NYC public schools were even overcrowded in 1891. The superintendent of school buildings and architect C. B. J. Snyder was mandated to build new schools to alleviate the issue. Snyder designed the beautiful gothic style buildings that we have today. Inspired by the architecture of the Renaissance and Baroque periods in Europe, he believed that NYC schools could be cathedrals of learning.
Snyder’s priorities when building the new schools were “fire protection, ventilation, lighting, and classroom size.” He also maximized space by adding rooftop playgrounds to many. Snyder was so devoted to his objective that he did not take a single vacation since 1904, and by the time he retired in 1923, he had designed hundreds of schools across the city. Read more about Snyder and his time with the DOE here.