New York Architecture Images- Lower Manhattan



Joseph and Richard Hunt


Old Slip, between Front and South Streets.




Renaissance Revival


rusticated granite walls







New York's first modern police station, this monumental building has the fortress-like rusticated granite walls, diminishing floor heights, evenly spaced windows and hierarchical, symmetrical composition of a Renaissance palazzo. Built 60 years after India House, this sophisticated interpretation of an Italian Renaissance palazzo is the work of architects who had direct access to the buildings they copied.

The building at 100 Old Slip was built in 1909-11 and designed by the notable architectural firm of Hunt & Hunt. This building was constructed as the new home for the First Precinct. It was considered a model police facility when built and chiefs of police throughout the country visited the new stationhouse looking to copy some of its features in their own new buildings. This building replaced another stationhouse built on the exact same spot in 1884, in fact the new stationhouse used the same foundation as the building it replaced. The 1884 stationhouse was constructed  on the site of the former Franklin Market.

It was built  in the Neo-Italian Renaissance style. Its visual power was created by a rhythmic series of tall arches, heavy rusticated walls and restrained ornamentation. The building's distinctive profile with its dominating cornice is reminiscent of the Palazzo Riccardi in Florence.

The 1st Precinct was housed here until 1973, at which time the 1st and 4th precincts were merged. As a result of the merger, the 1st precinct name was kept but the personnel were moved to the larger 4th precinct stationhouse further uptown.

In December 2001, the building was re-purposed and dedicated by then Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani as the home of The New York City Police Museum.

Re-Opened in Spring of 2002 at the historic first police precinct house in downtown Manhattan is the NYC Police Museum. Here you'll find quite a collection of memorabilia, antique items such as very old vehicles, photographs, uniforms, badges and even weapons which will transport you back in time a 100 years and more.

The three floors which make up this museum are divided up into sections. You might find yourself being surprised at every turn just as I was during my very first visit. Just when you think you've come across the highlight of the museum, there's yet something more to widen your eyes.

The first floor of the police museum has sections of which one is titled "Transportation." Here are photos of old modes of transport used by the police of yesteryear. Hey, you'll even find an antique automobile and a cycle or two. There are informational plaques all over which will teach you quite a bit. In this area you'll learn of how the force's use of transportation at the turn of the century began with the Bicycle Squad, under the command of then Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt. 'And you'll learn of how the Aviation Unit came into being as well as how the number of motorized vehicles went from a few hundred in 1918 to the thousands in use today.

There are other sections on all floors but I'll skip to the one's which struck me most, such as the Jail Cell and cache of vintage weapons found on the second floor. I mean really, this was the closest I'd ever want to be to a jail cell much less the sorts of weapons I got to see here. Anyone remember the machine guns seen on some of those old gangster films? Well, you'll get to see them up close here.

On the third floor, you'll find even more informative areas as well as a room filled with badges, badges and more badges of those who've given their lives for the sake of protecting NYC. It's an impressive display and just as much a picture taking opportunity as the many other items at this museum.

So should you find yourself in lower Manhattan then be sure to pass by the Police Museum! Heck, you've got South Street Seaport, Staten Island Ferry, Financial District, Museum of the American Indian, Battery Park, Chinatown and other sights close by.

Upon entering the Museum be sure to grab their handy map and welcoming pamphlet found at the reception desk.