Places that Matter

Boys and Girls High School

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Contemporary Boys and Girls High School building, photo by Martha Cooper
Contemporary Boys and Girls High School building, photo by Martha Cooper
James W. Naughton's Boys High School building, photo by Martha Cooper
James W. Naughton's Boys High School building, photo by Martha Cooper
James W. Naughton's Boys High School building, photo by Martha Cooper
The oldest high school in the city
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Administratively joined when it was founded in 1878, Boys and Girls High School existed as two separate schools for much of the 20th century. Both institutions, particularly Boys High School, were considered gems in the city's school system and were viewed with great pride in the community. The merged Boys and Girls High School continues to be a seen as a "symbol of excellence" in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Boys and Girls High School is considered the oldest high school in New York City that began as a public school. Originally opened in 1878 as a part of the Central Grammer School at Court and Livingston Streets, the girls division was moved just eight years later to a new building on Nostrand Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant. In 1891 the two schools were formally separated, and the next year Boys High moved into a new building on Marcy Avenue not far from Girls High. In 1976 the two schools were merged again in a new building on Fulton St.

The historic Boys High and Girls High buildings were both designed by architect James W. Naughton. The earlier (1886) Victorian Gothic style Girls High is now the oldest surviving structure built as a high school in New York City. It has been restored and now houses the Brooklyn Adult Learning Center. The 1892 Boys High Building was also designed by Naughton, and was conceived to be a major architectural monument as befit one of the most important educational institutions of the time. Romanesque Revival in style, the building has a dramatic roofline with gables, dormers, a round tower, and a corner bell tower. Long a visual centerpiece of Bedford-Stuyvesant, the Boys High building was restored in the 1990s and now houses the Street Academy, an alternative high school, as well as several other educational programs. Both buildings are New York City Landmarks.