The crumbling 19th Century structure is the last remaining cast-iron watchtower in the U.S. it is the only one remaining of eight that once constituted Manhattan’s emergency alert system
Most New Yorkers don’t even know it exists, but a crumbling 19th century landmark in Marcus Garvey Park is about to be turned into Harlem’s newest sightseeing destination, thanks to a $4 million makeover that will be announced Wednesday.
The cast-iron fire watchtower — the only one remaining of eight that constituted Manhattan’s emergency alert system before the days of fire alarm boxes — has been ignored for decades.
“It’s the only remaining cast-iron watchtower in the United State of America,” said Manhattan Borough Parks Commissioner William Castro, whose office plans to spend $1.1 million on the project. “It’s a unique phenomenon in New York City.”
Contractors will spend the next 12 months dismantling the structure’s rusty beams, mending the least-damaged spots and replacing the broken pieces with fresh slabs of cast iron.
Dickens, whose office pledged nearly $2 million to rebuild the 47-foot relic, called the allocation a “smart investment that will pay for itself many times over.”