That Roof Deck Makes for a Nice One-Room Schoolhouse



The complex has a whopping 100,000 square feet of shared amenity space, with indoor swimming pools, basketball and squash courts, an indoor soccer field and skate park, and a music studio. Only the pools and children’s play room remain closed at this point.

While the indoor spaces were closed during the summer, Ms. Sullivan focused on the complex’s 2.6-acre park for setting up socially distant activities outdoors open to residents and the public, like sunset yoga and cardio kickboxing. With the school year starting, Ms. Sullivan is lining up an activities schedule for the school-age crowd.

Among the activities planned exclusively for residents is a series of classes for children run by Green Food Solutions, an urban farming company. Participants will sit at tables in the park beneath tents and heating lamps and learn to make pickles, cultivate mushrooms, carve pumpkins and make cranberry preserves. Once winter sets in, Ms. Sullivan hopes to be able to make better use of the indoor spaces. “I think it’s going to be a long winter,” she said.

At Quay Tower in Brooklyn Heights, after parents requested space for small group learning, management decided to set aside an 1,100-square-foot rooftop lounge and turn it into something of a one-room schoolhouse. If it turns out families need more space, children could also work in a second rooftop lounge, or take over part of the 1,500-square-foot children’s playroom, a music practice room, or even part of the lobby. “As we move into the cooler weather, we can offer more space as needed,” said Vince Cangelosi, the director of development for RAL Companies, the developer of Quay Tower.

Not every building, though, is so eager to turn its spaces into de facto schoolhouses. The developer of One Hundred Barclay, where Ms. Phillips lives, has taken a more hands-off approach to the situation. While management has been working with Ms. Phillips to accommodate her requests, it hasn’t decided to preemptively offer residents programs or set aside rooms for learning, and plans to approve requests on a case-by-case basis once the indoor lounges reopen within the next two weeks.

“I’m not creating an early childhood education center,” said Jordan Brill, a partner at Magnum Real Estate Group, which developed One Hundred Barclay with CIM Group. “I’m more than willing to support and encourage these activities, but this is a condo and I’m not an authority on education and educational programs.”

Mr. Brill expressed concern about liability, particularly for any pod that includes children who don’t live in the building. He also worried about balancing the needs of parents and residents who don’t have school-age children and may want to use the space for other purposes. “We’re not turning One Hundred Barclay into a school,” he said.

And yet, school may happen there anyway.

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