The Armory on Lexington Avenue.

Boo$t for 69th Armory

The Armory, the historic home base for the Fighting 69th Regiment, is to receive a long awaited and timely financial boost.

A trio of New York politicians has secured $90 million in Fiscal 2024 federal funding for the Lexington Avenue, Manhattan facility.

The trio are Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressman Jerry Nadler. 

The funds, according to a release from the three, will be used to modernize the National Guard Readiness Center to support military training, to enable it to serve as a state-of-the-art mobilization station, and to fully support the Army's priorities.

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The armory was built in 1904 and has not been updated in the intervening 120 years.

Stated the release: "The 69th Regiment, First Assembled In 1851, Mostly Consisted Of Irish Immigrants; The Regiment Served With Distinction, And Now Leads New York City’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade Every Year."

Said Schumer, Gillibrand and Nadler: "We’re proud to bring this Fed investment home to the historic Lex Ave. Armory, to not only honor Its rich history, but modernize the facility for max military readiness."

Said Senator Schumer: “It’s not just the Luck of the Irish in me, but it was hard work and advocacy that delivered this $90 million in federal funding for the historic 69th Regiment Armory to modernize and improve readiness.

“Not only is the armory itself a national and New York City landmark, but it’s home to The Fighting 69th, a regiment once made up of mostly Irish immigrants with a distinguished and storied history. The rehabilitation of the armory is long overdue, and it will restore the landmark to meet the modern day needs of the Army.

"The updated armory will support unit training, serve as a state-of-the-art mobilization station, and support the Army in its modernization priorities. Our New York National Guard members selflessly serve their country and they deserve the best facilities we can provide.”

Said Senator Gillibrand: “I am proud to deliver a total of $90 million in federal funding to make transformational renovations to the historic Lexington Avenue Armory in Manhattan,” said Senator Gillibrand.

“This funding will help the 120-year-old armory undergo extensive facility modernization to meet today’s readiness and state civil support needs.”

Said Congressman Nadler: "I'm proud to have worked with Leader Schumer and Senator Gillibrand to secure $90 million in direct funding for the historic 69th Regiment Armory in Manhattan.

"This funding will help restore and modernize the 120-year-old Lexington Avenue landmark to ensure it can continue to serve as the epicenter of New York's civil support response capabilities in Manhattan for years to come." 

Added New York Governor Kathy Hochul:  “The National Guard plays a critical role in New York’s readiness and civil support, and this $90 million investment will be transformative. “We’re grateful to our partners in Washington, including Leader Schumer, Senator Gillibrand and Representative Nadler, for securing this funding.”

Added the release: "The historic Lexington Avenue Armory in Manhattan, home of the Fighting 69th Infantry, was built in 1904 and requires rehabilitation to the existing 200,873 square foot building. T

"The funding will be used to modernize the facility to meet current readiness standards. After the full rehabilitation is complete, the armory will be a modern, adaptable, and sustainable facility directly supporting the readiness of assigned units.

"It will provide a professional military presence while efficiently supporting military training, Army talent management objectives, and the Army's equipment modernization priorities. The armory will be a state-of-the-art mobilization station and serve as the epicenter of the state's civil support response capabilities in Manhattan.

"... The 69th was part of the Irish Brigade made up of New York infantry regiments recruited from the Irish community and is a New York Infantry Regiment of the United States Army.

"The 69th has been deployed in four wars: the Civil War, both World Wars I and II, and the Iraq War. Currently, the regiment consists of a single light infantry battalion (1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment) and is part of the 27th Infantry Brigade of the 42nd Infantry Division. The regiment has also become known for stepping off at the head of New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day each year."

Back in 2020, with New York City in virtual lockdown at the start of the Covid pandemic, a small party of St. Patrick's Day parade marchers sallied forth in the predawn darkness to maintain the tradition of marching dating back to 1764.

The stepping off point, appropriately, was the Armory.