How Steve Buscemi Helped Save the ‘Ghostbusters’ Firehouse

Why does government bureaucracy keep targeting this one building?
How Steve Buscemi Helped Save the ‘Ghostbusters’ Firehouse

While proton packs aren’t really a thing, and there is no solid evidence that 100-foot tall marshmallow monsters can be summoned by interdimensional supermodels, at least one aspect of the Ghostbusters universe actually exists here in the real world. Okay, two if you count Ecto Cooler.

I am, of course, talking about the iconic Ghostbusters firehouse, which has a prominent role in the new sequel Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (and its marketing campaign).

In the original movie, the firehouse is a rundown dump, perfect for three disgraced academics to launch their highly-illegal, ethically-questionable business. But in real life, Hook & Ladder 8 is a working New York City Fire Department fire station.

Amazingly, the building is over a century old, and served the community in Tribeca for decades before it was immortalized in film/‘80s toy commercials. 

Despite the fact that it was beloved by fans of the movie (and also fans of buildings not getting burned to the ground) in 2011, then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg went full Walter Peck, and tried to shut down the Ghostbusters firehouse. He planned to shutter 20 fire companies in order to “help fill a $600 million budget gap.” Initially, Bloomberg tried to keep the list of which locations would be closed a secret, possibly because he knew that a lot of people wouldn’t be thrilled that one of them was where Slimer lives. Eventually, he made the list public, but only after the City Council threatened to take legal action. 

News of the closures sparked a major demonstration that saw 3,000 people protest Bloomberg’s actions. And the Hook & Ladder 8 location was a specific point of contention — and not just because of its pop-cultural clout. The station was an important part of the community and one of the first companies to respond to the September 11th attacks. At one rally outside the station, future Mayor Bill de Blasio namechecked Ghostbusters, stating, “That was a fantasy, and it was all about knowing there were people out there to help you. This is reality. If the mayor has his way, when you place that call, Ladder 8 won’t be there to help you.”

Also at the rally? Acclaimed actor and “fellow youth” Steve Buscemi. The star of movies like Reservoir DogsFargo and The Big Lebowski previously worked as a firefighter in the 1980s, and famously volunteered to return to service on 9/11. While his firefighting days were mostly spent in Little Italy, Buscemi “worked several shifts at Ladder 8.” “They’ve always helped us,” Buscemi told the crowd outside Ghostbusters HQ in 2011. “Now they need our help. Call 311. Stand up for your community.”

Due to the public pressure, which saw the city’s helpline flooded with complaints, Bloomberg’s terrible plan was eventually scrapped, and Hook & Ladder 8 was saved, thus maintaining public safety while also ensuring that the new Ghostbusters movies don’t take place in a firehouse-shaped CVS. 

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this). 


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