For regular town and city folks, the police are the most commonly seen law enforcement body, and also the easiest target of urban frustration. Their services may be sought in the most desperate emergencies, but their job is hardly ever understood, and yet almost always criticized. Do you feel that it’s about time you and your family developed a greater appreciation for the unsung heroes of the police? What better place to begin than the most popular police force in the world – the NYPD! Even if you haven’t actually seen them, you could not have possibly missed them on dozens of TV shows and countless Hollywood movies. Well, here is an entire museum devoted to the thrills and spills that have marked the astounding history of the New York police force.
The exhibits of the New York City Police museum are spread over three fascinating floors, covering such diverse aspects as uniforms, transportation, weapons, illustrations, and communication equipment, all going back nearly two hundred years. In fact, it is not every day that you would be able to see at such close quarters what a mid-19th century police force looked like. There is also a model jail cell, where you and your kids can get an experience of life behind bars. The history section takes you all the way back to the 1600s to show you what policing was like back then. Though, for many, the most exciting part is the ‘Vintage Weapons, Firearms and Notorious Criminals’ section, which showcases the actual weapons and tools that some of the most famous criminals in the history of New York used.
The museum features an entire section devoted to 9/11, and how the police responded to the unprecedented acts of terrorism and the ensuing confusion. Next to that, there is a section devoted to the latest technology and techniques used by the NYPD to effectively counter the continuing terror threat post 9/11.
In short, you could spend your morning here and not tire. In fact, this is a place for your entire family. The museum is very kid-friendly, with a lot of interactive activities, that are designed to be fun besides teaching them how a police force operates and how to use their services best.
There is a regular calendar of events and exhibitions, and something is always on. Currently, the exhibitions include a display on the life and legacy of Lt. Petrosino, one of the most famous NYPD officers ever. The next event happening in the Five Points Walk on May 15th. It is an opportunity to discover who the real gangs of New York were, along the course of a walking tour ending in the Five Points district. To book your place, you could call the Police Museum at 212 480-3100x 116.
The museum remains open from 10 am to 5 pm, from Monday through Saturday. It is closed on Sundays and on national holidays. The museum is wheelchair accessible.
New York City Police Museum
100 Old Slip
New York, NY 1005-3539
Telephone: (212) 480-3100