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3 Engine and 12 Truck

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July 01, 2014 | NEW YORK Larry Woodcock, Correspondent
This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

Chelsea, Manhattan, a neighborhood on the west side of the borough is primarily a residential enclave with tenements, townhouses, and row houses. If you throw in some restaurants, and art galleries (some located in remodeled warehouses) along with retail; you have one of the most desirable areas of Manhattan.

The community goes back as far as the mid 1750s, when farm land gave way to residential and industrial with the population of immigrants from other countries to working and living in the neighborhood.

The Hudson River Railroad along Eleventh Avenue allowed the piers on the Hudson to be easy ports for manufacturing, from lumberyards to breweries, to truck terminals.

Now, most of the area along 10th and 11th Avenues is post-industrial and some would argue that Chelsea has become the new center of the New York City art world.

For a piece of history, go to the Chelsea Market Place on Ninth Avenue and 16th Street. It is an enclosed food court that includes several bakeries, restaurants, and markets, which are all inside a nine story former factory that was once home to the National Biscuit Company, aka Nabisco. This was where the Oreo cookie was invented in 1912 and produced for many years.

The Dirty Dozen and the pride of Chelsea can be found here as well. 3 Engine, 12 Truck, and the 7th Battalion also occupy this neighborhood located at 146 19th Street, off Seventh Avenue.

This modern firehouse by New York City standards was built in 1965 and designed to incorporate three companies.

Not far from here is the High Line, an elevated rail line used to transport freight that ran through Chelsea in 1847. In the early 30’s, it had fallen out of use. It remained abandoned and most of it demolished until 2006 when it was converted into an elevated urban park, worth seeing.

Call it an aerial greenway; there are numerous entrances along the route, which extends one mile in length along 10th Avenue from Gansevoort Street up to its terminus at 30th Street.

Chelsea is also known for its historic district, an area roughly extending from 19th to 23rd Streets, from Eighth to Tenth Avenues. It was added to the United States National Register of Historic Places in 1977 as well as New York due to the fact that it contains some of the oldest buildings in the city and contains significant examples of period architecture and multiple styles dating as far back as 1840.

One of the most iconic buildings in New York City and perhaps in America is the Flatiron Building. Built in 1902, it was one of the first skyscrapers ever built and one of the tallest in New York at the time.

The national historic landmark sits on a triangle island located between Fifth Avenue and Broadway at 23rd Street. It stands at 22 stories and measures 285 feet with an elaborate crown and numerous setbacks near the pinnacle. The tapered design is its most recognizable feature.

The building is designed by Chicago’s architect Daniel Burnham in the beaux-arts style popular of the era. Like a classic Greek column, its limestone and terra cotta façade is separated into three parts horizontally. Since it was one of the first buildings to use a steel skeleton, the building was constructed to 285 feet, which would have been difficult with other construction methods at that time.

Engine Company 3 was organized in September of 1865 and housed on 17th Street until July of 1906 when they moved in with Engine 19 on 25th Street. They then relocated to 20th Street in October of 1960 before moving into their current firehouse in February of 1967.

12 Truck was organized in December of 1865 and was housed on 20th Street until moving into their current firehouse in February of 1967.

The 7th battalion was organized on January 1, 1869 moved around numerous times before settling in with 3 and 12 in February of 1967.

High Rise Unit 2 is also housed here since its inception in August of 1976. It responds on all 10-77s and when special called. It used by members of the engine when needed.

The combined companies have had 12 line of duty deaths in their history, multiple medals winners and unit citations have been awarded, respectively. These are some original companies in the history of this department, having endured many hard times, not to be forgotten. Thanks to my friend Mickey Wilson, one of the senior men in the truck, and a true gentlemen on this job.

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Larry WoodcockCorrespondent

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