4. Staten Island

Staten Island Fire Communications Center

Staten Island did not get a dedicated facility of this type until 1962, when the island’s fire communications center moved from Borough Hall to a new building in Clove Lakes Park. Apart from the adjoining 200-foot tall radio tower, it’s easy to miss and lacks the architectural character of the earlier Fire Alarm Telegraph stations.

Reflecting the Cold War times it was built in, the Staten Island facility was designed to withstand an atomic bomb attack, “except in case of direct hit or near miss,” the New York Times reported. It was built with a 35-foot below-ground bunker capable of operating for up to two weeks after an atomic bomb attack.

There’s a mystique about these Fire Alarm Telegraph Stations; they look like they could be the secret headquarters of comic book superheroes. But, in reality, they have been the workplace of real heroes who use the magic of technology to speedily dispatch firefighters and EMTs where they are needed to save lives and property.

Next, read about repurposed fire stations in NYC, the hidden emerald gem: Forest Park in Queens, and the secrets of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.