76 Engine and 22 Truck
Many things including projects and brownstones characterize Manhattan Valley, a neighborhood above the Upper West Side, but it is also home to some of the city’s most endearing architecture and monuments.
Originally part of the Bloomingdale District, the neighborhood began to fill out in the late 1800’s with the establishment of the subway system making the neighborhood easily accessible and attractive to the mass influx of immigrants.
One notable landmark was the New York Cancer Hospital located at Central Park West and 105th Street. Built in stages between 1864 and 1890, it was the first hospital dedicated specifically for the treatment of cancer. It offered what many consider the best in treatment that was available at the time.
In 1955, they moved out of the facility to a new East Side location that grew to become the present day Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. And by 1974, the building fell into abandonment and disrepair.
It was slated for demolition until the Landmark Preservation Commission stepped in and was able to get the building designated a historic landmark. It lay vacant for three decades. In 2000, it was bought and converted into luxury condominiums. It is an ornate, castle like structure that resembles a French chateau.
This area is also home to 76 Engine, 22 Truck, and the 11th Battalion at 145 West 100th Street off Amsterdam Avenue. This is one of the few firehouses that was built with a bay to incorporate the battalion car.
Not many people would think that this neighborhood was once home to a brewery, but it was. The Lion Brewery, which produced here from 1857 until it closed in 1944, at its peak occupied six square blocks from 107th to 109th Streets and from Columbus to Amsterdam Avenues. Apartment houses now occupy the former factory.
In a city full of monuments and history, nothing holds more meaning to the fire department then the Fireman’s Memorial situated on a bluff overlooking Riverside Drive and 100th Street in 76 and 22’s first due area.
Originally proposed for Union Square, it was changed to Riverside Drive due to it’s collection of monuments, tree-lined streets, and elevation. Designed by Architect Harold Van Buren Magonigle of New Jersey, the memorial is made up of a grand staircase leading up from the sidewalk to a plaza with a fountain basin to the central monument.
Made of marble, the sarcophagus-like structure has a massive bronze sculpture of horses taking an engine to a fire. The bronze replica is an actual photo of Engine Company 83 responding to an alarm in the late 1800’s.
The sculptor, Attilio Piccirilli, was born in Italy and came from a family of master stone carvers. He did carving at his studio on 142nd Street in the Bronx. The memorial was dedicated on September 5th, 1913.
Each October, thousands of uniformed firefighters gather here to honor the memory of firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty, to the men of the Fire Department of the City of New York who died at the call of duty, soldiers in a war that never ends; this memorial is dedicated by the people of a grateful city.
Whether you are a firefighter or not, this is a monument that should not be overlooked. Some say this firehouse is not like older ones built at the beginning of the century, lackluster for the most part, too modern; but it is the history of those companies that provide the character.
When this house was built in 1960, many buildings in the neighborhood were being built as well; therefore, it was design consistent with that style and era.
76 Engine was organized on April 15, 1904 and its firehouse was at 105 West 102nd Street. In March of 1957, they moved in with 22 Truck at 766 Amsterdam Avenue until they moved into the current firehouse in December of 1960.
22 Truck was organized on April 21,1891 and moved into 766 Amsterdam Avenue until December of 1960 when they moved to the current location.
The 11th battalion was organized on August 30, 1884 and bounced around to several locations including a short stay in the Bronx before being placed here in December of 1960.
Between the three companies, there have been eleven line of duty deaths along with numerous unit citations and medal winners.