BY THE VILLAGE SUN | There’s still a swimming pool — though without any water in it — in the former Boys’ Club of New York building in the East Village.
The Joyce Theater Foundation recently signed a yearlong lease for the seven-story building, at the corner of Avenue A and 10th Street, in hopes of eventually being able to buy it. The pool, for one, is staying. In fact, the Joyce, which focuses on dance, does not plan — at least not for now — on making significant alterations to the building, according to a source close to the project.
In February, The New York Times reported the theater foundation had signed a one-year lease for use of the 50,000-square-foot building for rehearsal and studio spaces and small performances. The sale hinges on the Joyce raising $21 million to secure funding for the renovation’s first phase. A full renovation could cost up to $55 million and take three years.
The property was purchased in 2019 for $32 million by local hedgefunder / angel investor Aaron Sosnick, the head of La Vida Feliz Foundation, which supports philanthropy in the arts and education.
Basically, as told to The Village Sun, the plan is to preserve the building, which dates to the early 1900s, pretty much as is, keeping what’s there now, yet for it “to be conducive to art.”
As for the swimming pool, the plan is to preserve it as a functioning pool, which could be used for “hydro rehab” and swim lessons for dancers. Yet, it doesn’t sound like it will be open regularly to the community, like a YMCA pool — though potentially for outside classes or lessons. It’s not fully clear yet.
So far, the Joyce has made just a few modifications, such as adding sprung floors on top of existing surfaces on the building’s first two stories — including the basketball court — to create half a dozen dance studios. Dance companies are currently using these spaces, which are reportedly “all booked up.”
Right now, the former Boys’ Club is only being used for dance rehearsals. But the thinking is that parts of it — such as, possibly, the basketball court — will eventually become performance venues, too.
At the behest of a Joyce Theatre official, Steven Hirsch, a tabloid photographer who is renting space for a painting studio in the building, recently documented the place’s interior. He shared the photos with The Village Sun.