New York magazine
Brooklyn School Kids Education Image Credit: New York magazine
Brooklyn School Kids Education Image Credit: New York magazine

A Brooklyn Heights Preschool Is Locked In Parent-Teacher Drama

What happened when the oldest nursery school in Brooklyn decided to become a little less old-fashioned?

Jessica Pressler

When you buy a home in Brooklyn Heights, you aren’t just purchasing real estate. The stately townhomes and converted carriage houses, with their window boxes of Algerian ivy winking over splendidly preserved original details—the Grecian columns, the soaring Romanesque windows offering a glimpse of curated furniture— connote a certain level of not just wealth and taste but respectability. These are houses not just for people who have money, but people who have values.

From the 19th-century sea captains with their “great broods of future bankers and fashionable brides,” as Truman Capote put it in his famous essay “A House on the Heights,” to the “urban, ambitious young couples” that came after, the neighborhood has always drawn families. “It’s a good place to raise children,” as Capote said.

Capote, of course, didn’t have children, though if he had, they would likely have attended the Grace Church School on Hicks Street and Grace Court. Adjacent to the Episcopal church, a Richard Upjohn–designed neo-Gothic structure, it contains what is known as “the oldest preschool in Brooklyn.” And until recently, for as long as anyone in the neighborhood could remember, the school was run by Hope Prosky, who was something of an original fixture herself. Over the course of her 37-year tenure, Prosky helped generations of children to “expand the cocoon of the


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