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.
40 Irving Place
New York, New York 10003
School type Campus
Founded 1913
Superintendent Marisol Bradbury
Principal Daniel Walsh, Susan Dicicco, Seung Yu, Amber Najmi Shadid, Bernardo Ascona, Paola Zalkind
Grades K–5, 9–12
Enrollment 1,926 (September 2014)
Language English
Area Various

The Washington Irving Campus is located at 40 Irving Place between East 16th and 17th Streets in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, near Union Square. It is a public school campus run by the New York City Department of Education. The campus was entirely a high school, Washington Irving High School, until 2008, when Gramercy Arts High School was established at the site, along with the High School for Language and Diplomacy in 2009, International High School at Union Square in 2010, and Union Square Academy for Health Sciences and the Academy for Software Engineering in 2012. [1]


The school is named after 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,[2] 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 of 1986, the school became co-ed. Currently there are more than 2,000 students.[citation needed] In the period that Hector Xavier Monsegur (Sabu) attended Irving, 55% of the school's students graduated with their classes.[3]

Closure and Success Academy Charter School[edit]

New York City DOE announced in December 2011 that WIHS would be one of two high schools to be closed by summer 2015. The school is to be replaced with Success Academy Charter School. Among the reasons for closing include a graduation rate of 48%.[4]

The Success Academy Charter Schools planned to open an elementary school in the building in 2013.[5] The site was suggested by the City Department of Education but the decision was not final until 2014.[6] Washington Irving High School graduated its last class in June 2015 and beginning in early September, all of the second floor, and most of the third floor will be the site of Success Academy.


One of the murals in the lobby, depicting a scene from one of Irving's books
The bust of Washington Irving outside the school

The school's interior varies. The lobby's walls are covered by wood panels, and toward the ceiling there are murals depicting the history of New York. Many are by the noted muralist, Barry Faulkner. In the middle of the lobby, there is a grand decorative fireplace. Guests enter the building through the main door, which is opposite the fireplace. Above the fireplace are statues of women carved from a single piece of white stone; the statues are covered by the American flag. 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. On 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 an security X-ray scanner. As per the New York City Schools Chancellor's regulations, cell phones [cell phones may be allowed now under the De Blasio mayoral administration], MP3 players, and other electronic devices are currently 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. ^ Wurman, Richard Saul, Access New York City. New York: HarperCollins, 2000. ISBN 0-06-277274-0
  3. ^ Fishman, Steve. "“Hello, I Am Sabu ..." New York. June 11, 2012. p. 2. Retrieved on April 10, 2013.
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ Fleisher, Lisa "New Charters Proposed for Manhattan" Wall Street Journal (July 15, 2012), accessed July 25, 2012
  6. ^ Johnson, Mary. "DOE Selects 'Suggested' Sites for Success Academy Collocations" DNAinfo (July 17, 2012), accessed July 25, 2012
  7. ^ "Asa Akira – Biography". 
  8. ^ Claudette Colbert on TCM
  9. ^ Kleinfield, N. R.; Sengupta, Somini (8 March 2012). "Hacker, Informant and Party Boy of the Projects". The New York Times. 
  10. ^ McKinley Jr., James C. "Sylvia Robinson, Pioneering Producer of Hip-Hop, Is Dead at 75" The New York Times (September 30, 2011)
  11. ^ Bella Spewack at Jewish Women's Archive
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ [3]

External links[edit]