When the Manhattan Sideways team visited this fire station, the firemen were proud to inform us that Ladder 30, fondly nicknamed the “Harlem Zoo,” has been serving the area for over one hundred years. Although they were not sure of the origin of their team’s nickname, they were happy to share some of the highlights of their history.
For example, the members of Ladder 30 were among the emergency responders at the Collyer Mansion following the brothers’ death in 1947. We were fascinated to learn that the Collyer brothers were hoarders. Therefore, it took the police and firemen at the scene several hours to dig through the contents of the house to locate them. The incident became so famous that the term “Collyers’ Mansion” is now used by firefighters to refer to any house that is made unsafe due to excessive hoarding.