Why Chelsea? Why Bayview?

Formally decommissioned in 2013 after damages sustained from Hurricane Sandy, future plans for the notorious Bayview Correctional Facility show what can happen when a vacant prison is re-purposed in a way that benefits the community. Once a notorious site of abuse and mistreatment, Bayview is being reclaimed as The Women’s Building. The building and adjacent annex, in a collaborative restoration and redevelopment between the NoVo Foundation and the Goren Group, will soon serve as a site for fostering justice and equality for women and girls, and will also provide services and resources for the women’s movement and local community.

Bayview, located at 550 W 20th St in Manhattan’s Chelsea district, has had many names and purposes since it’s construction in 1931. In its relatively short history, Bayview’s role in its community has transitioned from a YMCA for merchant sailors, to a drug rehabilitation center, to a men’s work release correctional facility, to a women’s medium-security prison, to a future hub for community services and human rights. We are excited to be following the progress of the NoVo Foundation, Goren Group, New York State Historic Preservation Office, and others who may be involved with this redevelopment.

The Prison Public Memory Project has chosen to study each of Bayview’s former capacities and how they have affected the many lives of those who have resided there — whether by choice or incarceration — as well as those in the surrounding community. This work will also contain updates on the development of the Women’s Building that will affect the future of that community; such as collaborations, design choices, development and progress, and more. Further, the former prison’s unique location in an area of heavy gentrification and what that means for the Women’s Building’s financial sustainability and its future tenants will also be considered.

Join us as we delve into that history and follow its transformation as it becomes the Women’s Building! Keep up to date with our posts by “liking” us on Facebook.

If you have information or ideas you’d like to share with us regarding the building’s past or if you spent time at Bayview between 1931 to 2012, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to send us a note on our Contact page.