About Us » A Brief History of NYISE

A Brief History of NYISE

In the early 19th Century, several social activists understood the need to provide opportunities for individuals who were blind. As a result of their efforts, The New York Institution for the Blind was incorporated in 1831. The school held the first class for children who were blind in the United States when it opened its doors over 190 years ago on March 15, 1832.
Our school began in a single-row home in Lower Manhattan and later moved to 9th Avenue and 34th Street. Nearly 100 years later, we opened in our present location on Pelham Parkway in the Bronx in 1924. Before the move, it had been renamed The New York Institute for the Education of the Blind.
In 1986, the Institute reaffirmed its mission of service to children and changed its charter to accept not only children with visual impairments but also children with emotional/learning needs and preschool children with developmental disabilities.

Now known as The New York Institute for Special Education, we offer programs to children ages 3 to 21 from the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island, Westchester, and counties in Upstate New York.
Today our campus includes:
  • 3 classroom buildings, 1 of which houses the administration offices, library, and auditorium.
  • 3 dormitories provide residential programs for students during the week.
  • Gymnasium with a fitness room and indoor track 
  • Swimming pool, bowling alley, recreation room, and accessible playground.
  • More than 17 acres of spacious, well-cared-for grounds for student's play, relaxation, and socialization.