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This handsome four-story firehouse, erected for Fire Patrol No. 3 in 1895, was one of three private firehouses that went up for auction in the late 2000s. Bernstein Real Estate bought this one (at 240 W. 30th St.), Anderson Cooper bought one in the Village, and the third firehouse that went on the market is in Harlem. The original details of the building’s Flemish-style façade are still intact and speak to a lost New York.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

In 2011, Oliver Ripley was searching for a headquarters for the digital-media company Black Ocean, which he founded with his partner, Timur Sardarov. “I believe in creative work spaces,” Ripley, Black Ocean’s CEO, says. He’d seen abandoned churches and warehouses before finding this firehouse—which he enlisted architect Rafael de Cárdenas to renovate. Here, in the entrance foyer, de Cárdenas has incorporated a fire-alarm box given to Black Ocean by the city’s fire commissioner in 2012, along with a table of his own design.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

“The building had to be completely gutted,” Ripley explains. Here’s a photo of the second floor before de Cárdenas got to work. A New York Times story about the firehouse from 1895 reported: “[O]n the second floor are Capt. Vaughan’s private office and the sleeping quarters for the men, each of whom has a separate brass bedstead and a clothes closet. From this floor five sliding poles reach the floor below. A unique contrivance is a short sliding pole near the driver’s bed, which lands him on the seat of the wagon.”

Photo: Courtesy of Black Ocean

“I wanted ‘Tom Ford meets high tech’ in a modern, industrial way, while still respecting the historic integrity of the building,” Ripley says of his design aesthetic. De Cárdenas installed dramatic zigzag fluorescent lighting that runs the length of each floor’s ceiling. His design program throughout the building includes conference rooms, communal open offices, private offices, and a lounge.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

The lounge area at the rear of the main floor has carpeted built-in seating and stored wooden boxes that can be pulled out and used as flexible work surfaces.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

The table and benches, designed by de Cárdenas, in the lounge are made from original floorboards from the firehouse. The doors lead out to the courtyard and back building. “There was not much left of the original space,” de Cárdenas says, “so this is one way we were able to recycle elements of the past within our design language.”

Photo: Wendy Goodman

This little two-story back building, originally built for the horses’ feed rooms and a hayloft, calls up memories of the building’s past. De Cárdenas installed new windows and put down gravel and an ipe-wood deck in the courtyard. The room with the garage door is equipped with banquet seating. That same 1895 Times story reported: “Here are two large box stalls with a thick flooring of Irish peat, where the horses in turn are allowed a chance to recover from hard runs.” Note the iron ring set into the bricks on the left, which must have been used to secure those tired horses.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

A fireman would know what this piece of equipment was used for. According to the Times piece: “On the first floor are accommodations for five horses and two patrol wagons, with improved apparatus, for quickly reaching fires.” Could this be an “improved apparatus”?

Photo: Wendy Goodman

De Cárdenas designed the conference room on the fourth floor with steel and glass doors and a transom repeating the chevron motif he used throughout the building. “The chevron design is a simple interpretation of the Black Ocean logo in a graphic, patterned format,” de Cárdenas says. He designed the wood paneling and the new parquet floors that continue the chevron motif.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Here’s the fourth floor with the beautiful north-facing window, photographed during the renovations. This floor was originally used for a repair shop and as storage for the fire company.

Photo: Courtesy of Black Ocean

This end of the fourth floor is now used for Ripley and Sardarov’s office. The original window is offset by an Achille Castiglioni light fixture.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

The view from the loft space created by de Cárdenas in Ripley and Sardarov’s office.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

What would a converted firehouse be without a pole? This one, in the corner of Ripley and Sardarov’s office, allows for a quick trip down to the desks from the loft. The pole came from another New York City firehouse and keeps the spirit of urgency alive—albeit in a whole new way.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Elizabeth Padilla (left) Fifth Avenue and Prospect Place, Park Slope. Commuting to the Brooklyn Bar Association on June 9, 2005, Padilla swerved to avoid the open door of a parked P.C. Richard’s truck. She lost control of her bike and fell underneath the wheels of an ice-cream delivery truck.

Juan Luis Solis East Gun Hill Road and Bouck Avenue, the Bronx. Attempting to pass a double-parked car on June 22, 2007, Solis was struck by a box truck and died of severe head trauma. The truck did not stop.

Jeffrey Moore (left) Chauncey Street and Rockaway Avenue, Bed-Stuy. According to witnesses, on May 29, 2007, Moore was run over (twice) by his girlfriend Jeanine Harrington. She was indicted on charges of murder and criminal possession of a weapon (her Nissan Pathfinder).

Derek Lake Houston Street and La Guardia Place. On June 26, 2006, Lake reportedly skidded on a steel construction plate and was crushed underneath the wheels of a passing truck.

Elijah Armand Wrancher (left) Springfield Boulevard and 130th Avenue, Springfield Gardens. On August 28, 2007, 12-year-old Wrancher attempted to ride his bicycle while holding onto a moving truck. He lost his grip and fell under the truck’s rear wheel.

David Smith Sixth Avenue and 36th Street. On December 5, 2007, Smith was biking up Sixth Avenue when the passenger-side door of a parked pickup truck opened unexpectedly. He was knocked into the path of an oncoming truck.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Fall Fashion Features

The Beefcake in the Backcourt
Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.

 

The Beefcake in the Backcourt
Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.
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