Some of New York’s street fire alarms date back to 1912, which is when this design first appeared. Variations on this theme have been carried down over the years, before more streamlined versions began appearing in the late 1950s. Since the 19-teens, lampposts, stoplights, and various sign stanchions have changed fashion every few years, yet these stalwarts, as well as the fire hydrants also used to douse conflagrations, have remained immutable and unchanging.
In the 1990s, some of them were taken out of service, as youths and pranksters ever more used them for calling in false alarms. And, along with its other lamentable traits, the wireless telephone has made fire alarms more and more redundant.
The New York City public is uncaring about the lengthy history these fancifully designed stanchions represent, and expresses its disdain for that history by repurposing these proud veterans as trash receptacles.