Paper, plastic cord, canvas.
Fire escapes as a fixture of the urban landscape, functioning as both psychological and real spaces, from Tennessee Williams’ Glass Menagerie to Robbins, Bernstein & Sondheim’s West Side Story, to the Jacob Riis photographs that provide the closest visual link to the mass immigration that brought my family to New York City. These may be the escape from or the escape to.
My mother tells a story that when I was about three, while driving around Brooklyn one day, I looked out the car window and, seeing a fire escape exclaimed, “Look! Going-out-of-window-steps!” The poetic toddler-naming of this pedestrian thing entertained her to no end.