The building of the former Public School 64 was made into a community center, known as El Bohio/CHARAS, beginning in 1977, led by the community organizations Adopt-a-Building and CHARAS. The grass-roots transformation of the unoccupied building was part of the Lower East Side’s reclaiming and revitalization by community members. El Bohio became a thriving space for arts, culture, fitness, and youth activities. In the words of the website Place Matters, “[El Bohio’s] special significance is in its identity as a public building, dedicated to the revival of community and of cultural survival.”

El Bohio/CHARAS is currently fenced off and not used as a community center; its status is actively contested. It was auctioned off my Mayor Giuliani to a developer 16 years ago, and has been the focus of activism to return it to community use.

Read more about the struggle to return El Bohio / CHARAS to community members at the links below:,,



605 East 9th Street, New York, NY


40.7261871, -73.9800895