FORMER STATIONHOUSES

by Kevin Walsh

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.

39 comments

Bill Fleming September 20, 2012 - 10:08 am

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

Reply
Joe Denicola October 31, 2013 - 5:46 am

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..

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Bob Dezendorf January 20, 2016 - 7:51 pm

I remember you. I think your partner was Mertens in the 83.

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James E. McKie May 22, 2013 - 10:37 am

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).

Thanks,
Jim

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Charles March 28, 2018 - 2:07 pm

That was the location of 92pct
As I remember

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Joe Amato June 1, 2013 - 4:18 pm

Hi

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.

Thanks

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P Gavan November 1, 2014 - 6:11 pm

I have an illustration of this police station at 146-148 126th Street — it was constructed by Nathanial Bush in 1870 and was originally the 12th Precinct, later the 29th. You can see this illustration in a story I recently wrote about 2 cats bequeathed to President Roosevelt (detectives from the 29th responded to a suicide in this story). The illustration is about halfway down:
http://frenchhatchingcat.com/2014/10/26/lulu-grover-harlem-cats-president-roosevelt/

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joseph salerno November 2, 2013 - 10:29 am

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

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Henry Fieldsa November 4, 2013 - 3:22 pm

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)

Henry

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Joseph Crocitto November 7, 2013 - 12:50 pm

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.

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john May 3, 2015 - 5:18 pm

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

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Anonymous October 15, 2018 - 2:39 pm

75 pct

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Mike Hanson October 28, 2018 - 9:37 pm

The old 75 Pct.

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Henry Fieldsa August 22, 2015 - 1:35 pm

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 .

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Tom Byrne April 6, 2016 - 9:37 pm

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.

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Henry Fieldsa May 22, 2020 - 4:10 pm

Hi Tom
I have a roster dated 1971 and I see your father was in the 6th
squad. Send me your email and I will send you a copy
My email – csudet@verizon.net

Reply
Ada P Mayfield February 14, 2018 - 3:57 pm

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.

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Harry Wacke June 5, 2018 - 9:10 pm

Do you remember who the BNA Community Affairs officer were ?

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Dovid Gross June 4, 2018 - 2:08 pm

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!

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Pamela Petersen August 3, 2018 - 7:21 pm

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?

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Barry Raboy January 17, 2019 - 11:10 pm

Its most likely his shield (badge) number but would have to see the picture to 100% sure

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Robert Spisa August 21, 2018 - 8:26 am

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

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Bob October 25, 2018 - 12:20 pm

Robert Spisa: are you any relation to a Robert Spisa (with the FDNY) and Sara Spisa from Woodside?

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Barbara Schlereth November 7, 2018 - 8:13 pm

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

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Richard Flaherty December 4, 2019 - 8:29 pm

There was a 35 PCT. it was located 32 E. 88th St. in Manhattan. It was abolished in 1922. If you notice the police station south of that command was and still is located at E. 67th St.—( Today’s 19 PCT ) The 19 PCT back in 1922 was numbered as the 31 PCT. The other police station north of the old 35 precinct on East 88 is located at E. 102nd St. (formally E. 104th St. ) —(Today’s 23 PCT). Back in 1922 this precinct was numbered as the 39 PCT .
. The police department was planning on re-opening the E. 88th St. station house and for unknown reasons it never got re-established. Now if I could add to this during the year 1929 the police department came out with a modern day numbering system which we have today. So this former command on E. 88th St. would’ve been numbered as the 21 PCT. For reasons unknown the police department never reopened this command. According to the 1926 NYPD annual reports they were planning on which is why in my opinion the number 21 was reserved that’s why the police precincts jump from 19, to 23.

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Rita November 15, 2018 - 2:06 am

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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Henry May 19, 2019 - 8:39 pm

I believe that was the 20th police pct. I lived on West 83 street ant the 20th pct covered that location up to 86 street

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Henrt May 19, 2019 - 8:47 pm

That was the 20th pct
The new station house is now on west 82 street

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Anonymous April 30, 2019 - 12:59 pm

The 78 Precinct is still being used today, Brooklyn Central Bookings is in Downtown, Brooklyn.

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annon June 11, 2019 - 10:18 am

the old 90 was on lee ave. and clymer st, not division. The building next door was the Eastern District Hq/Telegraph Building for the Brooklyn Fire Department, before the “Great Mistake of 1898”.

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Anonymous November 17, 2019 - 8:20 pm

Did anyone reading this work in the 80 pct from 1957 to 1966?…or Bklyn Communications unit on 6Ave & Bergen St (78 pct).. or the Communications Bureau in the old Centre St HQ ?
Tough remembering names for me now! ..but cant forget old Patty Burke and his deli on Prospect and Claussen..(he was there at the 80 pcts pre1900 opening ceremony !). When I left the 80 there were still ’40’s steel air raid helmets and dozens of kerosene lanterns in the basement.

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Ralph Gerchak November 25, 2019 - 11:02 am

What happens??? No old 28 on W.123rd St.

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George December 10, 2019 - 8:39 pm

Anyone know when the current 90th Precinct building was constructed?

Thanks for your help.

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Rich Gonzalez January 25, 2020 - 3:28 am

Does anyone know Police Officer Vincent Walker from the 83 in Brooklyn I was a auxiliary officer in the 70’s And he was the coordinator for that precinct
I always wonder what ever happened to him he was a great guy
I joined the army in 1980 and never went back did 30 years and retired
I have great memories of the 83rd

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GEORGE NOLDE August 8, 2020 - 9:37 am

I worked with Brendan during his time in the old81

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Brian Carroll September 20, 2020 - 11:14 am

My Grandfather was appointed on December 18, 1899. His rank was Doorsman and was assigned to the 61 Pct. Does anyone know where the 61 pct was in 1899. He lived in the Bronx and its hard to believe he commuted from the bronx to south Brooklyn back then. I have a copy of his 10 card but it does not list the addresses of the commands. I have a photo of him in uniform with the high hat.
Can any one help. I tried to google it. NG

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Retired October 20, 2020 - 3:32 pm

78pct is still the 78pct & was the 10pct of the Brooklyn Police Dept same location different building. It then became the 144 pct I
Think of the NYPD & then when the building in the photo was
Built in 1925 as the 42pct / Brooklyn Head Quarters/communications/ Property clerk/ admin Court & other stuff. It became the 78pct in 1929 or early thirties not exactly sure. The 6ave side was the pct entrance. the Bergen street side was the HQ entrance. The Big Brass Plack hanging on the wall behind the desk still says brooklyn Headquarters 42nd Pct erected 1925. There was still an air raid box on the wall behind the Desk & a old gas light fixture on the wall on the right side of the desk .The old communications on the 4th floor with conveyor elf & black phones with red lights on top of them with a call box on the wall & old 1962 Brooklyn pct map with some pcts that don’t exist anymore was still their in the 90’s along with the old court room old cells & giant antenna on the roof & two old elevators one being an old manual operated one

& the old property room & green & white paint on the walls until the pct was renovated in the late 90’s or early 200’s can’t remember exactly. The court room,air raid box & gas fixture old & cells & Property room are still their I think

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Retired October 20, 2020 - 3:43 pm

It ceased being Head quarters communications & property clerk sometime in the 1960’s

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Retired October 20, 2020 - 3:47 pm

The 78 pctI ceased being Head quarters communications & property clerk sometime in the 1960’s

Reply

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