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NYC Police Museum to reopen in new location on Governors Island

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NYCPM at the 2016 NYIAS. Photo by the author.

Five years after Hurricane Sandy rendered it homeless, the New York City Police Museum will move to Governors Island and mark its return with an exhibit highlighting the NYPD’s preferred modes of transportation throughout the years.

Founded in the late 1990s, the museum eventually made a permanent home in the former First Precinct Police Station House at 100 Old Slip near the tip of Manhattan – a building that dates to 1909 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. While there, the museum was not only able to build its collection of vintage NYPD vehicles – among them many patrol cars, a paddy wagon, and vehicles from the New York City Housing and Transit police agencies – but also able to put on annual car shows displaying said vehicles.

However, according to the New York Times, the 2012 hurricane not only flooded the building’s basement and first floor but also tore holes in the building’s roof, sending rain down into the third and second floors.

“The city has treated the building for severe mold and mildew infestation, and has made emergency repairs, like fixing the wind-ravaged roof, but the work is far from complete,” the Times wrote in 2014. Even two years later, no estimate of damages was available, and the city had seemed to deadlock with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on how to proceed with repairs.

In the meantime, the museum temporarily moved to a location on Wall Street in 2013-2014 and canceled its annual shows, opting instead to display the automotive collection at the annual New York International Auto Show.

With the move to Pershing Hall on Governors Island, the museum announced this week that it will re-open with four new exhibits, one of them focusing on the NYPD’s transportation history, going back to the first mounted patrols in 1871, followed by bicycle patrols in 1895, and motorcycles and police cars in the early years of the Twentieth Century.

No word from museum officials whether the patrol car collection will join the museum on Governors Island or whether the annual car show will return.

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