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A Look into Bedford-Stuyvesant's Boys' High School

When the name Bedford-Stuyvesant rings out, it brings forth an echo of history, a cultural vibrancy that has shaped the unique character of Brooklyn. As you navigate the soulful streets, one imposing structure calls to the discerning eye - the Boys' High School. A splendid architectural spectacle completed in 1892, it is a testament to a community intent on demonstrating its elegance and aspirations.

nyc buildings with traffic lights

You can hear more Brooklyn stories with Gesso’s self-guided New York audio walking tours, which you can experience at your own pace.

Designed in the flamboyant Romanesque Revival style by James W. Naughton, the prolific architect behind 100 other Brooklyn schools, this building stands as a monumental reflection of the rapid growth and burning ambition that characterized the city at the end of the 19th century. It was the grand sequel to the Girls' School erected seven years prior, a duo of edifices symbolizing the blossoming of education in Brooklyn.

From the moment its doors opened, the Boys' High School gained an elite status. It quickly filled its halls with eager students, adding to its reputation as a beacon of excellence. Its roster of notable alumni boasts of literary giants such as Norman Mailer and Isaac Asimov, two sons of Bedford-Stuyvesant who would go on to leave indelible marks on the literary world.

However, time bore its weight on the school. In the 1970s, the school board decided to consolidate the boys' and girls' high schools into a separate building, leaving the Boys' High School to battle the elements. It has since been restored to its former glory, housing two charter schools within its historical confines.

This architectural marvel also holds a place in the cinematic world, having featured in Spike Lee's 'Crooklyn'. Recognizing its historical significance, it was dedicated as an individual landmark in 1975.

Many more Brooklyn stories and New York City tours await. Discover more local history with our New York audio walking tours, and see which nearby New York City neighborhoods you want to explore next!


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