Public School 149
Public School 149 was built in 1906 at a cost of $450,000 on land purchased from Claus Doscher. Still standing, it is now also known as the Danny Kaye school, after its most famous graduate. Danny attended 149 from 1919 to 1927.
|P.S. 149, Vermont and Sutter Ave. |
Dated: 1906 Maker: Souvenir Post Card Co. Status: Own(RG)
Neil sends in the 2006 shot. When the school is built, the area is predominantly Jewish, as reflected in the story from a Danny Kaye biography.
|P.S. 149, Vermont and Sutter Ave. |
Dated: 1912 Maker: Wm. Fick Status: Own(BG)
The shot on the right is looking down Sutter Ave in 1948; my mother marked the photo "by George's Candy Store". She also marked 149, her junior high school, in the background. By then the school is now solely a junior high school, and the neighborhood has changed. Rod Maggio provides some reflections on that.
|Of course, its the Danny Kaye school. Danny (Daniel Kaminsky) lived on Bradford Street and attended the school from 1919-1927. My mother and another family source attended 149 in the late 1940's, and they both recalled Danny's visits the same way. "It was chaos as soon as he arrived. Danny was a big star then, and all the students would mob him. All I could ever see was the flaming red hair atop his head as he worked his way through the crowd. The school would have all sorts of events planned around him, and they would all be cancelled because they couldn't control the kids."|
|J.H.S. 149, Class of June 1924 |
. Ilene Cohen shares the oldest class picture to date, a shot of her father's class in 1924. He is seated on the far right wearing knickers. I have no explanation as to why the class is mostly female; if you look at the 1933 pictures below, you will see the same phenomenon in one of the shots. It seems unlikely the males were already working; this was a very Jewish area, with a high value on education.
|Commendation cards, 1937 |
These commendation cards provide some interesting details. The school is referred to as "East New York Junior High School", which my aunt confirmed was a name used by the school. They are dated 1937, giving some clue as to when the school was exclusively a junior high school. My aunt reflects comically on the use of those cards.
|J.H.S. 149, Class of June 1933 |
. We have two pictures from the class of 1933. Marty Oksenhorn provided his mother's class picture on the left. Frieda Zuckerman is in the bottom row, fifth from the left. Note it was a Junior High School at this point. I also couldn't help but notice each class had one African-American girl, posed in the center of the group.
|J.H.S. 149, Class of January 1940|
Thanks to Judy Scheinbein, who supplied her father's (Jerome Schwartz) class of 1940, in a great classroom shot. Brian Merlis sent over another January 1940 class, taken in the same room.
|Graduation, June 1950 JHS 149 |
On the Southwest corner of Sutter and Wyona, a picture of Rod Maggio on graduation, June 1950. Graduation was held at the Premiere Theater on Hinsdale. Rod points on this was the boys side, the girls side was on Vermont, being on that side during girl's gym was 'forbidden', with the girls in green gym uniforms with 'balloon' shorts. On the right is his class picture, partially damaged.
|More class pictures; Mike Bivona provided his 1950 graduation pic from JHS 149. He also identifies himself, 2nd row from top, third from right. On the right, Tony Pomillo sent his January 1949 class pic (which I upgraded from the yearbook). Tony takes a stab at some IDs.|
|Yearbooks, 1948 and 1949|
Courtesy of my mother, the 1948 and 1949 yearbooks show the switch in name to the "Red and White".
|Yearbooks, 1948 and 1949|
From the 1948 yearbook, a picture of a sewing class; I discovered my aunt Mary Cornell in the far right of that shot! I brought it to my aunt's attention and she identified Alice Greenburg and Marilyn Goldfarb sitting at the table with her. On the right, a general activities shot from the 1949 yearbook.
|Class 9B7, 1948 and Class 9B1, 1949|
Of course I had to include my mother's class graduation picture which includes my aunt Mary. My mother even attempts to ID the class. On the right, A class shot from the 1949 yearbook. If the teachers look old, that's because many were brought out of retirement during the war, according to my aunt. "We enjoyed it because they used to tell us stories about the old days. In their time, teachers were not supposed to get married. The class was their family".
|Yearbook Ads, 1949|
I always like to include a few yearbook ads to display a few of the local businesses of the era.
|Class 9B4, June 1949|
Howard Rubin sent in his class picture from the June graduating class 9B4 of 1949.
|Red and White, January 1951|
I was disappointed when I picked up this 1951 yearbook to discover they did not include any senior class pictures. I did find a small grainy shot of the schoolyard seen on the right, and a great tidbit- see below.
|Phil Silvers, Isaac Asimov|
In that 1951 yearbook someone noted that "Danny Kaye and Phil Silvers walked these hallowed halls" I was able to find Phil and his family in the 1920 census, when Phil was 9 years old. They lived at 417 Pennsylvania Avenue. Sid Bloom tipped me off that science fiction writer Isaac Asimov graduated from 149 in 1932.
|Red and White, 1955|
Thanks to Evelyn Israel for a shot of the 1955 yearbook.
|Class 9-315, 1957|
Evelyn Israel supplies the graduation program from 1957. It was held at the Premier Theater. Evelyn noted the Principal, Harry Kreimeier, was formerly the Principal at P.S. 63. On the right, Evelyn supplies and image of her graduation class, and supplies IDs; "Front row:Estelle Schnider, Linda Abrams, Ilona Berger, Rebecca Shulman, Evelyn Walsdorf, Dina Weiss, Rosalie Fleischman, Rochelle Goldberg, Elissa Winter.
@nd Row: Allan Skolnick, Allan Rabinowitz, Norman Kaufman, Michaels Topf, Mrs Powers, Manuel Gandler, Carl Streim, Melvin Cohen, Robert Wendroff.
3rd Row: Marton Cohen, Barry Semel, David Rubin, Priscilla Harris, Marilyn Feldman, Michael Sabin, Sandra Epstein, Renee Bleiweiss, Harold Berman, William Lipson, Carl Levy.
Top Row: Stephen Schwartz, Alfred Goldstein, Sanford Blovad, Phillip Yourman, Ellen Gerson, Allan Gottfried, David Lilien, Paul Gelber, Micael Gottlieb."
|Red and White, 1963|
James "Jimmy the Pea" Warren helped fill a gap with shots from the 1963 yearbook (inside cover) and his class picture, class 9-205.
|I.S. 292, Pitkin and Wyona|
In 1967, the city opened I.S. 292 several blocks away and it becomes the new junior high school in the area, replacing 149. 149 becomes a grade school again, and currently serves grades K thru 5. Ironically, my older brother and I both attended 292 and have a wealth of stories but I have yet to place them on the site. I will provide one story that ties the school back to 149 to complete the circle. I have also touched base with Steve Cohen, an East New Yorker who taught at the school for 13 years. He enlightened me that even though the pay was poor, teaching was a draft-deferred position.