It was, pure and simple, a communication breakdown. The hardwired intercoms in the six-story, pre-war co-op on the Upper West Side were beginning to fail. The talk/listen/buzz-in system was performing erratically, the audio sometimes so garbled that it was impossible to understand what the person on the other end was saying.
System integrators count on video intercoms to secure virtually any facility, whether it’s a remote water pump station, a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant or a multitenant apartment building. Intercoms add a valuable layer of security by letting employees or residents control who enters their facilities.
Packages, including mine, have been taken from the mailroom of my rental apartment building in Hudson Heights. I filed a police report and alerted building management. Someone was arrested. But I am still concerned about security in our non-doorman building.
Multi-tenant buildings present security challenges not found in single-user facilities. Tenants may come and go at different times. The numbers and types of visitors needing access will vary, and then there are differences between commercial and residential multi-tenant buildings.
When an untoward incident occurs where we live, our first reaction is often to look at the security system, including front- and roof-door locks, intercoms, exterior lighting, and video cameras. It is tempting to tech up: who wouldn't be awed by the programmable telephone entry and access system DoorKing 1834?
Metal door keys may be going the way of the fax machine and the phone booth. "Everything is becoming cell phone-based and we're doing more and more electronically," says Matthew Arnold, president of Academy Mail Box, an apartment house security firm that has been in business since 1948. "I think eventually keys are going to be eliminated. The only question is: how long is it going to take?"
Back in the day, visiting a friend in an apartment building without a doorman could be a uniquely New York experience. If you were lucky, the arcane buzzer system worked. Otherwise, you had to find a pay phone or yell up to a window and wait for a set of keys to be tossed down.
Change is underway in the popular Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. As the area becomes more family-friendly, many homeowners are making improvements, including important security upgrades, to capitalize on rising housing prices. The Park Vanderbilt, a seven-story, 148-unit co-op building, is a good example.
It takes layers of security - from door locks to intercoms and access control software - to properly secure an entryway. An experienced integrator plays a vital role in making recommendations and being a trusted advisor.
This year, the Coliseum Park Apartments on the west side of Manhattan installed an electronic key-fob system across 32 exterior and common-area doors. The technology, already widespread in new condominium developments, opens doors wireless and keylessly, and the data provided, like that of security cameras, helps allow the co-op's building management to target and control access.
An alleged break-in still lingers in the memories of the board members of the Coliseum Park Apartments, a cooperative just west of the Time Warner Center. Why only alleged? Because the shareholder had no evidence anyone had illegally entered.
Since I left my parents’ suburban home and began apartment living, I have had a string of unsatisfactory mailboxes. Either their locks were too stubborn, their compartments too small, or their edges too sharp.
We all want to feel safe in our own homes, and in a small co-op or condominium, any incident from theft of a bicycle to a personal confrontation can cause a major shift in perspective.
It was a question of security. The Sands, a 111-unit, 14-story co-op at 321 East 45 Street, was having intercom problems. Although the property, between First and Second Avenues, has a doorman on duty from 4 P.M. to midnight, residents were concerned about relying on the 56-year-old intercom as the only watchdog.