Firing up young imaginations at FDNY Museum

Welcome to the New York City Fire Museum
The FDNY Museum on Spring Street, Manhattan
The FDNY Museum on Spring Street, Manhattan

There’s something inherently exciting about fire engines, we can never resist waving to firefighters as they pass us. Quite often they wave back.

Bull painted for 9/11 memorial at FDNY Museum
Bull painted for 9/11 memorial

The girls were recently invited to a birthday party at the New York City Fire Museum, in Manhattan’s Hudson Square district, just west of SoHo. It was brilliant. There was cake, there were balloons, and there were firemen. The Museum has a large room perfect to rent out for parties, which includes a trip round the exhibits, a fire safety video, and various themed crafts like colouring in a 3D paper fire engine.

FDNY Museum - children's party venue
Fire fighter themed arts and crafts

A volunteer female fire fighter gave a talk, and let the kids try on real helmets and (remarkably heavy) jackets. “Drop and roll!” has become a frequent phrase in the girls’ games at home now. Living on the 38th floor of a sky scraper, fire safety is pretty crucial, as there’s no way we could escape out the window (assuming we could even get them open).

FDNY Museum - trying on kit
T swamped by the heavy firefighter kit

We really enjoyed wandering slowly round the museum, which is tiny and therefore perfectly manageable for young kids with short attention spans. Exhibits showed the evolution of firefighting, from buckets from the time when New York was called New Amsterdam, through to modern techniques. As you might expect, there was a lot of space given over to 9/11, including a special memorial to the 343 members of the FDNY who died that day.

The girls were fascinated by the older fire engines, complete with life size model horses. It’s hard for them to get their heads around the concept of horse drawn vehicles – my own grandfather could remember the arrival of motorcars in Wales, which I remember baffling the four year old me.

FDNY Museum - old fire engine exhibit
Old fire engine exhibits

FDNY Museum - old fire engine exhibit

Selection of traditional fire fighter helmets at FDNY Museum
Selection of traditional fire fighter helmets


Old fire alarms at FDNY Museum


Tips if you’re planning your own FDNY Museum trip: 

  • The museum is v small, so it’s perfect for young kids with short attention spans
  • It’s at 278 Spring Street, Manhattan, between Hudson and Varick Streets
  • Open 7 days a week, 10am-5pm
  • Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for kids age 3-12

FDNY Museum signage

This week’s Highs & Lows:
  • The weather. I know I put this as a high last week too, but really this is New York at its best. The trees on the streets have turned the most glorious bright yellow, which is the exact shade of the iconic New York cabs, school buses and painted street lines. There have been really beautiful sunsets lately too.
  • Uttering one of my less intelligent remarks last weekend. On looking at the route map for the NY Marathon, which starts at Staten Island, goes up through Brooklyn, over the bridge and up Manhattan to the Bronx and back down to Central Park, I exclaimed “But that’s miles!” Immediately regretted it, as C gravely looked at me and said “Yes, dear, twenty six miles.”
T&B cuddling at the NY Marathon
T&B cuddling at the NY Marathon
Autumn golden foliage, NYC
Golden Fall foliage, the exact shade of cabs and school buses
Liberty and Ellis Islands at sunset
Liberty and Ellis Islands at sunset this week

Author: Alex

Hello. Toddling Round New York is my own little blog of our family's experience of moving young kids from London to New York... And of having a baby out here. They are my own baby steps of exploring this incredible city. I lived in five countries in four continents growing up, so you'd think I'd be good at this by now. Here you'll find stories and photographs of our adventures, the highs and the lows of expat parenthood, and some ideas I hope you'll find useful if you're in New York with young kids.

2 thoughts on “Firing up young imaginations at FDNY Museum”

  1. Thank you again for your lovely posts. Makes me look forward to moving to NYC more and more!

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