Lifestyle Fashion

French windows: a look at the doors and windows of New York

As a young man I lived all over Brooklyn and Manhattan. I stayed in a brownstone in Cobble Hill for three years, four years on the Upper West Side, and 15 in a SoHo loft. Even after moving, I went back to work in the city for six summers, sharing apartments in Downtown, West Village, and Tribeca. In all the neighborhoods, I spent a lot of time walking and cycling the streets and enjoying the people, the shops and the restaurants of the city and, most of all, its incredible buildings.

Now that I spend most of my time in the country, I miss a feature of New York buildings that just doesn’t show up in most other places: window doors. They decorate brownstones, wrap air conditioners, prevent children from falling off skyscrapers, and, softened by bright red geraniums and green ivy, protect tens of thousands of New Yorkers from burglary and theft. They even add a certain elegance to the glazed white brick apartment buildings that everyone loves to hate in East Midtown.

They didn’t always seem that way to me. When I first moved to the city, I perceived them as bars, not doors. The only barred windows he had seen were in the prisons, and they were clearly designed to keep people in, not out. I felt sorry for the people who lived behind them.

But like many attributes of the Big Apple, window doors grew on me as I began to understand why they were so popular and so necessary. New York was not a very safe place in 1970 (although it was never as dangerous as most people seemed to believe), and those square half-inch wrought iron bars were right. In no uncertain terms, they told would-be thieves, “Don’t even think about it.”

The point was driven home further by some horror stories from the Times, tea News and the Mail about children falling from tenth-floor apartments (so did a cat, who survived a fall from the 11th floor, as I recall).

Still not crazy about cheap aluminum or alloy steel security doors that were considered essential for families with children living in skyscrapers, especially accordion-folded doors with (illegal) locks that blocked access to fire escapes. . They are ugly, not particularly safe, easy for a determined child to manipulate, and not difficult to pull off by a determined thief.

But wrought iron. What beauty, what quality, what style! The graceful curves accommodate flower pots filled with flowers or serve as a graceful lining for mundane air conditioning. A delicate fleur-de-lis softens the straight lines of a vertical door, and crisscrossing iron alloys create a diamond-shaped pattern like antique leaded glass. The horizontal white doors are reminiscent of Venetian blinds more than prison bars. Even high security doors with horizontal and vertical bars painted white can make a simple window look like one with 12 out of 12 panels. For me, they are all beautiful.

They really are a city phenomenon, I guess because city residents feel more vulnerable to crime than most residents of the suburbs and small towns. Their primary goal is to provide security, and the particular value of quality doors like those from Mr. Locks-New York Locksmith Company is that they do so affordably and discreetly. In short, they are among the most sensitive inventions ever designed to protect people and property. They are a phenomenon worth celebrating.

And, just like elegant doors with secure locks, well-designed window doors can also make a statement about the taste and values ​​of the people who live behind them, while providing an endless feast for the eyes of those who live behind them. passersby.

While prowling the internet I came across photographs of a wonderful old house in Cuernavaca, Mexico, of a set of Moorish arched windows on an exterior wall. And of course, I became familiar with the full range of window doors available from Mr. Locks, Inc., who have one of the most wonderful selections I have seen, most of them custom-tailored to your specifications. If you need to install doors in your windows, as you should, visit Mr. Locks.

I also had what I think is a great idea. Everyone has seen the best-selling poster, “The Gates of Dublin”, or one of the many knock-offs that followed (The Gates of … Brooklyn, Chicago, London and who knows where else). Imagine a beautifully photographed, beautifully designed and printed poster, “The Windows of New York”, which showcases the incomparable window doors of the five boroughs in all their variety and beauty. I bet it would be a bestseller too.

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