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: http://www.sohojournal.com/content/Save-Landmarked-former-PS-64CHARAS-El-Bohio, https://rosiecitycouncil.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/save-our-community-center-sign-the-petition-for-charasel-bohio-join-us-january-6-2015/,