Photographer and writer: FNY correspondent Gary Fonville

As with many courthouses around the city , in use or abandoned, many former precincts are still standing. The buildings shown below were built to be very durable. Most were built in the late 1800s. Most of them date to horse and buggy days, since a few still have the horse stables next to them. Unlike today’s utilitarian precincts they were built with many distinctive architectural features. They were built with stained glass, terra cotta, ironwork and even brownstone.

Even though they are former precincts, many have been recycled for other uses – from a super luxury apartment building to offices for community groups. One was even made into a church. Hopefully there will be uses for the abandoned ones!


Former 19th (then 87th) Precinct building, Humboldt and 43 Herbert Streets, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, constructed about 1890 in Romanseque Revival and designed by architect George Ingram.


Stable house in rear of the 87th; hoist, not readily visible, is directly above upper door to facilitate lifting of hay for storage.


Renaissance Revival former 50th Precinct, Kingsbridge Terrace and Summit Place, Bronx, now Kingsbridge Heights Community Center. This is a designated NYC Landmark.


Former 32nd Precinct, now African Methodist Church Self-Help Program, 1854 Amsterdam Avenue and West 152nd Street, Hamilton Heights, designed 1871 by Nathaniel Bush

65th (then 73rd) Precinct, East New York and Rockaway Avenues, Brownsville, Brooklyn

The former 75th Precinct building, a small fortress on Liberty and Miller Avenues in East New York, served a second stint beginning in the 70s as the People’s First Baptist Church (when it probably acquired its stained glass in the windows). But the church also had several gargoyles and green men – pagan symbols anathema to a Christian church. It is presently unoccupied; can it survive much longer? In any other neighborhood, it would have been condo-ized already.

Centre and Grand Streets, Soho: originally NYC Police Department Headquarters. Currently a super-luxury apartment building called Police Building Apartments, it was designed by Hoppin & Krohn and completed in 1909 just as the Beaux Arts movement was beginning to wind down and modernism was around the corner. The lions in front look rather more fierce than the two at the New York Public Library – as befits Police HQ. It was converted to luxury use in 1988, a very early harbinger of the luxe trend that would take hold in Soho in the following decade. Note how it fits into the tight rectangle defined by Centre, Grand and Broome Streets and Centre Market Place.

Till recently, Centre Market Place, in back of the building, always had a gun dealer (John Jovino, the most recent one, has relocated.


The ex-1st Precinct on Old Slip in the Wall Street area, completed in 1911, is now the NYC Police Department Museum.


Former 34th Precinct building, Wadsworth Avenue and West 182nd Street in Washington Heights.

47th Precinct, White Plains Road and West 229th Street in Wakefield, Bronx; photos: Don Gilligan


Vernon and Tompkins Avenues, Traffic Unit F, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn


Grand Avenue and Park Place, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, complete with old stable and giant ironworked window on the Park Place side.


Old 114th Precinct, 30th Avenue between 23rd and Crescent, Astoria, Queens, built 1890; now the Hellenic American Neighborhood Action Committee


The sadly neglected old 18th Precinct (older 68th), 4th Avenue and 43rd Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, completed in 1905 by Raymond Almirall. Also a former music school. With the big money revivals going on in Red Hook and Cobble Hill, will the party reach Sunset Park? Perhaps then this building’s fortunes will be reversed.


Former 83rd Precinct, Wilson and DeKalb Avenues, Bushwick. Now the North Brooklyn Task Force. photo: Jay

Former 90th Precinct, Division and Lee Avenues, South Williamsburg, Brooklyn photo: Jay

Former 78, Brooklyn Central booking, Flatbush and 6th Avenues, Park Slope. photo: Jay

All images this page © Gary Fonville 2006 except where noted. Photographed spring and summer 2006; page composed August 5, 2006.

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  1. Bill Fleming says:

    worked out of the Old 34 in 1984, originally built as the 42nd Precinct

    • Joe Denicola says:

      I spent 9 years in the 83 Pct . The photo brings back a lot of memories. For instance, in the Commanding Officer’s office there is a beautiful Mahogany door that is contoured to the circular tower observed from the outside of the building.Behind the door is a circular steel staircase that goes to the very top of the tower . From there you can see the boundaries of the Precinct..
      This was my first command. From Dec 1st,1965 to August 19th 1974.. After being promoted to Detective and transferred to Manhattan’s 10 Precinct Detective Unit. I never went back to the 83, not even for a visit..

  2. James E. McKie says:

    Love your site!

    Wondering if you’ve ever seen a photo of Willamsburgh’s old 60th Precinct station house. It was located on the intersection of Bedford Ave. and N. 1st Street (NW corner).


  3. Joe Amato says:


    I’m looking for a photo of what might have been the 25th or 29th precinct in 1914. It was on east 126th Street. It has been demolished. I believe it was designed by Nathaniel Bush.


  4. joseph salerno says:

    What happened to the old 23 Pct stationhouse on E. 104 St. Manhattan? I left there in 1969.

  5. Henry Fieldsa says:

    Nice web site. Does anyone have a photo of the old 81 Pct, Ralph Ave. & Quincey St.
    The parking lot of the new 81 Pct. is where the old Pct. stood and was replaced in 1973.
    I spent 11 years at the 81st. (1969 to 1980)


  6. Joseph Crocitto says:

    Re: Grand Ave & Park Place. I worked at the precinct in the late 60’s The command was the 80 Pct. The area is also referred to as Crown Heights. The old stable was later taken over by the Bomb Sqd.

  7. john says:

    does anyone know the precinct number of the stationhouse located at liberty and miller avenue in Brooklyn circa 1940?

  8. Henry Fieldsa says:

    Spent 11 years in the 81 pct. looking for photos of the OLD 81 pct prior
    to the new 81 which opened 1973. The old 81 was where the parking lot
    is now for the new 81 .

    • Tom Byrne says:

      No photos, but my father was at the 81 from about 1966-1979. I would love to see photos, too. I remember visiting the old and new station house and seeing the aftermath of the ’77 riots.

  9. Ada P Mayfield says:

    I was one of the first Auxiliary Policewomen at the 90 in the early 1970’s. Wow!!!! has things changed. I also remember taking the police exam, passing – but my darling mother objected to me becoming a full uniform Police Officer.

  10. Dovid Gross says:

    The 87th retains two connections to the NYPD, even post-conversion to condos. First, the name of the building is, “The Old Precinct.” Second, the back of the building, visible from the Gowanus, is painted as a recruiting billboard. The painted advertisement lives on in New York!

  11. Pamela Petersen says:

    We have a great, great grandfather who we believe was in the NYC police.. the photo of him shows him wearing a hat with insignia in the center front. Inside the insignia is either 888 or BBB. Does anyone have any idea what this stands for?

  12. Robert Spisa says:

    Does anybody remember that sandwich shop next to the 73 eastern/rockaway around 1985? The name eluded me,

  13. Barbara Schlereth says:

    was Midtown South ever the 35th precinct? Was there ever a 35th district?

  14. Rita says:

    Such an interesting history! Do you have any photo’s or information on the precinct that was on west 68th street? I lived next door when I was a child at 148 w.68th and vividly remember watching through the window as the officers lined up outside, I’m assuming it was an inspection. I really looked forward to that ritual. Memories!
    Thanks so much

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