Former East New York 75th Precinct Station (17th Precinct)


Station House facing Liberty Avenue & Miller Avenue

Historical

Completed in 1891 the former Romanesque Revival style with Venetian and Noram Revival ornament structure was created by 'architect' George Ingram who is cited as the designer of the building. Architect Emile M. Grewe is also credited as having a hand in the collaboration. George Ingram was an assistant engineer in the Department of City Works in 1886 who was not a trained architect by trade. The building accommodated about 80 patrolmen, cells, and a stable via a passageway from the main building. Back then it was known as the 17th precinct (Originally 153rd). 



Entrance to the horse stable.


Opening in 1892, the first detainee was John Pocahontas Smith who was arrested for public drunkness. In the 1930s it was renamed the 75th precinct until 1973 the precinct moved to the newer 75th precinct holdings on Sutter Ave. It then became the home to People's Baptist Church in 1975 purchased from the City. At the time the building was well over 125 years old. The owner and leader of the church, Rev. W.D. Cleveland, eventually could not keep up with repairs due to his health and the building changed hands in 2016.

In 2007, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Some of the ornaments remain affixed to the building but what remains after renovation remains to be seen.

Present

In 2012, the Rev. R. Simone Lord, the widow of People's Baptist Church leader mounted a $20 million dollar fundraiser to restore the former station house as a veteran's housing and domestic shelter. That fundraiser fell through. In 2015, the People's congregation found out an individual had illegally obtained the deed to the property. Eventually, it was resolved and corrected by court order.



"The Castle" building stands ready for continuing renovation as all windows have been boarded and secured. A new roof constructed as before there was none.  Department of Buildings notice outside states it was to be completed in the Summer of 2019 but yet still stands unfinished as of June 1, 2020. Its architectural sibling, the 68th Precinct, in Sunset Park, is being transformed into a grade school after standing vacant for quite some time since 1983. I went here a few years ago to see behind the imposing fortress building but found my entrance bricked when I returned the next day in the early morning hours. The property has had frequent incursions by the homeless. 


An undated Google Street View of the gut demolition.

Currently, the property is under the same owner who purchased the property in 2016. In New York real estate, an LLC. Here the member signing documents list the name of a well known real estate developer in New York real estate development. 

Whilst photographing the exteriors as best as I could in harsh sunlight. A worker across the street informed me the owner had already replaced the missing roof and did a full gut of the 129-year-old building. He gave me some backstory on the first occupants and the previous owner as I have documented above in its sale. Nothing like street gossip to fill in the gaps!

View from Miller Avenue




As no surprise to anyone, the 75th Precinct on Sutter stands out as the most sued precinct in the city. It has paid out at least $9 million in settlements since 2015 and involved in 91 federal lawsuits. Today's ongoing protests show that continuing police violence against people of color is still widely prevalent. 



Current Status: Commercial Renovation.

Address/Location: 484 Liberty Avenue, East New York

Coordinates: 40.6749723810013, -73.89200022513398







Sources:

Frishberg, Hannah, "Sunset Park's Landmarked Police Precinct Station: A Beautiful Ruin", November 30, 2015, Brownstoner

De Vries, Susan, "Preservationists in East New York Want to Shower Some Love on the Historic 75th Precinct Station", February 21, 2019, Brownstoner

Leonhardt, Andrea, "East New York's 75th Precinct is the City's Most Sued Precinct", March 13, 2019, BKReader

Fonville, Gary, "Former Station Houses", August 5, 2006, Forgotten NY

"Former 75th Police Precinct Station House", 6tocelebrate

Richardson, Clem, "Brooklyn church hopes to turn derelict former police precinct into vets' housing, domestic violence shelter", April 23, 2012, NYDailyNews

"Church Fortress Defying Brooklyn Decay", November 5, 1979,  NYTimes

Bad Guy Joe, "Brooklyn's Abandoned 68th and 75th Police Stations", May 9, 2016,  LTVSquad

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