The hottest new amenity in NYC dwellings is the “safe room”

A still from the film "Panic Room"
A still from the film “Panic Room”

In de Blasio’s ever-increasing danger zone of a city (so they say…), the latest modern amenity sweeping Gotham is the “Safe Room.”

Homeowners want to not only lock themselves away from external dangers that pose a threat to them, but want the option to lock everyone and everything out at the flip of a switch.


A rendering of a panic room via Dwell

It appears that life has begun imitating art: The 2002 flick “Panic Room” starred Jodie Foster as a mom who unwittingly buys an Upper West Side town home equipped with its own safe room, which comes in handy when a group of intruders break in.

Now, Dwell takes us inside the modern safe room in a recent article highlighting this nationwide trend.

Short of building a mote around your urban castle, Vermont-based Tom Gaffney, who runs a private security design firm called Gaffco Ballistics, will fortify your home against any potential threat. He does his interview from a home on the Upper West Side where he is constructing something far more exciting then a closet, but will not discuss exactly where because, “The first rule of panic rooms is to not discuss panic rooms.”

He will say, however, that he constructs a hidden area in a client’s domicile that follows this approach: “Home fortification by means of dissimulation and disguise. You are not meant to know you’re in a protected space.” Dwell quotes him as saying, “Fine woodwork, exacting architectural details, and precise paint jobs deliberately cloak the fact that the room you’re standing in is certainly bulletproof; it is all but guaranteed to be on 24-hour video surveillance; and it is most likely hooked up to a biometric interface for remotely triggering automatic locks and security shutters.”

If you are into feeling more like a real OG, the other school of thought in modern home fortification is represented by CitySafe, run by a Vietnam vet and former New Jersey cop named Karl Alizade, whose creations are far more industrial and overt, as well as more transformable. Dwell explains:

“Alizade tests his products against an impressive, if terrifying, range of weaponry, including .50 caliber armor-piercing sniper rounds, rocket-propelled grenades, and even C-4 explosives. In all cases, his safe rooms win. Alizade’s products are designed to resist terrorists and small armies; they will easily repel a neighborhood burglar.”

The allure of his Mad Max-type product is that, “It is bolted together, not welded, and remains reconfigurable at every stage.” His system “can be adapted to virtually any interior layout—and, best of all, unlike other expensive home fortification projects, you can take it with you when you move.”

Now all we need is a big enough space to house these beauts, because our studios and micro-apartments do not have a square foot to spare.