Harlem watchtower gets $4M in city donations

August 29, 2013 02:00PM

The city’s $4 million in donations could help to restore the last cast iron watchtower in the U.S.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer followed gifts from City Council member Inez Dickens and Mayor Michael Bloomberg with $1 million, in an effort to save the 47-foot watchtower at the acropolis at Marcus Garvey Park, located at 18 Mount Morris Park West in Harlem. Built in 1857, volunteers would use it to look for fires and ring a bell if they saw one. The crumbling structure has been nearing collapse since the 1930s. Dickens plans to turn the watchtower into a tourist spot with wireless internet. She is in talks with Urban Cyberspace, a company that develops internet technologies.

But first, the tower would need to be disassembled, the cast iron cleaned and the joints replaced with stainless steel, Angel Ayon, a consultant with Israel Berger & Associates, told DNAinfo.

“It has been standing over Harlem all these years through the good times and the bad times,” Ayon said. “It’s truly a symbol of endurance.” [DNAinfo]Mark Maurer