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.
Unless 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.
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
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.