Washington Irving Campus

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Coordinates: 40°44′07″N 73°59′15″W / 40.7353°N 73.98741°W / 40.7353; -73.98741

Washington Irving Campus
Washington Irving High School.jpg
The 1885 bust of Washington Irving on the lower-left, who never lived on or near the site, but a close relative did.

School typePublic; Charter
SuperintendentMarisol Rosales
PrincipalVadewatie Ramsuchit, Susan Dicicco, Shawn Raeke, Sarah Hernandez, Bernardo Ascona; Dan Rojas
GradesK–5, 9–12
Enrollment1,775 (September 2015)

The Washington Irving Campus is a public school building located at 40 Irving Place between East 16th and 17th Streets in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, near Union Square. Formerly the Washington Irving High School (until 2008), it now houses six schools under the New York City Department of Education. The constituent schools include the Gramercy Arts High School, the High School for Language and Diplomacy, the International High School at Union Square, the Union Square Academy for Health Sciences, the Academy for Software Engineering, and the Success Academy Charter School.[1]


Washington Irving High School[edit]

The school was founded as an all-girls school due in large part to the efforts of Patrick F. McGowan, then head of the Board of Education and later acting mayor of New York City.[2] The school is named after the writer Washington Irving. The building in which the school is located was designed by the architect C.B.J. Snyder and built in 1913. The original building is eight stories high, though the extension on 16th Street designed by Walter C. Martin and built in 1938, is eleven stories high.

The school had been located on Lafayette Street, but because the student population was growing at a rapid rate, a decision was made to move the school to another location,[3] and land was purchased at 40 Irving Place. The school started out as a branch of Wadleigh High School, known at first as Girls' Technical High School, the first school for girls in the city. In 1913 the name changed to Washington Irving. On September 1986, the school became co-ed. In the period that Hector Xavier Monsegur (Sabu) attended Irving, 55% of the school's students graduated with their classes.[4]

Closure and conversion to campus[edit]

The New York City Department of Education announced in December 2011 that WIHS would be one of two high schools to be closed by summer 2015. The school was to be replaced with Success Academy Charter School. Among the reasons for closing include a graduation rate of 48%.[5] Success Academy Charter School planned to open an elementary school in the building in 2013.[6] The site was suggested by the City Department of Education but the decision was not final until 2014.[7] Washington Irving High School officially closed in June 2015 after graduating its last class, resulting in Success Academy taking over its site along with the other high schools.


On February 25, 2016, a fire broke out in the building after an electrical explosion, resulting in the campus to be closed for an unspecified amount of time. All students and staff were relocated to another building.[8]

On December 5, 2017, a student was arrested and charged for raping another student.[9] The suspect is identified as 18 year-old Jevon Martin while the victim is a 16-year-old girl. The incident took place between the third and fourth floor of a stairwell.[10][11]


One enters the lobby through the main doors, which are opposite a grand decorative fireplace. It features a plaster bas-relief overmantel, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by sculptor Frances Grimes. Above the lobby's oak-paneled walls are 12 murals by Barry Faulkner depicting the early history of New York.[12] The murals in the auditorium are by Robert Knight Ryland and J. Mortimer Lichtenauer. The murals in the stairwell are by Salvatore Lascari. On the second floor and above, the walls are white, the doors are red, and the floors are black. The exterior is limestone up to the second story, then gray brick trimmed with limestone. In front of the building, at the corner of Irving Place and 17th Street is a bust of Washington Irving by Friedrich Beer, which is featured on the school's ID. The exterior was used in the TV sit-com Head of the Class. The school's auditorium is located in the middle, between the left and the right wings. It is usually accessed only from the lobby, but has seats on the second level. There are many performances held at the auditorium, by students and outside artists.

Student life[edit]

Each day students enter the building from East 16th Street, swipe their ID cards, and go through metal detectors while their belongings go through a security X-ray scanner. As per the New York City Schools Chancellor's regulations, MP3 players and some other electronic devices are banned in New York City public schools. In addition, students may no longer enter the building after 10:00 AM.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Bloodworth, Aryn "Washington Irving High School Review" New York. [1]. Retrieved on September 20, 2015.
  2. ^ "P.F. McGowan Buried". New York Times. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  3. ^ Wurman, Richard Saul (2000), Access New York City, New York: HarperCollins, ISBN 0-06-277274-0
  4. ^ Fishman, Steve. "“Hello, I Am Sabu ..." New York. June 11, 2012. p. 2. Retrieved on April 10, 2013.
  5. ^ Phillips, Anna M. "List of Schools Targeted by City for Closing Is Up to 19" New York Times (December 9, 2011), retrieved 2012-04-10
  6. ^ Fleisher, Lisa "New Charters Proposed for Manhattan" Wall Street Journal (July 15, 2012), accessed July 25, 2012
  7. ^ Johnson, Mary. "DOE Selects 'Suggested' Sites for Success Academy Collocations" Archived 2012-07-19 at the Wayback Machine DNAinfo (July 17, 2012), accessed July 25, 2012
  8. ^ "DOE Delays Opening Of Manhattan School Building After Electrical Explosion". New York, New York. CBS2. 27 February 2016. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  9. ^ Cook, Lauren (December 5, 2017). "Student raped inside Manhattan school staircase, NYPD says". AM New York. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  10. ^ Colletti, Roseanne (December 5, 2017). "16-Year-Old Student Raped on Staircase at Manhattan Public School Building: NYPD". NBC News. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  11. ^ Musumeci, Natalie; Lapin, Tamar; DeGregory, Priscilla; Moore, Tina (December 5, 2017). "Teen charged with raping classmate in high school stairwell". New York Post. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  12. ^ Scenes from the Early History of Manhattan, from NYC Department of Education.
  13. ^ Ingall, Marjorie (7 May 2013). "The Woman Behind the Dolls". Tablet. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  14. ^ "Asa Akira – Biography".
  15. ^ Claudette Colbert on TCM
  16. ^ Whoopi Goldberg
  17. ^ Pommer, Alfred; Pommer, Joyce (October 26, 2015). Exploring Gramercy Park and Union Square. Arcadia Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 9781625853639.
  18. ^ Alleman, Richard (March 6, 2013). New York: The Movie Lover's Guide: The Ultimate Insider Tour of Movie New York. Crown/Archetype. p. 215. ISBN 9780804137782.
  19. ^ Kleinfield, N. R.; Sengupta, Somini (8 March 2012). "Hacker, Informant and Party Boy of the Projects". The New York Times.
  20. ^ Raboteau, Albert (2013). "Moss Arts Center: an extraordinary canvas for art and education". Impact. No. Winter 2013. Virginia Tech Office of University Development. p. 12. Retrieved December 19, 2013. ... her talent was recognized by a teacher whose encouragement helped convince Moss' mother to send her daughter to Washington Irving High School, in Manhattan, which had a strong arts program.
  21. ^ Klemesrud, Judy (September 13, 1970). "Shelley Plimpton: From 'Hair' to Maternity". The New York Times. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  22. ^ McKinley Jr., James C. "Sylvia Robinson, Pioneering Producer of Hip-Hop, Is Dead at 75" The New York Times (September 30, 2011)
  23. ^ Bella Spewack at Jewish Women's Archive
  24. ^ Yahoo

External links[edit]