Monday, July 5, 2010

Chinatown's Charming Fire Escapes

Courtesy of my cousin, Emily K.

Most New York City tourists keep their eye on the sky. Whether it's midtown's skyscrapers or Times Square's neon lights, all heads are tilted up, up, up.

Not so in Chinatown. Everything to see is much closer to the ground. Live fish flopping for their lives in bodegas. Hawkers setting out their fake purses on crowded sidewalks. Food carts whipping up some unknown concoction that smells terrific.

There's so much to see so low, that maybe I just never realized that Chinatown's buildings have more than one story. At least, that's my excuse for never having noticed some of the neighborhood's elaborate fire escapes.

Yes, fire escapes.

I was shocked when I first saw them. Some of them even look charming enough to be balconies.

Made me think: If you have to escape a four-alarm fire anyway, you might as well do it in style.

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