PIX11 TV, New York

Gaffco on Channel 11 News: Concrete bunkers no more

Safe rooms go luxe — and that security will cost you

by Joe Mauceri

Check out our recent appearance on Channel 11 News:

NEW YORK (PIX11) -- Forget outdoor space and a garage.  It seems more and more homeowners are looking for an unusual feature inside New York City homes.  Safe rooms are growing in popularity.

Tom Gaffney, president of Gaffco Ballistics, says after 9/11 he started to get requests for one or two safe rooms a year. Lately that number has jumped to more than 20 safe rooms annually. "We'll probably do about 25 this year," said Gaffney.  "We did about 21, 22 last year.  But we're looking at possible going up to 30 the following year.  So we just see an increase every year." More than half of those are residential requests here in New York.

"A lot of my business in the past has been in the Hamptons, up in Greenwhich, but now I find Manhattan itself has become a very busy marketplace for us."

But if you're picturing a concrete fortress like the one in David Fincher's Panic Room, forget about it. Space is already at a premium in the city, and most homeowners don't want to part with the square footage in their master bedrooms, so, Gaffney says the ballistic fiberglass and steel paneling is built right into the walls of the rooms.

"We take the walk-in closet or the master bedroom, before it's actually finished sheetrock, we'll install the ballistic fiber glass, steel panels.  Everything is actually hidden behind the sheetrock and behind the cabinetry so by the look of the door, the wall, or the window you really can't tell it's there," said Gaffney.

Most of Gaffney's work is in new construction, which could explain the recent boom here in New York City.  But if you're looking to fortify your own castle it won't come cheap.  Prices start at about $150,000.

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