Tag Archives: precinct house

Tenderloin Precinct

New York’s “Tenderloin” district, aka “Satan’s Circus,” demanded a police station that “look[s] like a police station” according to then-Police Commissioner William McAdoo. The result was the fortress-like Tenderloin Precinct (officially the 23rd Precinct) Station House. The precinct has been renamed (7th, 14th, Midtown South) and the building’s occupant is now the NYPD Traffic Control Division, but the building is as imposing as ever.

When the 23rd Precinct Station House was built, the neighborhood was known as the city’s most corrupt red light district. The “Tenderloin” name was coined by police Captain Alexander “Clubber” Williams, who bragged after being transferred to the precinct in 1876 that after living off of chuck steak, he would now get some of the tenderloin [graft]. Williams was forced out of the department in 1895 – reputedly a millionaire.

The original building plans, wrote Commissioner McAdoo, “…looked like a second-class apartment-house. It gave no suggestion of its official character, and the internal arrangements were more fanciful than practical.” The architect, R. Thomas Short, was in fact better known as a designer of apartment buildings. But Short redesigned the station house with guidance from McAdoo and a committee of veteran police officers.

The building got mixed reviews – some critics considered it a model station, others thought it overly dramatic. The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission gave the building landmark status Dec. 15, 1998.

R. Thomas Short was prolific, with many notable buildings to his credit, including Red House, Alwyn Court Apartments, and the Studio Building.

Tenderloin Precinct Vital Statistics
  • Location: 134 W 30th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues
  • Year completed: 1908
  • Architect: R. Thomas Short
  • Floors: 5
  • Style: Medieval Revival
  • New York City Landmark: 1998
Tenderloin Precinct Suggested Reading

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19th Precinct

The 19th Precinct Station House is the second of four late-1880s landmarks in a row on the north side of E 67th Street – and now actually joined to the third, a fire station house.*

The building was conceived in 1883 as the home of the 28th Precinct – which then covered the area from E 58th to E 79th Streets, from Central Park to the East River and Roosevelt Island (then known as Blackwell’s Island). By the time that construction was underway in 1886, the Precinct had been renumbered (25th) and its territory extended a block south to E 57th Street. The unit was renumbered again in 1908 (31st Precinct), 1924 (10A Precinct), and 1929 (19th Precinct).

The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission designated this (and three adjacent buildings) as landmarks in 1980, but the Board of Estimate overturned the designation for the Precinct and neighboring fire house. The city’s plan: Demolish and rebuild. (The separate jail, behind the station house, had been demolished in 1974.) An alternate plan was devised in 1990 that saved the fronts of the precinct and fire house, and built new rear portions that joined the two structures. The precinct now uses upper floors of the adjacent fire house (which originally had been used as NYFD headquarters).

*The four E 67th Street landmarks are: Mount Sinai Dispensary (now Kennedy Child Study Center) at 149; 19th (originally 25th) Police Precinct at 153; Engine Company 39/Ladder Company 16 Station House at 157; and Park East Synagogue, 163.

19th Precinct Vital Statistics
19th Precinct Recommended Reading

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