Quantcast
Completed in 1189, the exterior of this landmark Romanesque Revival-style firehouse remains intact

Completed in 1889, the exterior of this landmark Romanesque Revival-style firehouse remains intact

We have often wondered about the status of the abandoned firehouse located at 120 East 125th Street in East Harlem and today we got our answer. Due to the tireless efforts of City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, this firehouse is one of five that was saved from the auction block, and will be converted into a cultural institution.

The firehouse located at 120 E. 125th Street was closed in 2003

The firehouse located at 120 E. 125th Street was closed in 2003

The firehouse, which is located just East of the 125th Street Metro North Station and the historic Corn Exhange Bank Building, will be given a new life by the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI).  The CCCADI is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring and documenting the cultures of Africa in the New World.  They are currently in temporary offices at Park Avenue and 125th Street, and if all goes smoothly, they hope to be in their new home in the firehouse on their 40th anniversary, September 2015. The groundbreaking ceremony will take place next month on September 16.

This firehouse is one of 5 firehouses that were decommissioned in 2003 & headed for the auction block

This firehouse is one of 5 firehouses that were decommissioned in 2003 & headed for the auction block

The building is a Romanesque Revival-style firehouse which was designed by Napoleon LeBrun & Sons and was completed in 1889.  The firehouse was closed in 2003 and has remained empty.  The president of the CCCADI, Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, hopes to create an environment filled with exhibits and educational workshops including workshops on Yoruba culture and religion.  The center will join other cultural and artistic institutions in the immediate area such as The National Black Theatre on Fifth Avenue and The Studio Museum in Harlem located on the Western end of 125th Street.

The opening date for the new community center is set for September 2015

The opening date for the new community center is set for September 2015

Speaker Mark-Viverito has been busy, adding this firehouse project to the announcement last week that her efforts to kickstart La Marqueta are in full swing, with an Open House for future artists and vendors taking place this month.  All welcome additions to the East Harlem community.

Get in touch with the author @AFineLyne.

1 Comment

  1. Peter says:

    I am delighted you are saving this building from destruction which I always look for when passing by on the train. Years ago, a fireman gave me a tour and showed where the horses were kept at th rear and the hoses were hung from the fixture in the gable which was also used for hoisting feed into the loft. He said that the watchtower on top of Mount Morris would sound a bell to dispatch them to fires. I’ve also seen it in old newsreels that showed cable cars traveling to the 125th st bridge past vaudeville theaters that were nearby.

    It should make an interesting cultural center and preserve the neighborhood character. Best of luck to you!

Leave a Comment