In the view above, taken by Gene Sirota on his 2004 trip to Brooklyn, it is interesting to note, that though the station is closed, the display of the Stars And Stripes indicates it not to be official. Let's hope so, as the building plays a big part in Bay Ridge's history. It was a sure comfort for all local residents, seeing the always open door, and hearing the striking of the signal bells continuously through the day, and night. At times the firemen would bring the engine out, and park it on the avenue to shine it up, and let us kids play on it, even strike the bell. The "Fire Dog" - Buckeye, a Dalmation ( white dogs with black spots ) was everyones' mascot. He had a red box, or compartment on the side of the ladder trailor with his name in gold lettering, in which he was leashed when going to a call, the bell sounding, and siren screeming...it was something to see, and hear.
The engine ( actually "Hook and Ladder" ) would dash out of the station, trolleys, and cars stopped out of its path...nothing could be more dramatic. You couldn't walk past the Station without feeling the cool breeze exiting from within...even in summer, the smell of the engine seemingly sweet. It seemed to me that the firemen were always hosing down the cement floor within, and the sidewalk...it all seemed so squeeky-clean.
As shown in the following photo, the Station was nestled between tenement buildings:
TALLY HO LADDER 114
1897 - 1997
Ladder 114 was placed in service on September 15, 1897 at 5209 5th Avenue. When placed in service, Ladder 114 was not known as 114 or even part of the New York City Fire Department. The rig was pulled by a team of three horses and painted a two tone green. One hundred years ago it was known as Ladder 18 and was part of the Brooklyn Fire Department.
Ladder 18 went in service in what was then the northern reaches of Bay Ridge Brooklyn.
Click Here for more history.
The tenement to the right is 5211 Fifth Avenue...we lived on the first floor for a short while before moving to Long Island in '53. We had lived up the street on 52nd Street for many years, but moved out so the "Land Lord" could split up the flat for small accomodations, and realize ten times the rent he was charging us, which was $27 a month...amazing, what! Anyways, where the Pizza joint is as shown in the photo above, was the infamous "Regents Bar"...well, maybe not "infamous".
There were, from Downtown - 1st Street, to Fort Hamilton - 100th Street at least fifty bars along Fifth Avenue. They seemingly alternated from Norwegian to Irish bars. My dad used to say that if the Norwegians, and Irish could stay out of the bars, they would own Brooklyn.
Anyways, it was something during the Great Patriotic War ( WW2 ) to hear the strains of patriotic songs coming from within the bars, and fragrance of beer, and booze...mostly cheap stuph. As kids we'd sneak in, and grab pretzels off the bars...they were free in those days. In those days, when as kids we'd grow up, we didn't frequent bars...they mostly for boozers. The big thing in young peoples' lives were movies, and Ice Cream Parlors.
Here's a view showing the Fire House nestled between two tenements...the one to the left extending to the corner of 52nd Street, with it's entrance on that street. That was a nice tenement, or seemed so, as it was over a Florist Shoppe...not a bar.
Oh well, amazing it's all still there...realizing those buildings are nearing a century old, but then in Europe, that's nothing.
The Norwegian Hospital
Not much to say about this structure, ground broken 1902 the photo taken 5-15-32, just before the time I was born in there - November 6th 1932, at four in the morning.
It's at 44th, and Fourth...that's saying: 44th Street, and Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn.
Later named Lutheran Hospital...a search of the Internet reveals it's gone...and if so, used for aerobics...maybe. However, if ever you hurt yourself, or came down with the hives, or toothache, the "clinic" was always open, and free...catch that: "Free".
Just a note to say that these photos are a rare thing...seems people don't much photograph them, and if so, keep them hidden in long forgotten albums in attics, and basements. Touchè.