240 WEST 30th STREET, Penn Station area

240 West 30th Street is the oldest building on the block between 7th and 8th Avenue other than the 1872 St. John the Baptist Church. It was constructed in 1894 as Fire Patrol #1, later #3, in operation from 1895-2006. There are many secrets here: a 2-story stable in the rear housed horses that pulled fire engines; check the ornamental pediments and windows, different on every floor.


It was constructed by the NY Board of Fire Underwriters and is a survivor of a time before all of NYC’s firehouses were under the supervision of the FDNY. Inside is a section of the building’s original fire pole.

The building’s original stepped gable roof has since been removed. Two medallions on the 4th floor, emblazoned “F” and “P,” stand for “Fire Patrol.”

As always, Daytonian in Manhattan, written by a former NYPD officer, fleshes out the whole story.


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3 Responses to 240 WEST 30th STREET, Penn Station area

  1. TheNewYorkNostalgist says:

    This building is called Black Ocean. I was working in this building for a while and was super depressed when the company I worked for moved up the street to 34th. This place was absolutely wonderful. I’m not so sure about the management that owns this place now, though, and I can’t really have anything positive to say on that end because they really tried to screw people over. From what I understand, they have people sign ambiguous contracts that charge people by chair/head, but then have no problem selling your space/(chairs?) to other companies that are willing to pay more. Typical tenant/landlord drama, in other words, but with very limited space to play with. But at least that’s what I was told by the person I use to work for, I don’t know if the person who told me that didn’t also bring some of the drama upon themselves. It’s a beautiful building, though, and they’ve done an amazing job with restoring it. They rent it out to startups mostly.

  2. Michael keit says:

    The fire patrol didn’t fight fires-they prevented water damage on floors below fires by covering areas with tarps, pumping out flooded basements, after the Firemen left. Many of the patrolmen-in later years were wannabe firemen hoping for admission to the Fire Academy.

  3. Robert Brennan says:

    Great building. If my memory is correct, the Fire Patrol was funded by the insurance industry to minimize damage caused by fire and fire fighting. It was independent of FDNY.

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