Metal Roll-Down Gates, Part of Cityscape for Decades, to Be Phased Out

The metal roll-down gate on storefronts, part of New York City's landscape for decades, will be officially phased out starting Friday, when a law takes effect that requires new gates to be partially transparent.

All businesses will ultimately have to replace their current opaque gates, but have until July 1, 2026 to do so.

The City Council voted in 2009 to ban the solid gates as a quality of life measure.

Public Safety Committee Chair Peter Vallone, Jr., said at the time that the gates attracted graffiti and transformed city blocks into "dark, graffiti-strewn metal alleyways" when they were rolled down at night.

Vallone also claimed the opaque gates blocked the view of the store's interior, frustrating first responders during emergencies.

"When they roll up on the scene at 2 o'clock in the morning, they can't see. They don't know whether it's a cat setting off the alarm, or whether it's the guy on the news," he said at a press conference Thursday.

The new law applies to retail stores, drug stores, department stores, and buildings like banks, beauty shops and copy shops.

Vallone insisted the new open-weave gates will be as safe as the solid ones. "The only thing this will not let happen is if somebody is just intent on breaking your glass and not stealing anything, which is rare," he said.

He admitted open-weave gates cost about 10 percent more than the opaque version, but said he expected demand to go up and the price to go down once businesses started installing the new gates.

Starting Friday, through June 30, 2026, business owners will be fined $250 if they install a new gate that is opaque. They can avoid the penalty if they correct the violation within 90 days.

"Nobody has to replace these gates [now]," Vallone stressed, "but when you do -- either a new store is built, a new lease comes in, a new building goes up, or these gates just stop working -- then you gotta replace it with [a transparent gate]."

Contact Us