The Real Deal New York

The ubiquitous NYC fire escape is vanishing

Fire escapes are being scraped as buildings are restored to their original splendor
April 12, 2015 01:00PM

The outdoor fire escape, an iconic piece of the New York City streetscape, may soon disappear.

As preservationists seek to restore buildings to their original state and as safety experts rethink fire protocol, the fire escape is slowly vanishing from city buildings.

“Those fire escapes are going the way of the dinosaur,” FDNY spokesman Jim Long told the New York Post. He added that these days, fireproof interior stairwells are considered a better emergency exit.

“[Fire escapes] are not handsome or beautiful or complementary to the building. As a matter of fact, they’re a detriment to the building,” architect Joseph Pell Lombardi, who’s removing them from 69 and 71-73 Greene Street in Soho, said.

Lombardi has already removed fire escapes from dozens of other Manhattan buildings.

“It’s twofold: It’s aesthetics, in that it looks nicer both outside and in, but it’s also safer,” Lombardi told the Post. [NYP]Christopher Cameron