Tuesday, October 21, 2008

575 Fifth Avenue: Urban Archeology

In 1912, the 144th Precinct Police Station House
was located at 575 Fifth Avenue.

Urban Archeology 101: "I Did Not Know That."

575 Fifth Avenue Affordable Housing.

Recent excavation has revealed the remains of an old stacked rubble-stone foundation built along the 16th street side of the construction site. This type of foundation wall is typical of many of the rowhouses in this area built around the late 1890's-early 1900's.

What's before, before.
I never really gave it much thought as to what existed before the municipal parking lot until I peeked through a hole in the construction fence and saw that old foundation. Obviously something had been built on the land before, but what? It certainly couldn't have been anything of note if it was torn down to make way for off street parking, of all things.

www.policeny.com just might have the answer as to what was there before.

Above is an old 1912 photograph of what is described as the 144th Precinct Police Station House on Fifth Avenue and Sixteenth Street. According to the www.policeny.com web site,
"between 1870 and 1929 there was to be four general renumbering of police precincts, and a number of minor renumbering. Since 1929 precinct numbers remained constant, but the boundaries and station house locations may have changed".
In 1924, the Police Station House at 575 Fifth Avenue was referred to as being in the 78th Precinct. Just a few years later, it was being called the 32nd Precinct, and then in 1929, the House was located in the 72nd Precinct.

A weird DoB side note-> Today's 72nd Precinct Station House is located at 830 Fourth Avenue in Sunset Park, but back in 1930, the land beneath their current home was most likely being used as a miniature golf coarse.

For those of you who are NYC Police fanatics, a tremendous collection of historic photographs awaits you at: www.policeny.com.

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