Sunday, March 15, 2009


Buyers often harbor an aversion to schools, especially high schools, and properties adjacent. While learning institutions beget traffic, some daytime noise, and litter, they are not without perks. Many schools roll up the sidewalks after 4 pm, students and faculty dismissed at three-ish, lie silent in the evening, on weekends and for long holiday periods.

I was once involved with the purchase and sale of a property on 40th Place, in West Park, directly behind Manual Arts High School. "Manual Arts is a large institution," I cautioned my client, "be prepared for a teenage chorus line, maybe even loitering, in the morning and afternoon." But it wasn't to be. Manual Arts received and relieved entirely on Vermont Avenue. Moreover, because the school interrupted the East-West grid, those streets that abutted the back side of the campus (see image top), nearly operated as cul-de-sacs, with reduced traffic, and security patrols.

Over the years I've sold many a house in the Kinney Heights neighborhood, home of Joseph Pomeroy Widney High School. Outsiders, prospective home buyers, have often cast a wary glance at the single story Brutalist strip along Gramercy. Yet, Widney harmlessly serves a mere 370 special ed kids, including sightless youngsters who often, and heartwarmingly, navigate the neighborhood whilst learning to use their canes.

In the Heights (Arlington Heights that is), Johnny L. Cochran Jr. Middle School features an expansive green along the school's Southern border. At an open house, opposite the field, I once heard a home-seeker complain, "but it's across the street from a school."
"Tell her it's a park," I kidded with her agent.



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