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Scholastic Right at Home on SoHo Broadway

SoHo Broadway Neighborhood

Founded in 1920 with the publication of a high school classroom magazine (“The Western Pennsylvania Scholastic”) by Maurice R. Robinson in his hometown of Wilkinsburg, PA, the Scholastic Corporation is now the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, a leading provider of core literacy curriculum and professional services, and a producer of educational and entertaining children’s media. Led by Richard Robinson (son of M. R. Robinson and Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic), Scholastic’s corporate world headquarters have been located right here on SoHo Broadway since 1993.

The rear facade of the Scholastic Building at 138 Mercer Street

The Scholastic Building, located at 557 Broadway near Prince Street, is the headquarters of the Scholastic Corporation. This 10-story building was completed in 2001 and was the first new building built in the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District since its designation as a landmarked historic district in 1973. Designed by Pritzker-Prize-winning architect Aldo Rossi to pay homage to SoHo’s rich architectural history, the building was largely well received by the design community as a new building that succeeds in being tastefully contextual, with columns on its Broadway façade that mirror those of its cast iron neighbors and industrial themes found on its rear façade that echo the manufacturing structures found in the neighborhood. The building was constructed using a “kit of parts,” much like the adjoining structures. Nineteenth century builders ordered SoHo’s cast iron facades through catalogs, which were delivered in parts and assembled on site.

Before it was the Scholastic Building, 557 Broadway was home to a one-story garage and lumberyard that stood on the 50-by-200-foot structure owned by the Blechman family. The Blechman family was in the wholesale dry goods business, dealing in hosiery and underwear in the early twentieth century, and also owned the Rouss Building next door at 555 Broadway, which is also now part of Scholastic’s SoHo Broadway headquarters.

At 557 Broadway, Scholastic is currently in the process of renovating the upper floor office spaces while also moving its lobby from Broadway to the Mercer Street side of the building.

Scholastic is a trusted partner to educators and families, publishing some of the most popular children’s books and properties of all time, including the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games trilogy, and beloved brands like The Magic School Bus®, Goosebumps™, and Clifford the Big Red Dog™. SoHo residents have likely been witness to Scholastic events in the neighborhood, like when Mercer Street was turned into “Harry Potter Place” in 2007, or when readers celebrated the 50th anniversary of Clifford the Big Red Dog with a large public event on the street in front of the building in 2013. Most recently, a “muggle mob” in 2016 celebrated the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child with an epic read-aloud on Broadway.

Yukie Ohta is founder of The SoHo Memory Project.

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