Just off the corner of Steinway is 38-13 Northern Boulevard. It stands opposite the Standard Motor Products building, and at the foot of a bridge which carries Steinway Street into 39th Street and over the Sunnyside Yards.
Currently, the structure houses part of the NYPD’s ESU units: the Emergency Medical Squad. The building was originally a firehouse — the Hook and Ladder 66.
The earliest volunteer fire company in Newtown, the Wadownock Fire, Hook & Ladder No. 1, was organized in 1843. By 1902, there were 66 distinct volunteer fire departments in Queens. Nineteenth century Long Island City was served by (amongst others) the Astoria Engine Co., the Hunter Engine Co., the Mohawk Hose Co., and the Tiger Hose Co. In 1890, the legislature of New York State abolished the volunteer departments, seeking to create a paid and professional force of firefighters. In Long Island City, as many as nine units were created, and then reorganized in 1894, as rampant political corruption had rendered the new units impotent against all but the smallest blazes. This corruption was centered around Long Island City’s mayor — Patrick “Battleax” Gleason — or was at least blamed on him by his enemies in the press.
The critical date for this structure is January 1, 1898, when Long Island City joined in the municipality of the City of Greater New York, and its firefighters joined the FDNY.