Saturday, August 24, 2013

Polish Legion of American Veterans (PLAV)

Polish Legion of American Veterans, Greenpoint
August 2013
The now empty Polish Legion of American Veterans, or PLAV Building at 533 Leonard Street is currently under renovation. The Italianate style building was constructed between 1886 and 1888 as an elementary school (PS 59 The Horace Greely School) but eventually the building was sold to the Polish Legion of American Veterans in 1947. More recently the building was sold by the Polish Legion of American Veterans to a developer and it is about to undergo a transformation into a 16 unit condo building. The new building will be a hybrid building with a modern structure bisecting the historic architecture. A model of the proposed renovation can be found by clicking on the 533 Leonard rollover link located here: MDIM architecture

The adaptive reuse of historic buildings is often necessary for the buildings to maintain market viability. However, in the case of the PLAV building, the proposed design dominates the historic structure it traverses even though the original facade is supposed to be the intended focal point. Hopefully the finished modern portion of the structure will be muted enough that it does not compete with the original building's architecture.

PLAV Missing Pediment

Some time during the building's history the original cornice and pediment were removed and replaced with the gutter and discolored pink stucco seen here.

Roof of PLAV (photo source: Clare Z)
Main Entrance to PLAV

South Side of PLAV

North Side of PLAV


  1. It was founded a long days ago. It is still bearing the great memories of the veterans. I like to go there recently from healing heroes official tour.

  2. Have you seen the rendering in front of the building? It's obscene.

  3. I went to see the current rendering last week. I am not a fan but my feelings for the new design are mixed. I think the louvers that align with the PLAV's facade are distracting to the historic structure and the design of the new building seems bulky, with a heavy geometric look to it. Personally, I think they should have designed the new structure to visually fade into the background more. However, one only has to look to the east end of McCarren Park to know it could be worse. We can also be thankful that this part of Greenpoint isn't zoned for high-rises.