Posts Tagged ‘Bayard Rustin High School’

Stained glass beauty inside an 18th Street school

January 18, 2013

Bayardrustinwindows2From the outside, the Bayard Rustin “educational complex”on 18th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenue looks like a fortress.

Built in 1930 as The Straubenmuller Textile High School, it’s an imposing structure that doesn’t appear to be very inviting.

Walk into the massive lobby, though, and you’ll notice something really imaginative only students and teachers get to see: two enormous, richly detailed stained glass windows.

Bayardrustinwindows3Each window has different panels depicting students learning grammar, music, math, history, and other subjects even high school students at a technical school like this one were once expected to know.

There are also scenes from ancient Greek and Medieval legends. The phrase “Thou gavest thy good spirit to instruct them” runs along the bottom.

They’re not the only examples of art hiding in the building.

Painted on all four lobby walls are murals of great civilizations—including workers putting together steel beams high above the 1930s Manhattan skyline.


Painted by WPA muralist Jean Charlot, they’re a bit faded, and worth a look (better ask school security officers first though—they have their eye on you.)