The Old 83   28 comments

The old 83 precinct Station House on Wilson and Dekalb is a beautiful building built in the 1800’s in the Romanesque Revival style. It’s ornate facade of Red brick and limestone powerfully dominats the corner it stood on. It was often referred to as the castle due to the turret which looked down upon the streets of Bushwick. The name of the neighborhood Bushwick comes from the Dutch “Boswijk” which meant “the town of woods”. The woods are long gone replaced by tenements and garbage strewn empty lots. The precincts garage is a converted stable. When you entered the large double doors the C.O.’s office was to your left and the Desk to your right. The desk is the heart of a precinct in the NYPD. There the Desk Sgt. or Lt. sat and ruled the command like a feudal lord. No one entered the building without acknowledging him. To the right of the desk was the T.S. that’s the telephone switchboard. To the left was the computer and the 124 room. The 124 room was the day to day crime reporting and classification room as opposed to the large clerical office upstairs. There were eight cells. Each was built to hold one man but they sometimes held 3 or more. . The lounge and lunch room was actually only one end of an unfinished dirty basement with second hand furniture and a TV we all chipped in for. On television the precinct lounge and lunchrooms are always modern and clean. Ours hadn’t been modern since 1935 and hadn’t been clean for years before that. The squad and clerical offices were on the second floor and the lockers on the third. Some of the lockers looked like they had been there since the building was built. The lockers were locked with padlocks since the keys and in most cases the locks had disappeared decades before. We cops who were assigned there believed that it was the most beautiful station house in the city. The grand old lady of Wilson Ave. was our Camelot.


Posted November 6, 2012 by kevingcox in Random Thoughts

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28 responses to “The Old 83

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  1. Nice post Kevin!!!

  2. Wow! Kevin I was lucky to be part of that old house…I was the TS operator ..I had first hand view of who came through that door in 1982…lol

  3. Good luck with the course, Kevin. Lot’s of memories in that building and the surrounding area. The big Pretzeles, donuts, Boarshead, Knickerbocker Ave., etc.



  5. My dad (Jim Smith..JJ Smith)took me there as a kid showed me the cells and i worked in the new 83

  6. Nice piece of memoir, Kevin! You’re a good writer and, as a veteran of the 83, you’ll never run out of material. Bob K.

  7. Hey Kevin, Nice post and pic of the old house. A few building designs always stuck with me. The old fashioned wood used for the desk (I believe it was mahogany,) as opposed to the new drab looking, stainless steel counters that they now call desks. Or, how about that great old staircase that led to the squad room? I still envision Robert Duvall and Telly Savalas walking up and down that staircase in their movies “Badge 373” and a later TV movie “Kojac.”
    You mentioned the T.S. Do you remember the old switchboard with all the wires used to connect each extension? I remember I disconnected the C.O. about 5 times one day. He would stick his head out of his door each time and say quietly “you cut me off again.” Sorry Cap!

  8. I was working in the 79 in 1980 when my partner told me lets request a transfer to the 83, I asked him what he new about the 83 his response was lots of lovely woman. I called the hook, he told me you don,t need me to go to the 83 the place is a dump, however I told him my partner and I wanted to go anyway, in Jan. 80 we were there. The woman, the pct., bosses, the guys there and best of all the continuing parties. Best command of my 21 years on the job.

    • Hi Izzy, Thanks for commenting. By the way I started those continuous parties. The nurses at the Wyckoff were complaining to me at one of their parties that they always invited us to theirs but we never had one where they were invited. So I stupidly told them I would hold one. I thought I would lose a fortune but the party was a big hit. I ended up with money left over that I gave to the guys who wanted to continue the parties.

  9. don convey,says hello to all the old gang

  10. Kevin, I am looking forward to your book and stories about New York and its inhabitants. Your explanation about the old precint reminds me the 39th in Philadelphia. You guys are the best and respect your daily endeavor to keep the Boswick neighborhood safe from the bad guys. A Philadelphia cop from the 39th was my scout master. As you know, growing up in the big city can get you in trouble very easily. Mattie as he wanted to be called was a steller influence on us kids. I will never forget him and the values he gave us. Good luck and all the very best, Ernie Gallo

  11. Kevin, Great start. I know you will do well just like you did in the 83. Looking forward to more blog’s and the book. See you at the next reunion.

    • Thanks Rich. The book is only halfway done and there has been some interest in it. Both for publishing and adaptng to the screen. That doesn’t mean anything will happen with it but maybe it just means it doesn’t suck too much.

  12. Nice job, Kevin. This is the first moment I’ve had to read your post. Wonderful!

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