Central Park Among the Safest Urban Parks in the World; Since 2002, 400 Million Visitors Without a Murder & Overall Crime Down by More Than 20 Percent
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Design and Construction Commissioner David J. Burney joined Tuesday to cut ribbon on the recently renovated Central Park Precinct station house, the national and New York City landmark that since 1936 has served as base for New York City’s 22nd Precinct covering Central Park. The 22nd Precinct was redesignated "Central Park Precinct" in August 1968. The Mayor and Commissioners were joined at the station house on the 86th Street Transverse by NYPD Chief of Department Joseph Esposito; NYPD Captain Jessica Corey, Commanding Officer of the Central Park Precinct; First Deputy Commissioner, Parks and Recreation Liam Kavanagh; Architect Fred Basch; President and CEO of the Central Park Conservancy Douglas Blonsky; elected officials; police executives and personnel.
"With the opening today of the beautifully restored Central Park Precinct Station, we have updated a police station that dates back to 1936," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The newly restored precinct gives officers in Central Park an expanded and modernized working environment, conserves many beautiful architectural elements that distinguish this 19th century building and helps it. Central Park is safer than ever – with crime down by more than 20 percent since 2001 – and the enhancement to the station will help police officers build on this record of success."
"The city’s oldest precinct is now wired for the latest computer and communications technology, with new phones and computers and better heating, ventilation and air conditioning. It also has a new lobby and main desk, with additional space for officers to better serve the public," Commissioner Kelly said. "It brings a 19th century station house into the 21st century."
"The Central Park Precinct is a terrific example of adaptive re-use: converting an old building – in this case from the era of horses and stables – into a 21st century facility," said Commissioner Burney. "The precinct’s landmark design has been preserved while the building has been brought up to modern standards – and while this stationhouse will be secure, it will also be welcoming to the community. The restored precinct’s lobby was originally a courtyard – but is now enclosed with a lightweight metal canopy and self-supporting glass wall, which protects the space from the elements while maintaining its transparency. To maintain its historic integrity, our team also restored the precinct’s stonework, dormer windows, doors and fixtures, and slate and copper roofing materials. DDC is grateful for the support of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Parks Department, Commissioner Kelly and all our partners at NYPD to help put the Central Park Precinct back in service."
The entrance to the modernized Central Park Precinct, at the 86th Street Transverse. NYC Department of Design and Construction photo.
The two-story station features an updated and expanded new lobby with a partially bullet-proof glass atrium; improved staging, arrest processing and interview rooms, mechanical ventilation and central air-conditioning. There is 2,300 more square feet of additional space than the previous station house provided.
Originally stables and sheds in 1871, the park complex was converted into a garage in 1915 and reconstructed and redesignated as a police station in 1936. Part of the complex underwent additional restoration in the 1950s after a fire damaged the structure. In 2002, uniformed and civilian personnel assigned to the Central Park Precinct relocated to a temporary building elsewhere on the site after deterioration, structural stress and roof leaks required a full renovation. The station house grounds make it the oldest Police Department building in the City.
The entrance to the Central Park Precinct, in the early 1970s, or about 100 years after the original stables and sheds were converted for use as a police station.
Uniformed and civilian personnel assigned to Central Park were able to begin working in the new station house last year. Also in attendance Tuesday were NYPD Detective Steven McDonald, who was paralyzed in 1986 after he stopped to question and was shot by three young men in the northern section of the park; and the family of Lieutenant Steven Cioffi, who was assigned to Central Park Precinct for 11 years, first as a police officer and later becoming a platoon commander. Lieutenant Cioffi passed away in March after battling cancer. He was among the first responders who responded to the World Trade Center attacks and recovery effort that followed.
Central Park is among the safest urban parks of its size in the world, with crime in the park down by more than 20 percent since 2001. Approximately 40 million people enjoy Central Park each year and since November 2002, there have been a total of400 million visitors to the 842-acre park without a murder.