P.S. 264: A miracle on 89th Street

October 3, 2012 Denise Romano
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The ribbon cutting that took place at P.S. 264 on 89th Street and Fourth Avenues is proof that dreams really do come true.

What was once a car wash is now home to the Bay Ridge Elementary School of the Arts, complete with a library, gym, art studio, science lab, playground and a state-of-the-art theater complete with a grand piano.

“It feels like it was a month ago that I was standing outside the car wash thinking, ‘Could this really be a school?’” recalled Laurie Windsor, president of Community Education Council District 20 during a ceremony in the school’s auditorium on October 3.

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“Inside and out, this is a beautiful school. Seeing this as a project, not a possibility is a gratifying feeling, like seeing your last child graduate,” Windsor added.

Many members of community came out to support the new school. Captain Richard DiBlasio, commanding officer of the 68th Precinct; Colonel Eluyn Gines, garrison commander of the Fort Hamilton Army Base; Borough President Marty Markowitz; State Senator Marty Golden; Councilmember Vincent Gentile and Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny all extended their best wishes for the student’s success.

Markowitz said that learning a language is important, especially the “emerging” ones including, Mandarin, Portuguese, Turkish and Arabic. “This is the age to teach them. They are sponges!” he said before handing a proclamation to Principal Patrice Edison.

“Something awesome has been created here on 89th Street,” commented Golden. “This is a great moment in Bay Ridge’s history.”

Gentile said that he was “taken aback” when he entered the auditorium. “We are here to build leaders and self-confident young men and women,” he said.

“The community of Bay Ridge really deserves a school for the arts,” Brook-Krasny commented. “It’s so wonderful that kids in this school will get knowledge of art, art history and music in such a beautiful building.”

PTA President Christian Cope said that when he moved the neighborhood 12 years ago, he remembered the car wash. “I watched the construction and thought this day would never come,” he said. “Don’t you like that new school smell?”

Before the ribbon cutting, smiling and dancing second graders performed a festive rendition of “Celebration” led by music teacher Ayah Rifai.

“This reality has far, far succeeded my wildest dreams,” Edison concluded.

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