Monday, March 6

Creative ways to use a tenement fire escape

"In February 1860, a swift-moving evening blaze raged through a tenement on Elm Street—today’s Lafayette Street. Ten women and children died, largely because firefighters’ ladders didn’t reach past the fourth floor. ... So a law was passed two months later mandating that city buildings be made of 'fireproof' materials or feature 'fire-proof balconies on each story on the outside of the building connected by fire-proof stairs.' This regulation, and then the many amendments that came after it, was the genesis of the iconic New York fire escape—a sometimes lovely and ornate, often utilitarian and rusted iron passageway that helped cut down the number of casualties in tenement fires. ..."
Ephemeral New York
Balcony Seats to the City (Video)
NY Times: Great Escapes