facilitate arrivals and dismissals,” Allen-Stevenson Head of School Duncan Lyon said in a statement to Upper East Site, but did not elaborate further or specify the ‘neighborhood representative’ who was consulted.
Upper East Site has learned that instead of an all-day closure as it has been for the last three years, if approved, the closure next school year would be dialed back to morning and afternoon hours only — to facilitate pickup and drop off of children for their extremely privileged parents.
ALSO READ | Raging Stranger Assaults UES Man after Being Asked to Clean Up His Dog’s Poop
The DOT tells Upper East Site it will consider “all stakeholder feedback before deciding” on whether to allow The Allen-Stevenson School’s wildly unpopular street annexation to continue, but it remains to see how much weight that feedback actually holds.
The Allen-Stevenson street closure “will resume operation in Fall 2023 pending application review,” according to the Department of Transportation, which makes it sound like the twice-daily shutdown is a done deal awaiting a rubber stamp.
On Wednesday, Community Board 8 will take up several Upper East Side ‘Open Streets’ applications for the spring and fall, however, Allen-Stevenson’s is not among those being reviewed. The DOT says it will be presented later this year.
For updates around the clock, follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
Suggest a Correction
Copyright 2023 Upper East Site. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten, broadcast, or redistributed.
From whom is this a “land grab”? From entitled drivers who endanger children in front of their schools? From entitled parkers who store their personal property on public real estate, for free-or-almost-free?
What this really is, is a land *restoration*—and a pretty modest one, at that—considering it’s merely restoring a sliver of the 80% of public space that, for a century, has been taken for the 24/7 de facto exclusive use of those in cars, leaving the majority of us trapped in the leftover 20%—on ever-narrowing garbage-covered sidewalks.
All public schools should have Open Streets to
Fuck off and fuck your cars. Open street is the best solution to car congested school zones.