Despite its size, Staten Island has had only three police precincts up to now. That will change in a few months when the NYPD officially opens the fourth, whose new stationhouse is almost ready. NY1's Amanda Farinacci got an exclusive look inside.
The corner office on the second floor of the newly-constructed 121st Precinct stationhouse commands a view not only of Staten Island but Lower Manhattan and the Bayonne Bridge as well.
"Besides the size and the design and the space, it was well-selected, the location, being right off the highway and it's very easy to respond to a lot of areas," said Chief Kevin Ward, the Staten Island Borough Commander.
NY1 was given an exclusive look inside the more than 47,000-square-foot facility, designed to lower response times on a borough that up to now has had just three precincts covering some 62 square miles. Residents have been asking for another precinct for decades.
The 121st Precinct is being carved out of northern sections of the borough that are currently parts of the 120th and the 122nd Precincts.
The project was delayed by tough economic times and the city-owned land it's built on.
"The site was extremely rocky, far more rock and much harder than we thought," said David Burney, the commissioner of the New York City Department for Design and Construction. "So we spent a lot of time doing rock excavation. That held us up a bit."
The NYPD said a temporary stationhouse opened to help bridge the miles between precincts will close as soon as the new building opens.
"It's in a very similar area and the new facility is so much superior to what the satellite operates out of," Ward said.
The 121st Precinct will be the city's first environmentally-friendly station house, with plenty of natural light to help keep down the cost of heating. Cameras will monitor holding cells, watched in a processing room. There are 108 parking spaces for NYPD vehicles and a fueling station as well. A stainless steel panel coats the narrow building, often referred to as "the stapler."
"You'll see the cantilever of the second floor coming over, very wide open to the community, glass entrance doors," Burney said. "So it'll feel quite welcoming to the community."
The precinct can accommodate 350 officers but that doesn't mean that's how many will actually work there. And while the NYPD said it is still figuring out staffing, the precinct is expected to open in the spring.