HOOK & LADDER 13, Yorkville

by Kevin Walsh

I was skulking through Yorkville this past spring in and out of the rain when I noticed this superannuated relic on East 87th just east of Lexington Avenue. It’s a tidy two-story brick building with lengthy arched windows and doors. Noting the sign above the entrance, I figured it was a movie prop or the real McCoy, and I’m happy to report that the latter is the case.

The newly organized Suburban Hook & Ladder Company #13 received this handsome department building, which opened on January 1, 1868. The company served Yorkville, but its firefighters were of considerable renown and were called to serve for fires in other parts of town, such as an explosion on Park Place, August 22, 1891.

The firehouse was built with mid-19th Century ornamentation such as scrolled keystones and chain motifs. By the end of the 1920s most of that had been stripped off and the firehouse took on the appearance it has today. However, at the roofline the firehouse appears as it was when it was constructed, with ornamentation remaining in place.

After about a century H&L 13 moved two blocks away to East 85th. In 1962, though, none other than Andy Warhol, just before making his name in the avant-garde art world, rented the second floor as a residence and studio. Thankfully, building owners have also touched up and repainted the sign over the door.

I don’t know what to tell you about the tailor shop next door, other than to say if it’s a freestanding building, it’s one of NYC’s smallest.



TJD November 20, 2014 - 11:30 pm

Did the tailor shop building replace the stable entrance for the horses ?

Tom B November 22, 2014 - 4:49 am

Very interesting history. The tailor shop is so small. Is there actually something smaller in Manhattan?
Do they Landmark buildings like this because of how old they are or how small they are?

TJD November 24, 2014 - 6:11 am

Greenwich Locksmiths (listed as the smallest ) is 125 sq. feet and freestanding, but I think the tailor is smaller

bree March 16, 2016 - 3:29 pm

Today, a for sale sign was erected. Anyone know if this spot is protected somehow? It would be a shame if it just became another pile of rubble and converted into another luxury glass tower

Ross rossiter December 29, 2017 - 6:41 am

Theres also a picture of andy warhol leaning out of an upstairs window at 13 hook & ladder

Robert July 30, 2020 - 12:22 pm

Update: As of today, July 31, 2020, this building is under major renovation. The facade is completely covered with scaffolding and the interior has been gutted and rebuilt.


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