Not Only a Fence: The Story of a Stainless Metal Standing Image

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Not Just a Fence: The Story of a Stainless Steel Status Symbol

Poking her head through the steel window guards of her parlor floor apartment in Sunset Park, she said that “because it doesn’t rust and it’s more comfortable to live in,” Chinese people tend to like steel. “It makes the house look newer and more well-polished,” she said, adding that “most of the newly renovated houses across the street here have these kinds of stainless steel products.” The steel fencing and guards helped her feel safer. (Pandemic-fueled hate crimes against Asian Americans have soared in New York since 2020, and many Asian American residents have been wary of attacks).

Mr. Banerjee, 77, who emigrated from Kolkata, India, in the 1970s, said he always aspired for more. “My parents never drove a good car, but I have a Mercedes,” he said on a recent spring afternoon, standing at the top of his doorsteps adorned with stainless steel railings.

One of his first jobs was working in a jute mill in India. When he first came to New York, he crashed at various friends’ apartments. He started applying for jobs he saw advertised in the newspaper, and he eventually got hired as an engineer at a firm.

After getting settled in 1998, Mr. Banerjee bought the house he now lives in, and over the years, he painstakingly renovated every bit of it, making it fit the vision he had — the carpets, the windows, the garage and, of course, the fence were all swapped out. “The fence protects it all. It’s growing in value,” he said proudly.

Hui Zhen Lin, 64, who’s lived in her house in Sunset Park for 10 years, said that the steel gates and railings on her home were there even before she moved in, but they were certainly part of the property’s appeal. “These stainless steel products are great because they are clean,” she said. They don’t have to be repainted like iron, and they appear naturally polished.

Xiu Zou, 48, who moved into an apartment in Sunset Park just two months ago, said that she felt more comfortable in a home with a stainless steel door. “They’re good,” she said. “They’re better than wooden doors because they’re safer.”

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