A lot of New York icons have been vanishing lately, only to be replaced by condos and piles of artisanal spam. They took our Kentile Floors sign, our styrofoam containers (ok maybe we don’t miss those too much), even our shady but beloved Williamsburg White Castle. We’ve been trying our best to cope with this assault on our aesthetic, but we don’t know how we’re supposed to deal with this latest attack: they’re after our fire escapes. The Post reports the FDNY says fire escapes aren’t the most effective ways to escape an inferno and therefore are starting to be removed from buildings around the city. No, incorrect, cut that out.
A lot of fire escapes in the city were built as additions to their buildings, and FDNY spokesperson Jim Long said “they’re going the way of the dinosaur.” We find this insulting to dinosaurs. The Museum of Natural History is one of the few things Manhattan has going for it, and it’s all thanks to dinosaurs. How dare this guy use dinosaurs for such an insulting analogy. Dinosaurs are valued members of this city, just like fire escapes.
To pour salt in our burn wounds, architect Joseph Pell Lombardi, who has removed fire escapes from dozens of buildings around Manhattan, claimed fire escapes are “not handsome or beautiful.” Stop ruining our damn aesthetic, Lombardi. Do these people not get art? Have fire escapes ever even been about escaping fires? If there’s a fire we’ll stop drop and roll until a Dalmatian appears and lets us ride him to freedom. We got this. We are prepared. But we need that mini-balcony. That rickety, rusted fire escape is the closest thing we’ll have to a real live balcony, especially since there are poor fences now keeping us away. We’ve been growing basil there. Sometimes our cat sits in said plant. Sometimes our neighbors surprise us looking for their car and climb into the apartment through them.
Where are we supposed to smoke and get way too reflective at 3am? Where will we breathe during heat waves when our air conditioner finally dies? Is this just a ploy to replace fire escapes with very thin mini condos, ones for very wealthy cats and pigeons? We’re not sure what will become of our beloved fire escapes, but we are almost certain of one thing: Fire Escape will probably be the name and setting of a Williamsburg cocktail bar by the end of the year. Just you wait.