One man has made it his mission to recreate his elementary school classroom in his Upper East Side apartment. Whatever keeps 'em off the streets! Martin Raskin, class of '55 at P.S. 202 in East New York, has been collecting desks, doorknobs, books, class photos and much more as an homage to the old New York City Board of Education. And he freely admits to the Times that he is a bit obsessed. "I’m not embarrassed about it. I’m comfortable with it.”
His most interesting find has to be a splinter which P.S. 202 founder and principal Charles G. Eichel removed from his rear in 1942. “He was an idol in East New York,” says Raskin of Eichel, who died in 1976. Eichel had seen it fit to keep the specimen in an envelope in the East New York Savings Bank, labeled "File Accident Reports." On it read the note “Sat down in my office chair — 258 — splinter entered my buttocks — cleaned it with yellow soap and applied iodine.”
Raskin has also used his collecting skills for the benefit of others, arranging class reunions and pilgrimages to the school for former teachers. P.S. 202 is currently home to 954 students, and apparently a few returning alum. Principal Pauline Smith-Gayle said, "We’ve had people come after many years to see the building again and say hi—it’s a good thing."