Situated on the West Side of Hell's Kitchen, FDNY Rescue Company 1 has long acted as a guardian over Manhattan. Organized over a century ago, on March 8, 1915, Rescue 1 is a specialized unit staffed with elite firefighters trained to handle complex rescue operations. With one captain, three lieutenants, and 25 to 30 firefighters divided into various tours serving the streets of Manhattan below 116th Street in East Harlem and 125th Street in Morningside Heights and Harlem. Their firehouse, at 530 West 43rd Street between 10th and 11th Avenue, was rebuilt after its own calamity in 1985 when a fire in a neighboring warehouse obliterated their original headquarters.
But of all the chapters in Rescue 1's storied history, none is as haunting as its role during the September 11 attacks. Answering the call to the North Tower, nearly half of the company's firefighters perished that day. They were one of the first units to ascend the stairwell of the doomed building. The legacy of Captain Terence S Hatton, who was lost in the attacks, reverberates through the fleet of rescue trucks he designed, emblazoned with his spirited motto, "Outstanding," and his initials "T.H." In 2005, their section of West 43rd Street was poignantly renamed Terence S Hatton Way. Hatton was was nicknamed "Captain Man-Hatton" for his insistence on learning the borough’s buildings inside and out.
“If you’re going to the theater, you go to Tony’s, ” said Dreni Kyqykaliu, the restaurant’s general manager. Those en route to a Broadway show are a good portion of their clientele, nearby office workers make up the lunch rush, and tourists pop in during breaks between sightseeing. “The blessing of being in Times Square is having all these groups come in. ”Anyone who has visited Tony’s will be familiar with their signature, massive portions of food that are meant to be shared family-style. This adherence to simple but hearty cooking is a trademark of the people that started Tony’s: the Wetansons. (They founded the now-dissolved 1950s burger chain, Wetson’s, which later merged with iconic hot dog vendor, Nathan’s Famous. ) Four generations of Wetansons have run this network of casual dining establishments that also includes Dallas BBQ. Unlike other large companies, however, Greg Wetanson, his father, Herb, and his son, Stuart, remain closely involved in the day-to-day operations and run things as a family business. Thanks to this amiable atmosphere, “Most of the management and the chefs have been here for twenty plus years, ” said Dreni, who joined Tony’s shortly after it opened in the 1990s.
When the City of New York acquired this lot to house Engine 65 in 1895, clubs and residents around the area feared it would disturb the peace. Having calls since their very first night on the job, and as the first responder to Times Square, it became clear that the service was needed and soon became wildly appreciated. One of the firemen, Chris, told me this was something he had always wanted to do. “I love the camaraderie between the guys, ” he said, a theme that seems to reoccur throughout all Manhattan fire stations.