the Police Camp and Recreation Centre - Platts Clove, Tannersville

Notice: 2008 Police Camp Reunion

The Police Camp and Recreation Centre
Platts Clove, Tannersville

photos and information courtesy of
Joseph J. Gannon, NYPD retired

Postcards showing views of the old Police Camp in Tannersville (actually Elka Park). The old camp is now owned by the Bruderhof sect. The hotel is still intact, winterized and clad in vinyl siding. The pool and villas are seemingly gone but the A-Frame building is intact. A large sign on the road declares it to be the old Police Camp and tours are offered during the week only.

Note the directions to the Camp

Some memories of the Camp by Joe-
"That property along with 396 acres was willed to the "Line Organizations' (PBA, Sergeants Benevolent, Lieutenants Benevolent and Captains Endowment Association in perpetuity sometime prior to WW1. I presume it was a turn of the century hotel. Nearby "Elka Park" is not unlike Tuxedo Park with wonderful Victorian age "camps" (“camps” a la the ones owned by the wealthy in Newport!)

One of my now deceased partner's (Detective Al Grant) Dad, Acting Sergeant (Detective 1st Grade) Alphonsus Grant, was a big handsome man and a PT Instructor at the Police Academy. In fact, he was my Dad's PT Instructor when he went through the Academy when it was called "Camp Mulrooney" and built on the site of a 5000-bed WW1 US Naval Hospital (the remaining property is where the Rodman’s Neck Outdoor Range is).

Mr. Grant told me how he used to take NYPD "Riot Battalions" by steamboat to Saugerties, New York and march them to a cog railway that went up Saugerties Mountain and they'd bivouac at the Camp. I have a photo somewhere of my (Father) Grandmother and Grandfather (Irish born, a retired cop) sitting on an old WW1 artillery caisson on the front lawn.

In my youth in the 1950's, it was a popular and inexpensive vacation. It was perhaps $28.00/week for an adult and less than 1/2 of that per child and that included three meals a day! Two rooms in the hotel shared a connecting bath. There was a pool (spring fed, penguins would turn their noses up at the temperature), softball fields, a movie theater that became church on a Sunday, a bar, stocked fishing pond, etc. You had to send in a card in March that was serial numbered and hope the reservation got in the right pile or you didn't get in.

As the popularity waned in the early 1960's, they built "villas" on the lower hill (motel like units) and a giant A Frame conference center (could seat a few hundred for meals). But they were not winterized and the young cops had no interest. They even tried some portable heaters in the villas to get the cops who patronized nearby Hunter Mountain, but no good. Besides, younger spouses undoubtedly had enough of the "Job" all year and didn't want to stand around with hubby drinking with other cops, telling war stories. They could get that at home (the drinking and war stories). Then women were merged into the Patrol Force. Besides, you could go to Cancun or Bermuda or elsewhere for comparable money.

The Camp was used for years post season for the PBA Convention. One of the villa rows became "International Walk", each fraternal organization would occupy a villa and offer their specialty. For example, the Steuben Society would have Bratwurst and German Beer, the Shomrim Society would offer Hebrew National Franks and Orangeade and the Emerald Society corned beef and Harp Beer, etc. The Steubens would run around in lederhosen and run a hand cranked air raid siren, flying balsa wood replicas of the Red Baron's Fokker off the roof. One year the Hispanic Society dug a pit and roasted a pig while the PBA "announcer" on the PA system announced the Bomb Squad was looking for their dog.

Somehow, the line organizations were able to get the deed changed from "in perpetuity". The giant statue at the Camp's entrance of a Policeman with a young boy (now in the lobby of 1 Police Plaza, was removed from its spot at the entrance that it held from the 1930's. You've probably seen that statue in the lobby of Police Headquarters. The model for the child was Fiorello LaGuardia's son (Eric LaGuardia) and a NYC Detective (named Marty Gillen modeled the policeman. The Police Museum says Marty was a Patrolman in the 20th Precinct but I recall a story that said he was a Detective. He had to pin a Patrolman’s shield on and picked one randomly at the old Chief Clerk’s Office. It turned out to be the Patrolman’s shield of retired Chief Jerry Brennan. I worked with Chief Brennan’s son, Bruce, in the old 18th Squad. It was done in a studio in East Harlem. Fiorello LaGuardia, by the way, also held the rank of Major in WW1 and was a pilot. He grew up the son of an Army Bandmaster in then Camp (now Fort) Huachuca, Arizona.

The Camp lay fallow for years. The property was ultimately bought by a Mennonite sect (the Bruderhof) who is still there. They manufacture craft items for hobby stores and flea market sales. I have a lot of good memories of the "Police Camp". All the waiters were Fordham students as the General Manager had ties to Fordham. So, a lot of my classmates spent their summers there. There was literally no place to spend your money except a small bar down the road. There was more than one summer romance with a cop’s daughter."

Some recent photos of the Police Camp



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