It's finally winter out there, ladies and gentlemen, and, alas, while New York City apartments can have lots of amenities, a working woodburning fireplace is rarely one of them. First, they require vents and flues that lead outside and can therefore be expensive and complicated to install.
Second, even many of those blessed with functioning fireplaces in their (probably prewar) units are barred from actually using them since smoke can drift back inside the building into neighboring apartments. So what is a fireplace-wanting New Yorker to do? Here are some suggestions:
- Get something decorative: Buy an old mantle from an antique shop and add a non-heating crackling electric log to lend an authentic sound.
- Get an electric fireplace: Well-known brands such as Dimplex and Napoleon have electric fireplaces that look more realistic than others. Some even come with built-in media consoles that can help with storage in your teeny-tiny New York apartment.
- Get a ventless fireplace system that burns alcohol fuel: There’s a real flame, but no smoke. To light a fire, you simply open the lock on the safety door, insert a cartridge and light it with a long match or BBQ lighter. Hearth Cabinet makes the only such system approved by the Department of Buildings and the NYPD.
- Get a DVD of the yule log: When all else fails, pretend. It’s cheaper than a real fireplace and doesn’t require any clean-up at all.
For more, read “A fireplace in the city? It’s not impossible.”
In Case You Missed It: Every so often, BrickUnderground digs through the archives to find the best advice our experts have shared through the years.