NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- City officials have cut the ribbon on the newly renovated Central Park Precinct station house.
The station house was built in 1871 for use as a horse stable and storage facility before the New York City Police Department took over the building in 1936.
The two-story station has 2,300 square feet of additional space and features a new lobby with a partially bullet-proof glass atrium, improved staging, arrest processing and interview rooms, mechanical ventilation and central air-conditioning, according to a press release.
"The newly restored precinct gives officers in Central Park an expanded and modernized working environment and conserves many beautiful architectural elements that distinguish this 19th century building," stated Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Newly Renovated Central Park Precinct Station House Opens
"The city's oldest precinct is now wired for the latest computer and communications technology," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. "It brings a 19th century station house into the 21st century."
"The precinct's landmark design has been preserved while the building has been brought up to modern standards," said Design and Construction Commissioner David J. Burney.
The precinct is responsible for the safety of 40 million visitors to the park every year.
"Crime in Central Park is down by 80 percent compared to 20 years ago," Kelly said.
While the department welcomed the new facility, it is saying goodbye to a veteran officer.
Chief of Department Joseph Esposito, who was at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, is retiring Wednesday after 44 years on the job.
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"This is the most professional agency in the world," Esposito said, adding that the department is always changing when it comes to technology and proactive crime fighting."We went from 'The Flintstones' to 'The Jetsons.'"
Esposito served every rank in the NYPD and earned the Combat Cross and Medal for Valor.
"I'm so blessed that every day I get up and I'm going to a job that I love to do," Esposito said. "I haven't worked a day in 44 and a half years. Every day has been a pleasure coming to work."
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