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City honors Rockaway site

TimesLedger Newspapers

The red brick facade of Engine Co. 268/Hook & Ladder 137 has watched over the Rockaway Peninsula for 100 years, keeping residents safe on both land and at sea.

Now the building, at 259 Beach 116th St. in Rockaway Park, is guaranteed a spot in history as it was one of five city firehouses given landmark status by the city Landmarks Preservation Commission this week.

“This firehouse stands out not only for its architecture, but also for the extraordinary service it has provided to the Rockaway Peninsula and beyond during its 100-year history,” said LPC Chairman Robert Tierney.

In the early 1900s, improved transportation in the city provided greater access to the peninsula from the mainland. And as the population of the Rockaways grew, so did the need for trained firemen stationed close enough to jump into action. In addition to the typical rescue units of firehouses, the Rockaway station has the unique distinction of also employing a surf rescue team responding to distress calls from boaters and swimmers.

The Rockaway Park firehouse was completed in 1913, built to the designs of Brooklyn architect Frank J. Helmle, who was also responsible for other city landmarks, including the Boathouse and the Tennis House in Prospect Park.

According to the landmarks commission, Engine Co. 268 combines elements of Colonial Revival and Arts & Crafts styles, two popular early-20th century architectural styles. The building’s Colonial Revival style elements include a red brick facade, an arched loggia and a projecting cornice, while the Arts & Crafts elements include the overall simplicity of the building’s design, a diamond brick pattern at the projecting brick piers, a stepped parapet wall and ceramic shields.

The other newly landmarked firehouses include Engine Co. 228, at 436 39th St. in Sunset Park, Brooklyn; Engine Co. 240/Battalion 48, at 1307-09 Prospect Ave. in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn; Engine Co. 46/Hook & Ladder 17, at 451-53 E. 176th St. in Bathgate, the Bronx; and Engine Co. 73/Hook & Ladder 42, at 655-59 and 661 Prospect Ave. in Longwood, the Bronx.

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said these landmark distinctions do more than honor the builders of the firehouses – they also honor every one of New York’s Bravest who have answered the call of duty.

“FDNY firehouses are important symbols of bravery, safety and service in the communities they protect,” said Cassano. “With these latest landmark designations, the Landmarks Preservation Commission has not only recognized the beautiful architecture and rich histories of these firehouses, they’ve also paid tribute to every FDNY firefighter who has called them home for more than a century.”

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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