ENGINE 237, East Williamsburg

by Kevin Walsh

Remember the stories you read about the 49er goldpanners sifting gold nuggets out of rubble? I suspect not as much gold was found that way as the stories would have you believe. I sort of do this with the FNY camera (a Panasonic Lumix, if you need to know). I was in a neighborhood recently I don’t often invade, East Williamsburg. Rumor has it is gentrifying and its rough edges will be sanded off in the upcoming years. I suspect Engine 237, on Morgan Avenue between Grattan Street and Harrison Place, will remain standing indefinitely — there are always fires to put out.

I’d do more FNY pages on firehouses, since no two seem to be the same and since most were built in the early part of the 20th Century, architecturally interesting. The Fire Department of New York has a website entry on all engines and H&Ls (here is Engine 237’s page), but seems to be resolute about not talking about the buildings or architects, preferring instead to concentrate on the important work conducted from them. However, the basics can be seen on those pages. Engine 37 was established in the Brooklyn Fire Department in 1895, became part of FDNY in 1898, and was renamed Engine 237 in 1913.


Especially in northern Brooklyn, many firehouses bear evidence of their former membership in the BFD. Engine 237 has this marvelous concrete trigraph with the most amazing letter “B” you’ll find anywhere. I challenge designers to run up a typeface based on these three letters.

The BFD was established in 1869 and continued until 1898, when Brooklyn became part of Greater New York and the BFD was absorbed into the FDNY. 

“Comment as you see fit” kevinjudewalsh@gmail.com



Joe Gabriel April 8, 2020 - 6:25 pm

Remembering LT. Rich Nappi this April 16. A very good friend.

Steve Williams February 20, 2021 - 5:53 pm

Going through some personal family stuff and found my grandfathers FDNY 20 year ring. Served engine 237 1934-1954 LT Frederick George Williams. My dads 2 brothers followed their Dad. Robert Williams retired a Batakkion Chief. LT Thomas Williams lost his life fighting a fire with Rescue 4 in 1992. God Bless all who serve.


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