I'd had my eye on 535 Leonard St. in Greenpoint for some time. It's a stout, oblong mountain of a building, and freestanding, by a wide walkway - something that cues New Yorkers to stop and take notice. But then its unusually bright and tiered red brick is a Victorian-era giveaway, along with its tall, narrow windows and contrasting keystones… all of which point to a certain majesty in a previous life. It has all the bearings of a proud, stubborn old man.

It's also been in a state of disrepair for some time. A few windows have been bricked in, the front metal doors are patched with rust, and a pediment is obviously missing… leaving behind a curious pink triangle at the top… a bald spot, of sorts. Eventually some graffiti tags signaled an idle existence and impending surrender to a future repurpose. But long before the dumpsters ever arrived, a brown awning had stood over the entrance, announcing a mysterious, brutalist-sounding identity: PLAV.  


A comprehensive piece on on the original 1869 schoolhouse building and its second life as the PLAV can be found on our wiki page here.