Bay Ridge residents are urging shop owners to install see-through roll-down security gates — and are moving toward proposing an out-and-out ban if storeowners do not replace their solid metal shutters in favor of the fence-like guards.
Community Board 10’s Zoning and Land Use committee voted on Oct. 14 to ask Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) to draft a ban on the solid fences, which some people at the meeting derided as “ghetto gates.”
“It’s a quality-of-life issue,” said Greg Ahl, who uses see-through gates to secure his electronics shop Ahl Tone Communications, which is on Fifth Avenue near the corner of Senator Street.
“The solid gates make the neighborhood look terrible and they’re an invitation for graffiti,” he added.
See-through gates don’t just improve aesthetics — they can boost sales, argued Jason Miller, who owns Happy Pets on Fourth Avenue near the corner of 99th Street, which uses a combination of solid and see-through gates.
“I’m in favor of the gates that have slats instead of the solid gates — they look nicer and they allow potential customers to see into the store, even when we’re closed,” Miller said.
That added visibility makes them a favorite for firefighters, said FDNY spokesman Jim Long.
Police also prefer the see-through gates. When crooks break into shops with solid roll-down gates, they often lower the shutters behind them, making the burglary undetectable from the street, according to Deputy Inspector Eric Rodriguez, commanding officer of Bay Ridge’s 68 Precinct.
But see-through gates also have their disadvantages. They are less secure than solid gates, and about 30 percent more expensive, security experts told The Brooklyn Paper.
And not everyone in Bay Ridge considers solid shutters to be gates of hell.
“I don’t see what the problem is,” said Christina Nasri, an employee at Paneantico Bakery at the corner of 92nd Street and Third Avenue, which uses solid gates.