Lydig Ave. grammar school opening

The new Young Voices Academy is slated to open next month.
Photo by David Cruz

Overcrowded local schools will get some welcome relief next month when a new grammar school opens its doors on Pelham Parkway.

The Young Voices Academy, serving community children, will be open in September with seats still available.

Situated at 800 Lydig Ave. between Matthews and Barnes avenues, YVA will welcome its first kindergarten class, roughly 50 students divided into two classes.

They will help christen the newly-constructed building dubbed The Dominic Castore Educational Campus, named after the well-respected community leader who passed away last year.

Councilman Jimmy Vacca led the push for the school to be named after Castore, the longest-running chairman of Community Board 11.

As per any new school, the city Department of Education will introduce the kindergarten class in its first year, adding another grade each year, up to the fifth grade. Total enrollment is projected to reach 270 to 300 students, with 36 pre-K seats available once it reaches scale.

Crews hired by the School Construction Authority built Young Voices Academy at the old Young Israel of Pelham Parkway, bulldozed to make way for the five-story brick building.

The city Department of Transportation is reviewing streets to see whether any traffic calming measures can be installed for the influx new students and staffers along the tiny street edging Lydig Avenue’s business strip. A speed bump along Muliner and Lydig avenues is expected to be installed shortly.

YVA falls within District 11, where grammar schools are lacking, according to the DOE.

The new school is intended to ease the overburderned grammar schools in the surrounding area, mainly P.S. 108 and P.S. 105.

Communith leaders made an unsuccesful push last year to turn YVA into a much-needed middle school for the neighborhood.

Al D’Angelo, vice president of the Morris Park Civic Association, argued YVA would serve the community well if it were a neighborhood middle school, since it could have kept community students closer to home, increasing a school’s success rate.

The Van Nest Academy is the more attractive middle school in the area, where neighborhood students were to receive priority treatment.
But the popular school’s seats were maxed out, forcing neighborhood kids to be bussed within District 11, but way too far for parents to feel comfortable.

Parents interested in enrolling their kids to The Young Voices Academy can call District 11’s Office of Enrollment at 718-935-2278 or email They can also stop by its office at 1230 Zerega Avenue.

Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3383

More from Around NYC