Hunters Point’s Police Precinct Keeps Watch


This three-story neo-classical 108th Precinct Police Station was built in 1903 by architect R. Thomas Short on 50th Avenue west of Vernon Boulevard in a flamboyant neo-Baroque style. It continues to serve its original use and is one of the most architecturally significant buildings in the area. What were perhaps the stables are adjacent on 50th Avenue.



The 108th, as with most police precincts in NYC, displays two green lamps at the entrance. The tradition of green lights dates back to colonial times.

 According to the NYPD website, “It is believed that the Rattle Watchmen, who patrolled New Amsterdam in the 1650’s, carried lanterns at night with green glass sides in them as a means of identification. When the Watchmen returned to the watch house after patrol, they hung their lantern on a hook by the front door to show people seeking the watchman that he was in the watch house. Today, green lights are hung outside the entrances of Police Precincts as a symbol that the ‘Watch’ is present and vigilant.”

2 Comment

  • Was this the same architect as “Fort Apache” in the Bronx – they look somewhat similar – or was there a generalized template as to what the station houses should look like? Thanks – love your site!

  • The exterior aside, the place inside looks like a set from Kojak! The upstairs is cramped with detectives practically working on top of one another. It’s got character for days, but – considering this is supposed to be a facility for New York’s finest, it’s nothing but a right mess in there. It makes me wonder if the precinct wouldn’t naturally do better work if they had more space that was cleaner and brighter, with better ventilation.