I was walking down Neptune Avenue recently when I passed this abandoned edifice of peculiar, Coney Island-esque grandiosity. What is that, I wondered. The oval, Moderne shape of the building, the decorative inlaid nickel in the shape of birds, snails and raindrops—it's just a wonderful, witty piece of neighborhood-specific architecture. Was is a bath house? An aquarium? A roller rink?
No, it was the Coney Island Fire Station Pumping Station. It was built in 1938, faced in limestone, and sits on a granite base. The Fire Department shut the station down in the 1970s. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. But it doesn't seem to have gotten much love since then. I learned from the Milli Fiori Favoriti site that it used to be even more beautiful. Four pair of stone winged horses once flanked the entrances. You can see a picture below. The ponies now live at the Brooklyn Museum.