Digital Storytelling and Visitor Analytics for City and Cultural Institutions
Hook and Ladder 8 was around long before it became known for being the headquarters of the most famous ghost hunters around. In fact, the fire company has been in existence in one way or another since 1866. The company's first firehouse was built at this location in 1903 after the inception of the modern NYFD. It was the first of a kind, featuring Beaux-arts architecture, large windows, arched doors for vehicle access, and decorative embellishments around the arch. Originally double the size to accommodate two vehicles at a time, it was eventually downsized and now has only one door.
Hook and Ladder 8 firefighters were among the first responders during 9/11. The firehouse almost closed in 2011 due to budget cuts, but is now being restored after a public plea to save it. Today, it remains in service to the people of New York.
The original Ghostbusters was released in 1984, starring Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, and Harold Ramis, directed and produced by Ivan Reitman. The plot of this special effects-laden comedy revolves around the three men establishing a paranormal investigation and elimination business. Together, they fight demonic spirits threatening to end the world. The Ghostbusters eventually manage to save humanity by eliminating a possessed giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man that is terrorizing the streets of Manhattan.
The idea for Ghostbusters evolved out of Dan Ackroyd's personal interest in parapsychology and his family's use of mediums. He first conceived of the plot as taking place in the future on multiple planets, traversing time, space and dimensions. When it became apparent this vision was too expensive, the script was overhauled by Ackroyd and Ramis and set in Manhattan. Ackroyd originally envisioned John Belushi playing the part eventually given to Bill Murray; after Belushi died of an overdose, Ackroyd designed Slimer, the first ectoplasmic ghost caught by the Ghostbusters, as a sort of tribute to his deceased friend. John Candy was also originally slated for a part in the movie, but when he could not commit, it was given to Rick Moranis instead.
Hook and Ladder 8 was chosen as the headquarters for the Ghostbusters trio when an early draft of the script envisioned them as public servants of sorts. Reportedly, this particular firehouse appealed to Ackroyd both aesthetically and because he knew and loved the Tribeca neighborhood where it was located. In the 2016 all-female reboot of Ghostbusters, the firehouse appears twice. In the beginning of the film, the new trio rejects it when they learn the rent has risen to $21,000 a month; in the end, the mayor arranges for them to use it as their headquarters in gratitude for saving the city (and the world) from ghosts. The firehouse has been immortalized in an almost 5,000-piece Lego building set, the third largest ever released. It was also used as a filming location in the movie Hitch and an episode of Seninfeld.
Cover photo by jazz guy via Flickr