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Far Rockaway fire house, police station approved for landmark status

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A fire house and a police station both built in Far Rockaway in the early 20th century have officially been approved for landmark status following a unanimous 47-0 vote last week, according to City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton).

After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, much of Far Rockaway was in need of redevelopment and surveyors from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission researched the history of buildings in the area.

In 2017, Far Rockaway was rezoned and the 101st Precinct — formerly the 53rd Precinct — and the Engine Companies 264 & 328/Ladder 134 were seen as worthy for designation, according to the councilman’s office and the LPC.

“They carry history and have housed some of our most precious civil servants,” Richards said. “These sites will carry on the character that was set when the modern version of our community was first being shaped.”

The precinct — located at 16-12 Mott Ave. — and the fire station — located at 16-15 Central Ave. — publicly came under consideration as landmarks in March and the LPC held a hearing with members of the community in Manhattan one month later.

The precinct is a combination of the Renaissance and Colonial Revival styles and was designed by the Police Department’s Superintendent of Buildings Thomas O’Brien, according to the LPC. It was built from 1927 to 1928. Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was a police superintendent at the department from 1895 to 1897.

The police station features a Renaissance palazzo, while the ground story has arch openings and a terra cotta cornice. The main entrance has original bronze lamps below a carved tablet containing the city’s seal.

The second floor of the precinct has a Dutch/English cross bond from the Colonial Revival style. A one-story garage was made in granite and terracotta facing Mott Avenue.

Five minutes away from the police station is the Renaissance Revival-styled firehouse — locally referred to as “The Big House” — that was built from 1911 to 1913 by architectural firm Hoppin & Koen.

Frances Hoppin and Terrence Koen designed the three-structure firehouse with limestone at the ground floor, three segmental-arched vehicle bays, red brick cladding on the upper stories, a cast stone entablature and a brick parapet, according to the LPC.

After Far Rockaway was absorbed into New York City in 1898, the Rockaway Peninsula became a commercial center and experienced a surge in population growth, resulting in the creation of the two structures for emergency situations.

“They will help keep the classic feel of the neighborhood as much of the area changes,” Richards said. “These sites should be protected and celebrated.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

Posted 12:00 am, September 21, 2018
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