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The “Fighting Ninth Precinct” at 321-323 East 5th Street

Click for larger image. Photo by GVSHP.

Since 1912, this site has served as a station house for the NYPD (it replaced a 19th century stable and feed store). Originally known as the 15th Precinct Police Station, it became the Ninth Precinct in 1929 when the city’s precincts were renumbered.

Fans of TV shows “NYPD Blue” and “Kojak” might recognize the building from its appearances on those crime dramas, though only the exterior was used for filming.

The six-story cast-stone facade dates to 1912 and features a cast stone cornice and terra cotta details, although the rest of the building was demolished around 2004. When a larger building with setbacks was completed, the Hoppin & Koen-designed facade, which had been disassembled, was reinstalled block by block. During construction, policemen had been temporarily stationed at the nearby 130 Avenue C location, and were reportedly thrilled to see the historic facade retained.

During this time, the windows were replaced with what appears to be single panes of fixed glass. At the ground floor, wood paneled double doors were removed and most were converted to window openings.

447_47_PHOTO1The firm of Hoppin & Koen were best known for their city and country residences, including Edith Wharton’s home The Mount; however, they received acclaim for the design of the stunning New York City Police Headquarters Building (built 1909) at 240 Centre Street. Soon after, the police department commissioned Hoppin & Koen to design this East 5th Street station. Both Francis L.V. Hoppin and Terence Koen served as apprentices in the prominent firm of McKim, Mead & White before opening their practice in this city in 1894. The influence of the Beaux Arts tradition favored by McKim, Mead & White is clearly evident in the work of Hoppin & Koen, including at this East Village police station.

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