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The City Concealed
The City Concealed, an online video series exploring the unseen corners of New York. Visit the places you don’t know exist, locations you can’t get into, or maybe don’t even want to. Each installment unearths New York’s rich history in the city’s hidden remains and overlooked spaces.

Park Slope Armory

[vimeo id="17777635 " width="640" height="360"]

We first visited the Park Slope Armory on a rainy afternoon in May.  I was immediately struck by its details – from the lanterns to the brickwork, the armory seemed like a medieval castle from a different time. Entering through the Park Slope Armory YMCA’s entrance on 15th street, it felt as though we’d gone from night to day.

We returned to the armory in October with architectural historian Francis Morrone and had the opportunity to explore the building further.   Sitting in the red bleachers above the old drill floor and walking through the halls where classes are now held, I could sense that the space had a unique presence, as though the history of the building and its various residents live within the walls. Although we never met the armory’s rumored ghost (a veteran who died before he was sent out on WWI), it’s not hard to picture him here.

Early on in the armory’s history, the YMCA sponsored track and field events on the drill floor. Tom Gallagher, an 86-year-old Park Slope resident and member of the Park Slope Armory YMCA, used to play basketball at the armory as a teenager. He still recalls the tanks and canons they used to share the armory with, and the old setup of the bleachers used for games. “Basketball was a big attraction for this neighborhood in those days,” he says.

Tanks and canons may no longer have a place in the armory, but its significance to the neighborhood is clearly intact.

– Michelle Michalos, Producer

  • comments (5)
  • johnnie simpson

    Glad to see the old armory being put to such good use in the community

  • James Reilly

    I was a member of the 955FA Bn and then the 187FA Bn from 1957 to 1966. A great outfit with lots of spirit.
    We were a 155mm Howitzer battalion. The unit served in the Civil War as the 14th Brooklyn Regiment.
    The 955th served during the second world war and was known as the Rock of the Rohr.
    It then served in Korea and was awarded a presidential unit citation for for its service during that war.
    During the Civil War the 14th was nicknamed the Redlegged Devils from Brooklyn.
    At the battle of Gettysburg the 14th engaged the first Confederate trrops to decend upon the field at the railroad tracks. There is a monument dedicated to the 14th at aGettysburg.
    This building has a grand history. It should be respected by all who enter.
    It was an honor to serve there. J.R.

  • Roger Franz

    There are some fine ESL classes being taught at the Armory.On Monday and Wednesday from 6:15 to 9:15 pm., there is an Intermediate level class. On Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 pm,there is a Conversation class. The classes are part of the YMCA’s New Americans Welcome Center Initiative.
    Haven’t seen the ghost yet though.

  • John F Cope

    The sentence about “tanks;’ is incorrect. The vehicles were M5 Tractors that were used to tow the 155m Howtzers. Former member 955 FA 1950 – 1958, . John F.Cope

  • RGH2

    I spent a good part of my childhood in this place , my Grandfather ran it ~ Raymond Daliberti . Back in the ’50s I ran wild in there , seemed huge , the tanks looked real to me ,Horses , Tanks , shooting range , what a ball , wow it is so clean now , it was a bit dark from age.. Climbing the stairs raising the flag was a treat.