NYC Date Idea: Fire Escape Drinks

Alex and I are always lamenting the fact that we don’t have a garden or balcony or any outdoor space. Once Toby goes to bed, we’re pretty much stuck inside for the night. But then! We had a lightbulb moment…

We could hang out on our fire escape. So we’ve started a little ritual of climbing out there on random warm evenings, and last night, we decided to snap some photos. First, we dress up to make it feel more like a real date. (I usually wear jeans and a T-shirt at home…or, let’s be honest…pajamas:)

Then we climb out our bedroom window. (Whoot, whoot! Nice legs!)

We sip and chat, three stories up. We can hear the street noise (cars honking), the trees (leaves rustling), and a restaurant garden nearby (people murmuring, glasses clinking)…

Do you ever drink rose? Sometimes it gets a bad rap, but it’s the perfect refreshing drink for a warm evening. And I love the bright pink hue; it just feels like summer. (Side note: You can spot the restaurant garden below us, to the left of Alex.)

Our fire escape looks across a courtyard onto another apartment building, just like Rear Window.

We love our little outdoor drinks, and I’m glad, after six years of living here, that we finally thought of it!

Do you have a fire escape? Or a balcony? Or (gasp) an actual garden? Be still my heart.

(Update: I’m wearing this silk polka-dot skirt and these Swedish Hasbeen sandals.)

  1. OMG I MISS NYC! Great post, you guys are adorable. xo

  2. When I work from home I have my morning and or afternoon coffee on my fire escape. I’m 6 stories up and get to people watch over 1st ave. I love it!

  3. My first apartment in the city had a long fire escape- spanning the front of the building. My roommate used to put down a beach towel to lay out and get some sun!

  4. What a great idea! I love going out on my fire escape and taking photos. My boyfriend is afraid to sit out there with me. He didn’t even want to put plants out on ours, he thinks it’ll fall down. We have such a fantastic view of Central Park, it would make a lovely place to have an afternoon cocktail!

  5. I love this…it brings back so many great, crazy memories. The day I moved in to my first apartment in NY, my dad bought me a little Smokey Joe Weber grill for my fire escape. My now-husband had one too and would sit in his favorite leather chair and grill through the window.

    In our last apartment in the city, we climbed over the bed to get to the fire escape. Bourbon for him and wine for me in hand, with a plate of steaks to cook! I love your idea of dressing up too!

    I have to say, I love my deck now but I know the fire escape adventures make me appreciate our backyard so much more!

  6. Kelly R says...

    Bloody Marys on my fire escape are a summer staple of mine! Luckily, my busy LES street is prime for people watching! (And neighbor spying – not that I would know…)

  7. this is too cute!

  8. I’m a bit late to this post, but I have to say I sit on my fire escape almost every day. In other apartments (with cooler landlords) I’ve also had whole farms on them. I wonder all the time why more people don’t do it. It’s the perfect place for coffee in the morning, drinks at night or the best thing is to invest in a few cushions from IKEA and get yourself set up with a little reading nook for some sunday afternoon relaxing….

  9. you guys are so cute, you gotta live in the moment. making the best life has to offer is what it is all about.

  10. To me, a fire escape is *magical*. We don’t have any outdoor space. None at all. Somebody sold our back garden decades ago and it was turned into a cinema – which has its good points, but not if you want to hang out in it and talk.

    And rose? Yes. It’s the perfect compromise.

  11. Anonymous says...

    i love that, but please be super careful! fire escapes are old and aren’t really meant to be hang out spots, even though they are just begging for it in new york city! i know of a girl from nyu who was out on a fire escape with too many people and the landing gave under the weight and she is in a wheelchair for life. i don’t mean to be alarmist but it’s scary stuff! make sure your fire escape is up to code and safe before you try this, new yorkers!

  12. That’s great ! Here in Paris, we have a sort of fire escape (called “escalier de service” in French), but it’s a little larger than yours and we managed to put a little table and 2 chairs and flowers and it’s perfect in summer.

  13. Oh, great idea! Lovely outdoor drinks to you! :)

  14. Oh my gosh! That’s so funny. How cute, and kind of sneaky feeling! Do you ever feel like 2 wayward teenagers sneaking out at night? To drink your parents’ booze? :P I love that. I love our deck, but I would never think to appreciate it the way you do your outdoor escapades.


  15. Loren says...

    It’s a really cute idea, but if I were your neighbor I might not like you if you had these dates too late. Sound travels in New York and I hate the teenagers who hang out on the steps all night. I’d certainly have an issue with a next door neighbor having a date right next to my bedroom window.

  16. We do the same! It’s such a thrill, and you pictures made me laugh because that’s pretty much exactly how I look trying to climb myself in and out. Turn on some music inside the apartment and bring a couple candles!

  17. What a marvelous idea! We have a fire escape with both park view and city view, will definitely try this before summer ends!

  18. I have a balcony but only go out when checking the weather :)

  19. I used to do this on our fire escape in Vancouver with my former boyfriend, and I remember the fire escape so fondly – it really is an “escape” :) Enjoy it.

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  21. How cute! We drink rose as well, mostly because I love the color!

  22. This is super cute! I love it. I love your blog and think Toby is the cutest. I have a little boy too who is about to turn one so I love hearing about your parenthood adventures and tips. Thank you.

  23. Testing 1,2,3 hello hello! can you read me??? omg, i did write a post and it was so nice! oook here we go again (sorry, im new at this things!)

  24. you guys are so sweet!
    and of course we drink rose – delich!

  25. We are lucky to have a garden (close to the city of Bergen, Norway) that I love. Check it out if you want:

    But I absolutely love this idea of a fire escape date. To me it feels so New York.

    While I’m at it; I’m mostly a luker around here, but now I want to tell you that I love what you are doing with this blog. Please keep it up!

  26. hahaha this is so clever and relaxing. We have a patio, but sometimes, we just want to see people, so we go outside with our wine glasses and sit on the steps. (we live on walk “down” instead of a walk up.

  27. Love It! I used to live in a 6th floor walk up in the East Village and we used to call the fire escape “the lanai”. Perfect for sipping Rose, looking at the Empire State Building, and watching the naked vaccumer five floors up across the street (!). It was definitely the most romantic place in the apartment. Now we are over-the-moon lucky enough to have a whole garden in Brooklyn, but, alas no naked vacuum lady (who knew I’d miss her?!). Thank you for bringing back those memories!

  28. stephanie says...

    this made me happy! my husband and i shared our first kiss and first i love yous on our fire escape in NYC. Memories!

  29. haha if my fire escape wasn’t so filled with tomato plants, mint plants, and our charcoal grill (shhhh! don’t tell!) we could totally do this too ;)

  30. such a cute and romantic idea! living in the city! <3
    i LOVE it & rose is the perfect summer drink!

  31. That’s our favorite rose to drink right now!!

  32. Leslie says...

    Lovely pictures, Joanna! My husband and I are blessed with a rooftop deck that still makes us swoon on warm summer nights. This past weekend we put our planters out, so it now has a few bright flowers, a mini potted herb garden, and room enough for two chaise lounges and a small cocktail table. One of our favorite things to do is head up there after our daughter goes to bed–which is why your post resonated so much! We take in the sunset and sip wine. We also take time to recognize how lucky we are to have this space and our family…that tiny moment of gratitude reminds us to enjoy everything in life we are blessed with.

  33. This is such an adorable idea. We have an old queen anne victorian cottage in LA with a nice big backyard and even a sunroom and yet, we don’t go outside for some one on one time nearly enough. I’m also the biggest advocate of rose. I’m pregnant right now, so this means I’ll have to wait until next summer to indulge in my summertime rose :)

  34. How romantic and fun idea. Every marriage Need this kind of escapes once in a while. :)

  35. Anonymous says...

    How fun! Before we bought our home my Frenchie husband and I used to do the same thing….it’s the sign of summer when you switch from champagne to rose! whoohoo!

  36. We have a big apartment and a balcony, but there’s something about it (facing the main street, having no privacy at all) that makes us just want to use it when we need to water the plants.
    We have been using the fire escape stairs for the past 2 years – they face several internal patios that belong only to the ground floor and all other buildings in our quarter. We use it to sip a martini before dinner or to smoke a cigarette after it – the funny thing is, around 11pm, there are lots of other couples doing exactly the same thing – it must be when the house quiets down. We know it, only because we see the odd orange tip lighting somewhere in the neighborhood :))

  37. How fun! I also have a polka dot skirt and I love it (mine is H&M, which suits my bugdet)

  38. This is ADORABLE! What a great way to make the very most of your space. Happy to see that you’re enjoying summer!

  39. You’re so cool. Muchos love for your date nights :)


  40. This totally made my heart melt. Oh and by the way the swedish hasbeen sandals look great on you!

  41. Lovely idea!
    We do have a large garden however it’s facing north and is surrounded by large trees so it doesn’t really get much sun.
    We therefore started having bbq on our stoop:

    Ana x