Posts Tagged ‘Seward Park High School’

Stars who started out at Seward Park High School

November 3, 2012

I wonder why so many famous actors and entertainers attended the Lower East Side’s Seward Park High School?

Among its alumni: Walter Matthau, Jerry Stiller, Zero Mostel, Estelle Getty, Tony Curtis (then known as Bernard Schwartz), Sammy Cahn, Aida Turturro, Keenan Ivory Wayans, and former Black News host Bill McCreary.

Opened in 1905 as P.S. 62 and renamed Seward Park Junior High, it evolved into a senior high school in the 1920s.

In 1929, the current school building went up on the Lower East Side block bounded by Essex, Broome, Grand, and Ludlow Streets—a few blocks from the actual Seward Park.

The school and park were named for William H. Seward, the former New York senator who served as secretary of state in the Lincoln administration . . . and was almost assassinated along with his boss.)

Seward Park won’t be producing any more notable alumni. The school graduated its last class in 2006, and the building now houses several smaller schools and academies, none of which are named after any New York politicians or landmarks.

This Brooklyn high school has also enrolled its share of future celebs.

Doing time at the Ludlow Street Jail

January 18, 2010

That’s what today’s LES is missing—a city jail.

Opened in 1862 at Ludlow and Broome Street, the Ludlow Street jail was meant for civil rather than criminal offenders—many of whom could pay extra money and get better accommodations. 

And those upgraded accommodations weren’t bad. We’re talking a reading room, grocery store, and cells with comfy beds and curtains. It looks more like a posh university club, according to the illustrations below.

Notable prisoners include notoriously sinister politician William “Boss” Tweed, sent to Ludlow on corruption charges. He died there as well.

There’s also Victoria Woodhull, the first female candidate for president and a free-love advocate, who was accused of sending obscene material in the mail. She was found not guilty six months later.

The jail was also known as the “alimony club,” since many “delinquent husbands” got sent there, as a 1925 New York Times article put it. 

It was bulldozed in the late 1920s. On the site now: Seward Park High School.


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