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Nyack People & Places: Jackson Fire Engine Co. Doors

by Mike Hays
You’re in for a pleasant surprise if you drive west on New Street on a sunny Nyack morning. The colorful murals hand-painted on the firehouse doors of the Jackson Fire Engine Company will brighten your day. From a distance, they appear as a striking 3-D image. Close up, the colors and lines form abstract artistic patterns.
Nyack Fire Patrol, Jackson Engine Company door Nyack Fire Patrol, Jackson Engine Company doorUnless you are seeing a show at the Elmwood Playhouse or dining at the Thai House Restaurant, you might not have a reason to visit the single block of New Street or the tiny stretch of Park Street where this Nyack Fire Patrol station is located. The T-junction of New and Park Streets has been the home of the Nyack Central Fire Station since 1909.
The fire door murals were produced by Colossal Media. The Greenpoint, Brooklyn company collaborated with the members of the fire house to create a design that is bold and patriotic, colored in red, white and blue, with stars and stripes. Three painters hand-painted the design.
One painter, a former Marine with a paramedic brother and friends in the FDNY who were lost on 9/11, said, “I know what it is like to have served… and what you have to give up. So I love the fact that even though Colossal is so big and so busy, we still make time to give back to the people who volunteer to help the community.”
Colossal Media, which has outlets in six major US cities, has done a number of charitable works including two other fire station doors in New York City. Without doubt our tiny village has the boldest of these fire doors.

Colossal Media’s mural for the Metropolitan Museum of Art along the High Line in NYC.


The company specializes in large-scale, hand-painted outdoor advertising. Many of the 500 works they create each year are in New York City including Desigual, art by Barbara Kruger along the High Line, and ads for the MET along the High Line. They are an Instagram favorite (at @colossalmedia).

It is fun to look at how they paint from a sketch on site. Check out this video to see the team create a small  ad on a brick building

 
 
Brief Photographic history of the Jackson Engine  Fire Station doors
 

1863-1892 The Jackson Street Station This 1885 photo shows the plain wooden doors of Jackson 3 station. Note the bell tower on the right and the small polished steamer fire engine. The fireman could fit into the 2010s with facial hair, fitted jackets and pants. Note the two men looking out from the second floor.


1892-1909 Main Street Village Hall (now Hudson House restaurant) Village Hall is seen after the Blizzard of 1888. The fire station was located on the first floor, the village administration on the second floor. Note the handsome arched doors with attractive windows.  An incendiary fire in 1909 destroyed the fire engines and the companies moved.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

1911-2006 Nyack Central Fire Station on Park Street Nyack Central Fire Station in its new home on Park Street. Jackson Fire and Jackson Hose occupied the building at the time of this 1030s photo. Three fire companies occupied the building in the early days using the three arched doors separated by doors.


 
 

2006 Replacement Building. The new building design fits with well with village brick architecture. The new white  side-by-side doors with two rows of windows are an attractive upgrade over the 2005 building..


2005 Nyack Central in 2005 just before demolition. The front of the building looks tired. The original three doors are gone replaced by a single functional but unattractive metal garage door. A second door on the right is in an addition made for Nyack Patrol in 1934.


2017 with hand-painted murals. Current home of Jackson Engine #3 Company and the Nyack Fire Patrol.


Photo credits: Jackson Fire House by Mike Hays
Metropolitan Museum on the High line and Instagram photos courtesy of Colossal Media
Historical photos courtesy of The Nyack Library

Michael Hays is a 30-year resident of the Nyacks. He grew up the son of a professor and nurse in Champaign, Illinois. He has recently retired from a long career in educational publishing with Prentice-Hall and McGraw-Hill. He is an avid cyclist, amateur historian and photographer, gardener, and dog walker. He has enjoyed more years than he cares to count with his beautiful companion, Bernie Richey. You can follow him on Instagram as UpperNyackMike.

Nyack People & Places features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY. Sponsored by Weld Realty.
 




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