This former parking garage on East 65th Street will be transformed into an early childhood education center | Upper East Site
This former parking garage on East 65th Street will be transformed into an early childhood education center | Upper East Site, Google

FROM PARKING TO PRESCHOOL: Defunct UES Garage to Transform into Early Childhood Center

From parking to preschool. A defunct Upper East Side parking garage is set to be converted into community space, bringing a spacious new early childhood center to an under-served portion of the neighborhood, UES City Council Member Julie Menin announced Tuesday.

The three story, 30,000 square foot former parking garage located at 403 East 61st Street, between First and York Avenues in Lenox Hill, has been leased by the School Construction Authority — the agency whose mission it is to design, build and renovate schools in New York City.

The parking garage located at 403 East 65th Street will be turned into an early education center
The parking garage located at 403 East 65th Street will be turned into an early education center | Google

“Early childhood education is an incredible asset for so many children and working families across our city,” Council Member Menin explained.

“I have been working with the Administration since the launch of 3-K for All to secure additional services to meet the needs of Upper East Side families.”

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According to Menin’s Office, the Upper East Side zip code where the new education space will be located, 10065, currently has no city-operated standalone early childhood centers. The Department of Education adds that there are only 72 Pre-Kindergarten seats currently in 10065 — and no 3-K seats.

Demolition work is underway inside the garage located at 403 East 65th Street | Upper East Site
Demolition work is underway inside the garage located at 403 East 65th Street | Upper East Site

“Our Early Childhood Education system has long grappled with too many empty seats in some zip codes and long waitlists for seats in others,” said NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks, “Our families and communities deserve better.”

Once complete, the nearly 100 year old building that used to house parked cars will become home to up to 10 new early education classrooms.

Demolition work is underway inside the garage located at 403 East 65th Street | Upper East Site
Demolition work is underway inside the garage located at 403 East 65th Street | Upper East Site

At the garage on Tuesday, construction workers were gutting the inside of the building, one of which told Upper East Site the floors of the structure were in bad shape.

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“The SCA continues to add capacity for our youngest students,” said School Construction Authority CEO Nina Kubota.

“By taking a pragmatic approach seeking opportunities to lease non-traditional space, we’re opening up new possibilities that previously went untapped to ensure a greater availability of early education seats,” Kubota added.

Plans for the new early education center are expected to be finalized in late 2024.

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