C’mon… you know we had to. 4 years ago, this firehouse (as well as a few others) was shut down by a city government bent on saving as much cash as it could. I knew immediately that I’d have to find my way into at least one of them, permission be damned.
FDNY Engine 212 was called ‘The People’s Firehouse”. In the 1970s, the city tried to close it. Protesters prevented the city from removing the truck. All was well for many years until Businessman-turned-mayor Bloomberg bought himself the job of NYC Mayor. (there were protests in 2003, they just didn’t succeed nor were they as robust as in the past).
The fire fighters that worked out of this house were all reassigned. Their truck was sent to cover Governors Island – a small island in the NYC harbor that has zero population.
What would be still more insulting would be if the city had sold the house to developers. This has not happened yet. The prevailing expectation is that it will be sold to or rented to a non-profit group that will find some sort of community use for the building. This process, of choosing a group and ironing out the details is expected to take some time though.
And during that time, the building sits empty. And not just empty, but facing some wear and tear from the elements and time. Hopefully it won’t fall into complete disrepair.
Update: April, 2015. The building was saved and given to local non-profit groups for community use. Fund raising to preserve and convert the structure began in 2009. Currently over $1.6M have been raised, though it doesn’t seem work has begun. It is at least encouraging to know that something great may yet come of this space. Check out ‘Northside Town Hall’ for updates.