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Old 07-17-2010, 04:13 PM
n/a posts


I go out onto my fire escape now and again to get some fresh air.

It is behind a building and facing another so there's no street traffic- and I happen to be on the bottom of the building save a business below me which does not have regular access to the fire escape alley.

I read most of the posted law on the matter is stringest as much as an ashtray could be construed as an 'encumberance'.

While I have no intention of putting anything -actually- on the ground where the landing & stairs are- on the side of the handrail that only impacts my apt. can I securely hang anything from the ledge?

It's a pretty small space- but I figure a carpet or at least a planter with something fake in it suspended from the ledge would make for a better view than the awful building across from me (which has no fire escape on that side).

I had considered the danger having something that -could- fall if improperly jostled would be, but there are no units below mine.
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:10 PM
Location: Brooklyn
141 posts, read 299,949 times
Reputation: 151
According to city fire codes, fire escapes should be kept entirely clear at all times (this includes the ground space beneath them). That said, it's a fairly common sight to see things on fire escapes like plants, carpets, chairs, hibachis...you name it, even on the street side of buildings. You may have noticed it's a common sight on many tenement buildings throughout the boroughs.
Unless your landlord or a city building inspector says something should be removed, just apply some simple common sense. Don't block the ladder, don't make the space impassable, or create a trip hazard, even if the portion of fire escape you're talking about is completely inaccessible in the event of evacuation. I've kept plants on the fire escapes of virtually every building I've ever lived in and I've never had any trouble, including inspectors visits and knowledge by the landlord. It's kind of like jay walking which is also against the law, only complete morons who are clearly reckless will get the ticket or get arrested.
There was once a time, before air conditioning, when people in all of the cities hung out or even slept on their fire escapes, back when most people were far more reasonable about things. Don't be surprised if some neighbor screams at you or worse, calls 311 and remains anonymous while they report you as some sort of undesirable criminal in their midst. ("quality of life" my ass!) Good luck!

Last edited by Tony Of New York; 07-17-2010 at 06:33 PM..
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Old 07-17-2010, 07:05 PM
982 posts, read 3,843,444 times
Reputation: 498
I agree with Tony. I routinely have to deal with DOB and FDNY and for the most part they ignore the fire escapes if it's reasonable. Worst case scenario, they give a violation to clear the fire escape. Clean it up, clear violation and put the planters back.
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:00 AM
Location: Brooklyn New York
15,228 posts, read 23,749,578 times
Reputation: 19847
Well, if there is a fire and people are in need of getting out quick, will anything be in the way.....if so, then it shouldn't be there.
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