Friday, June 27, 2008

Fire / Police Call Boxes : Existing and Former

There are many items on the Roosevelt Island landscape that tend to blend into the background as we go about our daily lives. Much of our street furniture such as the FDNY / NYPD Call Boxes fall into that category. They tend to simply exist unless you need them and then they become all important.

Most of these boxes these days tend to be of the grey steel variety that blend exceedingly well into the background on actual streets. Walking home from the Tram last night I noticed what appear to be two "stumps" and I began to wonder what the requirements are for such boxes relative to population growth. I know that building laws require that new construction include fire control centers in each residential building so I am sure the Riverwalk buildings have built in call boxes within their lobbies etc but it still seemed strange that the City would remove existing boxes from the street where there are still plans to build even more structures.

The "stumps" I noticed were along Main Street / East Road across the street from the line of Riverwalk buildings. One is directly across from 465 Main Street and the other is also on the soccer field side of the street across from approximately the 415 / 425 Main Street buildings. These two stumps must have appeared like the Red FDNY box pictured below.

It's strange what you sometimes notice and think about. But as a local blogger I am always intrigued by what I see on our streets.


According to RIOC Public Safety Director Keith Guerra the boxes are taken off line by the City as each box no longer functions. Meaning a box is not replaced once it stops working. Boxes were added to our streets at a time when cell phones were not common and this allowed the public to report a fire or the need for the police in a free and expedient manner.

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