They are called The Pride of the Hills.
And on Tuesday, firefighters from Engine Company 304 and Ladder Company 151 in Forest Hills got a little something more to be proud of, courtesy of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Their 1924 firehouse, located at 111-02 Queens Blvd. at the corner of 75th Avenue, was one of six buildings, including three FDNY firehouses, to receive designation as city landmarks this week.
Others include that shared by Engine Company 83 and Ladder Company 29 in the Bronx, completed in 1905; Engine Company/Squad 41, also in the Bronx and completed in 1903; the Martha Washington Hotel completed in 1903, on East 30th Street in Manhattan; the Hotel Mansfield, completed in 1902, on West 44th Street in Manhattan; and the Yorkville Bank on Third Avenue and 85th Street in Manhattan, built in 1905 and expanded in 1924.
“All these buildings illustrate how far New York City had come by the start of the 20th century, and signaled the promising direction in which it was headed,” Commission Chairman Robert Tierney said in a press release issued by the commission on Tuesday.
He specifically thanked Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano for the FDNY’s continued stewardship of its historic firehouses, “which are among New York City’s finest expressions of civic character.”
In a statement issued later in the afternoon, an FDNY spokesman said they were equally pleased.
“The department is thrilled that the Landmarks Preservation Commission has recognized the history of these firehouses and their importance in the community,” he said.
The Forest Hills firehouse is described in the commission’s report as a two-and-a-half story neo-medieval structure that at its time ‘represented a departure from its flat-roofed, rectangular-shaped contemporaries.”
It is an asymmetrical building of red brick, with steep gables on the roof and two towers, including a stair tower and a hose-drying tower.
“The design of this unusual firehouse is more suggestive of a church than a civic building,” Tierney said. “It stands out as much as it blends into one of the city’s most picturesque neighborhoods, and has barely changed in the 90 years it’s been standing.”
The effort to get landmark status for the Queens Boulevard firehouse met with wide approval from local historical and preservation groups.
Landmark status sometimes can be met with oppositon by building owners, as it gives the commission oversight and some regulatory authority over any effort to make changes to the outside of a structure.
But landmark status for the exterior apparently will not impinge upon the FDNY’s ability to fight fires and serve the public. Fire department officials told the Chronicle last month that they were excited to even have the building placed on the commission’s docket for consideration.
They have pledged full cooperation with landmark guidelines and to work to meet all requests and requirements.