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PAVED HISTORY TO PUT UP A PARKING LOT: NYC officials pave historic 1787 Brooklyn schoolyard to make area for staff vehicles


The interior courtyard at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York is seen on Tuesday, January 29, 2019. (Gardiner Anderson for New York Daily News)

School officials paved a piece of history and put up a parking lot, the Daily News has learned.

A green space that dates to 1787 — the city’s oldest high school yard — at the Erasmus Hall Educational Campus in Brooklyn was converted into a makeshift parking lot with a new gravel pit installed in December.

The space has been used as a play yard and common area since it was incorporated as part of the city’s first secondary school, where construction began about 10 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.

In more recent years the area had been used as a walkway for students or an informal gather space before or after class.

Now it’s a parking lot for administrators after thousands of pounds of gravel were spread across the yard in a strip that fits at least 10 cars, staffers said.

The interior courtyard at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York.
The interior courtyard at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York. (Obtained by NYDN)

“They’re spending money to wreck the symmetry of a historic courtyard, to put in a parking lot,” one staffer said. “That’s pretty offensive.”

There are currently five public schools located at the Erasmus Hall educational campus, a landmarked building that was built around the original school and courtyard in four phases starting in 1904.

Famous Erasmus grads include singer and entertainer Barbra Streisand, author Mickey Spillane and Ramones drummer Marky Ramone.

Some classrooms look onto the courtyard and original school building, which still stands although it’s no longer used for instruction.

Staffers said the Erasmus campus already has one small parking lot and that many workers from the schools in the building park their cars in a nearby retail lot.

Kids said they’d rather see the lot used for student activities or preserved as a historic space.

“It makes me upset,” said sophomore Jean Gaby Dybala, 15. “Just leave it the way that it was. We hang out, play soccer, run around. We get fresh air there.”

Education Department spokeswoman Miranda Barbot said that Erasmus is currently undergoing an upgrade under the direction of the city’s School Construction authority.

“SCA is working on a portion of the exterior and roof of the Erasmus school building, and the courtyard will be completely restored,” Barbot said. “We expect to complete the project at the end of the this calendar year.”

Barbot declined to provide the cost of the project but said it would be paid for as part of the city’s existing capital plan for school improvements.