Ubiquitous, marvels of industrial technology, and functional too. Faux gold and silver standpipes and sprinkler systems, affixed to marble walls, trimmed with Chinese red, ebony, and yellow disks, some adorned with looping chains. Hardly noticed, but there for the viewing. In MOMA or the Whitney, they would be ooh'd and aah'd for their crispness of design, vivacious materials, chiseled lettering, and fanciful wit (some with nippled protrusions). Trust me. These splendiferous examples are from the tony 10021 zip code. It may make a difference, you know.
FYI - most necessary hardware. "Standpipes are everywhere in New York City, yet very little attention is paid to them. And what do we really know about them? A standpipe is a rigid pipe which supplies water under pressure to a water supply and/or sprinkler system in the event of a fire. And why do we need them? Because it is not feasible to run hoses from the street up stairwells to upper floors of a tall building in a fire (there are over 1,000 high-rise buildings in NYC). With a standpipe system, water is fed from the street through the vertical piping – hoses are attached from outlets at each floor."