A Look at Hundred Years in the NYPD's Dream Garage
When the boys in blue come to cart us away, we'll be ready for the ride.
You may not always feel warm and fuzzy about New York's Finest, but you have to admire their taste in vehicles. Take these 15 vintage photos the NYPD’s archive, a veritable cavalcade of dashing gents and shiny machines. Who knew the NYPD motor pool used to include a biplane?
Tricycle of Justice
Whatever threat this officer’s belt o’ bullets gives off is undermined by his adorable three-wheeled conveyance, photographed in 1962. If we didn’t know better, we’d think this was a rebadged Florentine bread truck.
Made to Parade
In 1925, this new police truck from the White Motor Company was the pride of the NYPD. While certainly purposeful in black, this convertible hauler would also seem perfectly suited to the department's annual summer picnic. Justice al fresco, anyone?
New York, of course, isn’t just Sim City built on schist. It’s rivers, harbors, seas and inlets. As such, the NYPD is equipped with a fleet of AgustaWestland Koala and Bell 429 helicopters to get officers (and scuba units) exactly where they need to be. Have rotor, will travel.
Secretary of Street
It’s rare to see a Plymouth or a car phone these days, but in 1964, both were top-spec police technology. Officers demanded only the best to deal with the scourge of Beatlemania.
Coupe de Chill
The cars may change, but the realities of police work remain the same: Sometimes, patrolling a neighborhood means sitting in the cruiser and waiting for something to happen. This 1925 coupe was definitely not equipped with air conditioning—rough, but nothing a few five-cent apples and doughnuts couldn’t alleviate.
The 1931 NYPD Motorcycle Division: proud men, proud bikes, somewhat cumbersome looking-windshields and altogether magnificent horns. Hell’s Kitchen’s Angels?
Adjacent Nassau County’s highway patrol cars, shined for inspection. Nothing against today’s Ford Tauruses and Chevy Suburbans, but police cars in 1935 had some real elegance. Bumper-mounted spares and pinstripes: The gendarmes had gentility.
Tricks of the Trade
As menacing as it looks, this seven-officer Cirque de Soleil knock-off was not an intimidation tactic or space-saving technique. Rather, the motorcycle division was practicing for a benefit show at Madison Square Garden. The theme was Leaning Tower of Constabulary.
Bi-plane With a Badge
This might be the winner: a 1932 Loening Amphibious bi-wing with NYPD lettering on the fuselage and wire-controlled wings. Magnificent, unless you saw it over the cove where you based your hooch-smuggling operation.
Sheriffs of Sherwood
O.K., the Parks Department is clearly not the NYPD, but we couldn’t pass up these wood-panelled station wagons with that iconic maple leaf on the door. The idea of wooden cars protecting and preserving trees seems a little backward, but you’ve got to break a few eggs, right?
It’s not rare, but it’s special: the Crown Vic. An old favorite: modular V-8, rear-wheel drive and as reliable as the tides (which are coming in a bit close for comfort here). When Tropical Storm Sandy struck, these Crown Vics showed you didn’t need all-wheel drive to help out in a flooded city.
This speedboat helps the NYPD enact counter-terrorism measures in New York Harbor. Of course it’s fast (name: The Fast Boat), but this craft also carries top-shelf wizardry, like special radiation detectors.
The NYPD: Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect. Or, as much professionalism as one can muster atop a Segway.
Mrs. Tough Stuff
Though she looks downright pugilistic, this NYPD armored truck is named the “Peacemaker.” Maybe they misspelled “Piecemaker,” because this beast looks like it can mechanically separate some chicken.
The famous NYPD Harley-Davidson in crisp white and blue. Note: Not every NYPD motorcycle is equipped with a Cher.
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