The most beautiful police station in Manhattan

The old NYPD headquarters on Centre Street is pretty spectacular. And I’m a fan of the understated elegance of the Fifth Precinct on Elizabeth Street.

But when it comes to regular precinct houses, I have to go with the 19th precinct station at 153 East 67th Street (between Lexington and Third Avenues) as the loveliest in New York City.

Completed in 1887, it’s a blended confection of different late 19th century styles. The AIA Guide describes it as a “Victorian palazzo: brownstone and red brick borrowing heavily from the Florentine Renaissance. The rusticated base supports a mannered Victorian body.”

It’s not the only piece of Gilded Age eye candy on the block. On its left is the former Mt. Sinai Dispensary; on the right is a firehouse designed by preeminent architect Napoleon Le Brun in 1886. On the other side of the firehouse is the Park East Synagogue, dating back to 1890. “A wild, vigorous extravaganza,” the AIA Guide calls it.

The police station has one extra wonderful touch: the green lanterns on either side of the entrance, a nod all city police stations have to acknowledge the early police force in New Amsterdam that kept watch on the streets with a green lantern on a pole guiding the way.

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22 Responses to “The most beautiful police station in Manhattan”

  1. boxwoodbooks Says:

    fascinating to lear about the significance of the green lantern

  2. Tom Dulski Says:

    Is this the “Barney Miller” precinct?

  3. Shayne Davidson Says:

    In my mind’s eye I see policemen in dark blue coats dragging handcuffed, swearing toughs in derbies past those marvelous green lanterns!

  4. newportcarl (@newportcarl) Says:

    Also, the origin of the name of the cartoon character

  5. Namreb Says:

    Inspector Cramer (no first name) works at the “Homicide Squad” office on 20th Street

  6. Donal Farley Says:

    In conjunction with the 1980s construction of the two Hunter College towers, the 19th pct and fire house switched buildings. The fire house was temporarily relocated to the loading dock of the then under- construction Hunter building on the west side of Lexington Ave. The old firehouse was renovated to become the new 19th pct and the then vacated police facility was renovated to become the new firehouse.

  7. boxwoodbooks Says:

    Just so. Coincidently I read yesterday that there’s a plaque to Rex Stout on a brownstone on W35th Street. A possible subject for Ephemeral New York?

    • Namreb Says:

      Judging by the house numbers used in the Nero Wolfe books (it is actually about 5 different house numbers in the various books, all theoretically on the south side of 35 St), the brownstone would be in the Hudson River. This is very common in popular culture where an exact address is used but it is designed to make sure it couldn’t exist (go back to I Love Lucy).

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      Thanks for the tip! Clearly this is a topic that’s resonated with readers, so I will look into it for a future post.

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