City Island Nautical Museum designated NYC landmark

City Island Nautical Museum has officially been designated a NYC landmark.
Photo by Patrick Rocchio

The City Island Nautical Museum has now become NYC official.

The City Council voted unanimously in favor of designating the museum, which previously housed P.S. 102 and P.S. 17, City Island schools, as a New York City Landmark, during the Council meeting on Wednesday, March 28.

The museum, located at 190 Fordham Street, was built in 1898 and served as City Island’s only public school until replaced with P.S. 175. For the last 30 years, the building has remained significant, serving as a museum that preserves over 100 years of City Island ‘s nautical history. It has also served as a meeting place for various community groups of the Island for several decades.

The school, which first opened as P.S. 102 and later as P.S. 17, is located at 190 Fordham Street.

The building is also home to a few condominium units which are located at the back of the building.

The school first opened in 1898 with about 400 students and eight classrooms. It was designed by renowned New York City architect Charles Snyder.

P.S. 102 was renumbered P.S 17 in 1903 and was designated as The City Island School in 1916. From 1929 to 1930 the school was expanded to meet the needs of the growing island population, and was replaced in 1975 by P.S. 175. The original building was then used by the various groups it still houses there today.

Second vice president of the Nautical Museum, Barbara Dolensek, said she is very happy about the decision to designate the museum as a City landmark.

“We are just delighted of course,” Dolensek said. “It is really special because the building is a classic, and although it has been on the national register for a long time, it is big news for us that NYC has registered it as a City Landmark.”

Dolensek said that because the building is now a landmark, it will be better taken care of.

“Because we are also a historical society, we care a lot about how the building looks,” she said. “We have restored the front of the building where it was burned, and we are currently in the process of trying to restore the steps. Our hope is, now that it is a landmark, people will be more supportive of our project.”

Dolensek said the nautical museum is currently in the process of fund raising to help to pay for the project of reconstructing the steps.

Councilman Jimmy Vacca said he thinks the decision to landmark the City Island Nautical Museum was a wise one.

“The City Island Nautical Museum, formerly the community’s only public school, has been a staple of City Island for over a century,” Vacca said. “What once educated generations of City Island children now preserves 100 years of history and I commend those who have kept it intact over the years. I thank my colleagues for voting in favor of designating this historical building as a New York City Landmark and I am honored to have it in my district.”

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