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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)


With another New York City summer upon us, many city residents find themselves looking to fire escapes as many of their predecessors did. In the years between the Tenement Housing Act of 1867, which first required multi-family buildings to have them, and the invention of air conditioning, people slept outside on fire escapes to get away from the oppressively hot nights. Today’s residents are likely to have a window unit, if not central air conditioning, but that has not stopped many from treating their fire escapes as unofficial patios.
As time passed, fire escapes faded in importance as buildings incorporated better fire detection systems, high-quality sprinkler systems, and fireproof interior stairwells. The 1968 Building Code banned the construction of external fire escapes on almost all new buildings, and current building codes allow for the repair of existing fire escapes but not adding new ones. Some developers have even gone before Landmarks to seek permission to remove fire escapes from the buildings they hope to convert, though it must be noted that this cannot be considered unless the Department of Buildings has confirmed that the building would have safe forms of egress without them.
Nevertheless, the restrictions and slow erasure have not erased the magic of the fire escape from many New Yorkers' imaginations. Movies like West Side Story and Breakfast at Tiffany’s were made before the 1968 Building Code and incorporated now-iconic scenes on the fire escapes. Decades later, a fire escape made an appearance in the film adaptation of Rent to both bring the lovers together and cement the story’s setting in an old building. More recently, fire escapes have seen new appreciation as New Yorkers slipped out for a bit of fresh air or hosted impromptu serenades and dance parties while the city was on lockdown.
For those who wish to incorporate this feature into their own New York experience, it is important to remember that fire escapes were conceived for safety purposes first. When an older building’s staircase burned away, fire escapes were often the only chance for apartment-dwellers living above the ground floor to leave the building safely. Today it is illegal to obstruct the fire escape inside or out, store anything on it (in other words, no grilling out there!), or enclose it as a pet exercise area.
SoHo (CityRealty)

Classic Soho loft with prewar details
29-Howard-Street-01 All images of 29 Howard Street via Barnes International
Fire-Escapes-01 Image via Barnes International
Classic downtown loft is reached via private keyed elevator and looks out on Crosby Street views through oversized windows. The building dates back to the 19th century, and prewar details include high ceilings, brick walls in every room, and a fire escape. The open chef's kitchen also enjoys dramatic views and comes outfitted with top-of-the-line appliances. See floor plan and full details here.

Designer elegance in the West Village
350-Bleecker-Street-01 All images of 350 Bleecker Street via Nest Seekers
Top-floor home in a full-service cooperative has been beautifully renovated, but there was no improving on the airy atmosphere and unobstructed western exposures through classic sash windows. A chic dining nook sits just off a chef's kitchen with eat-in peninsula, sleek countertops and backsplash, and high-end appliances. The oversized master suite boasts a fireplace, massive walk-in closet, and spa-like bath. See floor plan and full details here.

Modern history in the heart of Tribeca
119-Chambers-Street-01 All images of 119 Chambers Street via Triplemint
Full-floor loft reached by private keyed elevator is rich in historic details like 14' ceilings, original ceiling rafters, exposed brick walls, and floor-to-ceiling arched windows. However, the open kitchen features a modern aesthetic as well as wraparound marble countertops, abundant walnut cabinetry, and high-end appliances. The king-sized master bedroom comes with two large closets and an en suite bath. A virtual tour is available for this unit. See floor plan and full details here.

Contemporary take on a Lower East Side classic
179-Ludlow-Street-01 All images of 179 Ludlow Street via Douglas Elliman
Full-floor, open-concept apartment is reached via private elevator and features floor-to-ceiling windows, Juliet balcony and fire escape, 9.5" white oak floors, custom lighting, and smart tech video intercom system. The spacious kitchen is outfitted with bar-style seating and high-end appliances. The master suite boasts a steam shower in the bath and access to a private terrace. See floor plan and full details here.

Chelsea charm with iconic views
241-West-23rd-Street-01 All images of 241 West 23rd Street via Real New York
Expansive apartment in a loft cooperative boasts soaring ceilings, architectural columns, hardwood floors, built-in bookshelves, and oversized windows facing the Chelsea Hotel. Only two apartments per floor allow for excellent privacy, and amenities include storage lockers, a bike room, and a central laundry room. The building is conveniently located near Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, the High Line, popular galleries, fine dining, and public transportation. See floor plan and full details here.

Prewar perfection in Park Slope
381-1st-Street-01 All images of 381 1st Street via Douglas Elliman
Gracious apartment in an impeccably maintained brownstone boasts airy atmosphere, high ceilings (including an original tin ceiling), original moldings, original cast-iron radiators, and tall windows that fill the home with natural light. The windowed kitchen is outfitted with ample cabinetry, granite countertops, marble backsplash, and high-end appliances. Both bedrooms enjoy excellent proportions, and the master suite has access to a private balcony. See floor plan and full details here.

Classic co-op in the West Village
344 West 12th Street, Unit 2B (Compass)
Second-floor home in a landmarked building features high ceilings, a wood-burning fireplace, built-in bookshelf, an open living area, and views of tree-lined, cobblestoned West Village streets. The well-proportioned bedroom has room for a queen-sized bed and additional furniture, not to mention a corner closet. Amenities include a laundry room, bike room, dedicated storage lockers, and roof deck with spectacular views. See floor plan and full details here.

Picturesque apartment in prime Chelsea area
314-West-19th-Street-01 All images of 314 West 19th Street via Compass
Charming apartment boasts abundant natural light through windows in every room, 9' ceilings, crown molding, and fireplace with slate mantle. The windowed kitchen has been updated with granite countertops, oak cabinetry, and stainless steel appliances. The windowed bath has also been updated with subway tile and white marble floors. See floor plan and full details here.

Bright Bay Ridge condop with fire escape access
307-72nd-Street-01 All images of 307 72nd Street via The Corcoran Group
Spacious apartment is flooded with natural light through massive windows and a large skylight. Interiors feature vaulted ceilings, wood-burning fireplace, home office area, and spiral staircase leading to an office loft. A breakfast bar bridges the living room and kitchen. A virtual tour is available for this unit. See floor plan and full details here.

Timeless elegance in the heart of Chelsea
338-West-19th-Street-01 All images of 338 West 19th Street via Compass
Charming apartment on a tree-lined block boasts exposed brick walls, high ceilings, hardwood floors, and decorative fireplace. The open kitchen is outfitted with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. The queen-sized bedroom comes with a generous closet. A virtual tour is available for this unit. See floor plan and full details here.

Sun-splashed Washington Heights apartment
100-Overlook-Terrace-01 All images of 100 Overlook Terrace via Halstead
One-bedroom apartment in a full-service building is located on the southernmost corner and flooded with natural light for it. A semi-private fire escape off the living room looks out on lush treetop views. Interiors boast wooden floors, exposed brick, refinished copper piping, and generous storage space. See floor plan and full details here.

Sunny, spacious East Village studio
186-East-2nd-Street-01 All images of 186 East 2nd Street via Halstead
Spacious alcove studio masterfully combines prewar charm with enough clever hidden storage to meet today's needs. Features include exposed brick walls, high ceilings, hardwood flooring, a fireplace, a raised bedroom area, and windowed kitchen. The home comes outfitted with built-in shelving, a coat closet, double closets, and a pull-out bed beneath the bedroom platform. See floor plan and full details here.

Live/work loft in the heart of Soho
547-Broadway-01 All images of 547 Broadway via Compass
Spacious Soho loft allows live/work use and is currently configured as a one-bedroom with home office and separate interior room, but can easily be converted to a two- or three-bedroom home. The chef's kitchen has been renovated with high-end appliances. Additional features include 10' ceilings, hardwood floors, in-unit washer/dryer, and east-facing floor-to-ceiling windows. See floor plan and full details here.

Classic Williamsburg rental
347-Lorimer-Street-01 All images of 347 Lorimer Street via MNS
Fully renovated Brooklyn apartment opens up to a private balcony and fire escape. Interiors feature high ceilings, custom blinds, Nest thermostat, and in-unit washer/dryer. The kitchen is outfitted with premium stainless steel appliances, and the bath has been updated with subway tiles and chrome finishes. A virtual tour is available for this unit, which shows net effective rent to reflect one month free. See floor plan and full details here.

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Content Specialist Michelle Mazzarella Michelle is a contributing writer and editor for real estate news in New York City
Spacious 1 Bedrooms with outdoor space and in-residence w/d View Property
Luxury Homes in Midtown | Newly Renovated Studio-2BR Homes View Property
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