Students at P.S. 290 Will No Longer Need to Play in the Street

Manhattan New School recess

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Necessity is the mother of invention. For one Upper East Side school, a rooftop play area was born from it.

P.S. 290 Manhattan New School, located off Second Avenue at 311 East 82nd Street, is billed as “a true community of learners as evidenced by our rigorous academics and the dynamic relationship between students, teachers, administrators, staff and families.”

Its rich history and curriculum have been the cornerstone of an academic community that grew from 125 students and seven teachers to a diverse student body of over 600 students from across the globe — and 36 teachers holding it all down.


Despite its successes, limited space at the school has long forced its students to enjoy their play or recess time in the street, protected only by unmanned barricades and teachers whose attention can be drawn in 100 different directions. But parents and students received some welcome news this week after the New York City Council approved its $101 billion budget, Patch first reported.

A “rooftop play place to bring the 100-year-old school into the 21st century” has been sought by parents at the Blue Ribbon school for nearly a decade. A $5 million gap in funding prevented the project from progressing.

However, with $6.5 million coming from three new sources (the recently approved $4 million in mayoral funding, a $1.5 million allocation by City Councilmember Julie Menin, and an additional $1 million from Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright), the monetary bridge needed to move the play space forward has been built.

Menin celebrated the news on Twitter. “PS 290 is one of the last schools in NYC without a gym or phys ed space. Today, that is no more! Thrilled to partner w/@nycmayor to deliver $5.5 million in city funding to convert roof into play space! Proud to bring this victory to our community.”

The total cost will be $8 million and is headed to the School Construction Authority, “which will meet with school leaders to determine the scope and design of the project,” according to Patch.
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