Manhattan School of Music Dormitory

Status: Completed

The Manhattan School of Music currently lacks dormitory facilities of its own. The school would like to build a dormitory tower on a vacant lot (shown in yellow below) just north of its main building. A building by Robert A.M. Stern (drawing) was considered for this site in 1987 but never built.

Update 4/6/00: The school has released final plans and plans to pour the foundation before the end of next week. The 21-story building is shown below. It is an excessively modern design that looks like it wandered up from Battery Park City. At best, it is a yuppified version of those white-brick 1950's apartment blocks that were modernism's opening salvo against the visual integrity of our cherished neighborhoods. Beyer, Blinder, Belle's reputation as a responsible traditionalist firm is finished.

There are also serious issues of dishonesty involved as MSM is claiming that the residential component of this project, which will also contain office space for the Bank St. College of Education, will be used only for their students despite evidence that they may be planning to sell condos at the top of the building. MSM has made implausible claims about financing this building with money they have on hand when it is obvious from their own financial statements that they can't possibly afford it. This has led to informed speculation that some profit-oriented deal has been struck with an outside party, probably through MSM trustees president David Rahm, to finance the building in exchange for a piece of it.

It is highly distressing, and frankly dishonest, that MSM has done all this without any of the promised consultation with the community. It is also obvious that they have cynically done so in an attempt to beat the new Unified Bulk regulations of the City, which would prevent a building like this one. These kinds of tactics belong to the discredited past. If you wish to register a protest, the person to contact is Vice-President for External Affairs Susan Blumstein at (212) 749-2802 x537 or President Marta Istomin. Their e-mail addresses are and Or try:

Susan Blumstein
Vice-President for External Affairs
Manhattan School of Music
120 Claremont Ave.
New York, NY 10027

Update 6/21/00: MSM has basically permanently alienated the crucial Community Board 9 with its actions, and has raised the community's hackles about building in general. Demonstrations have been held outside their existing building, and they will be facing community hostility for years. For more information call Kevin McGee of Concerned Residents of Morningside Heights, Manhattanville and Harlem at 604-4478. Protest Poster. Picture of demonstration. Picture of completed building. Another picture of completed building.

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