Boys High School (Brooklyn)

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Boys High School
Boys HS Putnam Av jeh.jpg
South face
Boys High School (Brooklyn) is located in New York City
Boys High School (Brooklyn)
Location 832 Marcy Ave, New York
Coordinates 40°41′4″N 73°56′54″W / 40.68444°N 73.94833°W / 40.68444; -73.94833Coordinates: 40°41′4″N 73°56′54″W / 40.68444°N 73.94833°W / 40.68444; -73.94833
Area 1.9 acres (7,700 m2)
Built 1891
Architect James W. Naughton, C.B.J Snyder
Architectural style Romanesque, Rundbogenstil
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 82003361[1]
Added to NRHP February 25, 1982

Boys High School is a historic and architecturally notable public school building in the Bedford–Stuyvesant, neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. It is regarded as "one of Brooklyn's finest buildings."[2]


The "splendid" Romanesque Revival building is richly decorated in terracotta somewhat in the style of Louis Sullivan.[3] The building is admired for round corner tower, dormers, and soaring campanile.[4]

The building was erected in 1891 on the west side of Marcy Avenue between Putnam Avenue and Madison Street. It was designed by James W. Naughton, Superintendent of Buildings for the Board of Education of the City of Brooklyn.[5] The building is regarded as Naughton's "finest work."[6]

When Boys High was landmarked by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1975, the commission called it "one of the finest Romanesque Revival style buildings in the city."[7]

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 25, 1982.


In 1975, the same year the building was landmarked, Boys High merged with Girls' High School to become Boys and Girls High School.[7] Boys and Girls High School immediately moved to a new building at Fulton Street and Utica Avenue.[7]

The school was a college preparatory program with high academic standards. Congressman Emanuel Celler described Boys High in his autobiography, "I went to Boys' High School — naturally. I say "naturally" because Boys' High School then, as now, was the high school of scholarships. Boys of Brooklyn today will tell you, "It's a hard school." It was highly competitive..."[8]

Another Boys High graduate remembered that "I went to Boys High School in Brooklyn, a great school. It was out of the classic tradition. I guess eighty percent of the student body had to take Latin — we didn't have to; we elected Latin, because we felt it was expected of us."[9]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Isaac Asimov (1920–92), author
  • Jules Bender (1914–82), collegiate and professional basketball player
  • Anatole Broyard (1920–1990), Essayist, Literary Critic and Writer
  • Emanuel Celler (1888–1981), served in the United States House of Representatives for almost 50 years
  • Aaron Copland (1900–90), classical composer, composition teacher, writer, and conductor
  • Howard Cosell (born Howard William Cohen, 1918–1995), American sports journalist
  • Mel Davis (born 1950), professional basketball player
  • Tommy Davis (born 1939), Major League Baseball player
  • I. A. L. Diamond (1920–88), comedy writer
  • Martin Dobelle (1906–86), orthopedic surgeon
  • Hal Draper (born Harold Dubinsky, 1914–90), socialist activist and author
  • Ted Draper (1912–2006), historian and political writer
  • Leon Festinger (1919–89), social psychologist
  • Al Goldstein (1936-2013), pornographer
  • Alfred Gottschalk (1930–2009), Rabbi who was a leader in the Reform Judaism movement
  • Si Green (1933–80), professional basketball player
  • Connie Hawkins, Basketball Hall of Famer
  • W. Langdon Kihn (1898–1957), portrait painter and illustrator
  • Morris Kline (1908–92), Professor of Mathematics
  • Leo Kornfeld, Deputy Commissioner of Education (Carter and Clinton administrations), and President of True Basic Software Company
  • William Levitt (1907–1994), developer of Levittown[10]
  • Charles Lightfoot Jr. (1930-2014), leader in the fields of software development and desktop publishing
  • Norman Lloyd (born 1914), actor, director and producer
  • Norman Mailer (1923 –2007), novelist, journalist, essayist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, and film director
  • Mickey Marcus (1901–48), US Army colonel who became Israel's first general
  • Ernest Martin (born 1932), theatre director and manager, actor
  • Abraham Maslow (1908–70), professor of psychology
  • Will Maslow (1907–2007), lawyer and civil rights leader
  • Irving Mondschein, American track and field champion
  • Man Ray (born Emmanuel Radnitzky, 1890–1976), artist
  • Max Roach (1924–2007), jazz percussionist, drummer, and composer
  • Aubrey Schenck (1908-1999), motion picture producer
  • Allie Sherman, NFL football player and coach
  • Lance Wenceslao, ABC Television Broadcasting Engineer
  • Alexander S. Wiener (1907–76), leader in the fields of forensic medicine, serology, and immunogenetics
  • Lenny Wilkens (born 1937), NBA player and coach; Hall of Fame player and coach


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ Robbins, Michael W.; Palitz, Wendy (2001). Brooklyn: a State of Mind. Workman Publishing. p. 228. ISBN 978-0761116356. 
  3. ^ "New York Architecture Images - Brooklyn Bedford-Stuyvesant: Boys’ High School". New York Architecture. 
  4. ^ "Boys' High School". The New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. 
  5. ^ An architectural guidebook to Brooklyn, Francis Morrone,Photographs by James Iska, Gibbs Smith, 2001, p. 37.
  6. ^ "Walkabout with Montrose: Master of Schools, JW Naughton," September 8, 2009, Brownstoner.
  7. ^ a b c "Boys High School And Historic Dock Made Landmarks; Boys High And a Dock Are Cited, Joseph P. Fried,October 5, 1975, New York Times.
  8. ^ Celler, Emanuel (1953). You Never Leave Brooklyn: the Autobiography of Emanuel Celler. The John Day Company. p. 31. 
  9. ^ Simons, Howard (1990). Jewish Times: Voices of the American Jewish Experience. Anchor Books. p. 262. ISBN 978-0385266970. 
  10. ^ Kamil, Seth; Wakin, Eric (2005). The Big Onion Guide to Brooklyn. New York University Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0814747858. 

External links[edit]