Your Neighborhood Landmark: Firehouse Engine Co. 33
We love our landmarks. So we thought we’d show it with our new series: Your Neighborhood Landmark. This series will highlight and celebrate individual landmarks across our neighborhoods that have been designated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) since its creation in 1965. Do you live or pass by one of these landmarks often? Then be proud and let us know what you love about them!
First up is Firehouse Engine Co. 33 at 44 Great Jones Street:
- Official landmark name: Firehouse Engine Co. 33
- Designated: November 12, 1968
- Designed by: Ernest Flagg and W. B. Chambers
- Built: 1898
The LPC’s earliest designation reports were rather short and didn’t provide the wealth of information they do today (hey, we all have to start somewhere). And as with most of these early reports, the focus falls heavily on the architectural description of the building rather than its cultural history. If you’ve walked past this building, you’d know there are many stand-out features to talk about. For starters, the report mentions the “very deep metal roof cornice ornamented with antefixae, fleur-de-lis and other classic forms” at the top of the structure (seen above).
It goes on to mention that “[the roof] is supported on large scroll type brackets of unusually good design, set in pairs.” This feature is one of the first things I notice about this building when I pass it. Truly intricate!
The LPC found this building to be a “distinguished example of French Beaux Arts architecture” and that the building “was considered architecturally daring in its day.” For you architecture buffs out there, Ernest Flagg also designed the rectory of St. Mark’s Church – where we are located – around the same time (1899).
An “elaborately decorated pediment” between the second and third floors projects in front of the top of the monumental arch. The terra-cotta cartouche in the photo before this one is just visible above this arch.
Look close and you will see a few “33” elements in the wrought iron railing on the second floor.
Just because a building is designated an official city landmark at a certain point in time doesn’t mean its history stops there. Affixed to a rectangular niche on the left-hand side of the ground floor is this plaque, which commemorates those firefighters who “made the supreme sacrifice” during rescue attempts at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Several other smaller plaques remember others who died in service to this city and its people. The earliest one dates to 1903, just five years after the firehouse was built.
Firehouse Engine Co. 33 could informally be considered a double landmark since it’s also located within the NoHo Historic District Extension (designated in 2008). As such, there’s more to read about it in both its individual landmark designation report and the NoHo Historic District designation report, including the fact that Engine Co. 33 was first established in November 1865 at 220 Mercer Street (since demolished). It moved to its current Great Jones Street location in June 1899.
You can also find the report for the individual landmark here.