Google Street View of Long Island City’s engine 261
In 2003, when then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg shuttered six city firehouses including Engine Company 261 at 37-20 29th Street in Long Island City, the growing neighborhood was nowhere near its current density. Since then, a veritable mini-city of high-rise residential towers has sprung up in the once-industrial Queens neighborhood; the FDNY has been considering the need for more firepower to keep the mini-metropolis safe. The recent announcement of Amazon’s impending arrival with 25,000 jobs in tow has given more urgency to concerns about the increased demand for emergency services, according to the Wall Street Journal.
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To date, close to 700 LinkNYC Wifi kiosks have been installed throughout the five boroughs. Among their features are an app that lets users make free calls anywhere in the U.S., as well as a dedicated red 911 button for emergencies. Coupled with the fact that most New Yorkers have cell phones on them, it seems that the city’s 14,813 red alarm boxes serve basically no purpose anymore. In fact, as Crain’s tells us, last year, the boxes were used only 11,440 times to call the FDNY, which is an average of less than once per box. And, of these calls, only 13 percent were for actual emergencies and just 1.5 percent for fires. But yet, the city spends a whopping $6.8 million annually paying electricians to repair the call boxes and others to paint over graffiti.
What’s the deal?
Engine 33 via Eric on Flickr
Firehouses represent some of the most beautiful architecture in New York City, and now instead of just peeking inside through the windows (or ogling the FDNY calendar) you’ll have the chance to get up close and personal with these firehouses (and maybe even some of the calendar models). To mark its 150th anniversary, the FDNY is hosting a citywide open house on Saturday, May 2nd where the public will be welcomed inside.
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