22-25 Jackson Avenue
1892; addition: Andrew Berman Architect
This Romanesque Revival structure, featuring variegated brick patterns and a plethora of arched windows, was built in 1892 as the First Ward School for the independent Long Island City. The bright red brick façade is enhanced by ornate terra cotta detailing, including floral motifs on the gables, which were supplied by the nearby New York Architectural Terra Cotta Company (see site #9). The school’s original 35 classrooms could accommodate up to 1,000 students, and its southwest corner once boasted a grand tower holding a clock and bell. After the school closed its doors in the early 1960s, the Institute of Art and Urban Resources took over the building for use as a gallery and studio space. The Institute ultimately evolved into the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, which merged with the Museum of Modern Art in 2000 to become MoMA PS1. This affiliation has kept MoMA involved in contemporary developments in the art world, while providing this remarkable building with more visibility and responsible management. The success of the merger and the continuing vibrancy of the PS1 building are best represented by the cast concrete addition constructed in 2011 to serve as a new entrance and art display space for the growing museum.