PS 199 is housed in a storied mid-century modernist building built in 1963. Our three-story schoolhouse includes over 40 classrooms, enrichment rooms, and offices that support our rich array of programs. Each classroom has access to light and air from windows overlooking the surrounding garden, playground, or rooftop courtyard. All classrooms are equipped with SmartBoards to enhance instruction and support learning. Our students regularly visit our school library which houses over 10,000 books curated by a librarian and parent volunteers. Each of our enrichment programs - art, movement, music, and science - have dedicated classrooms and teachers. We are especially proud of our indoor hydroponic garden in our science lab, which also has direct access to a charming outdoor garden - both funded by our PTA. We are also very fortunate to have our own two-story gym and a beautiful auditorium for our many activities, events, and performances throughout the year. Our unique history even gifted us a shared outdoor playground with New York City Parks that our children can safely use for drop-offs and recesses. Learn more about PS 199's building and history and how we came to inherit these wonderful resources to support our outstanding programs.
The PS199 building was built in 1963 as part of the urban renewal of Lincoln Center neighborhood in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Named after the former ambassador to France and president of R.H. Macy & Co., PS 199 Jesse Isidor Straus Elementary School is housed in a modernist architectural jewel designed by a prominent architect of the time, Edward Durell Stone. The architect is best known for designing the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., the United States Embassy in New Delhi, 2 Columbus Circle and the General Motors Building in New York City.
PS199 building is representative of Stone's progression from the International Style toward a more elegant and classical design style, evidenced by the marble entry lobby, colonnade piers, and inscribed decorative square patterns under the flat roof overhang. The repetitive vertical piers are emblematic of this period of his work. The double-height gym, cafeteria, and classrooms are arrayed along the exterior walls for access to light and air. The building's interior is reserved for the lobby, support spaces, and a grand auditorium, where its rooftop is actually an open courtyard and playground space surrounded by classrooms.
Over the last 60 years, the PS 199 building has had to adapt to the evolving demands of the thousands of students, teachers, and staff that come through its doors every day. In fact, it had been home to two other public schools - The Center School (MS 234) and The Special Music School (M 859) - before they moved to larger facilities in the Upper West Side. Today, the PS 199 school building continues to be home to an exemplary elementary school recognized for its academic excellence and dynamic community.