Central Park police station gets makeover

The ribbon cutting at the new NYPD Central The ribbon cutting at the new NYPD Central Park Precinct. Photo Credit: Nancy Borowick

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One of the city's oldest and most active police precincts reopened Tuesday with a 21st century makeover.

The NYPD's historic and renovated Central Park precinct station house was on display Tuesday with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly among those admiring the building.

"What we have done is give Capt. Jessica Burney and the officers of her command an expanded and thoroughly modernized working environment," the mayor said.

Kelly said he was impressed with the additional 2,300 square feet of space.

The event was not entirely focused on the reopening. Both Bloomberg and Kelly said they remained against a City Council proposal to create the position of inspector general as an independent watchdog over the NYPD.

Kelly said the proposal could put the safety of city residents at risk and Bloomberg questioned the motives of mayoral candidates who have said they support the bill.

The inspector general would not have an NYPD background and would review police procedures. The appointee would make recommendations to the NYPD.

"Recently we heard a lot of promises from people running for office," Bloomberg said. "What we don't know is what they will actually do to reduce crime. We don't even know if it's a goal."

The side trip to discuss the proposal did little to dampen excitement over the improved station.

The two-story space has a new roof, an entryway with a glass wall and metal canopy and new computers.

Architect Jacob Wrey Mould created the building in 1870, which originally was a horse stable. In 1936, it was redesigned as a police station, but the decades of operation took its toll on the building.

In 2002, the NYPD relocated its officers out of the precinct after a leaky roof and other structural damage made it unsafe to work.

Although the new station house has new flooring, rooms and a roof it did keep some parts of the old building such as the original retaining wall.

"[It] heralds a promising new future while preserving the legacy of the past," Kelly said of the new facility.

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