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bveguy

Question about FDNY Keys

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I just have a question that isn't intended for any illegal activity, but I was wondering: what is the difference between the FDNY 1620 Key and the 2642 key? Is the 2642 for putting the elevator into fire service?

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I just have a question that isn't intended for any illegal activity, but I was wondering: what is the difference between the FDNY 1620 Key and the 2642 key? Is the 2642 for putting the elevator into fire service?

 

The 2642 is used by building superintendents to stop from going to specific elevator or to go express to a floor. A 1620 key will also do the same and put it into fire service (a elevator.) On another note, a 1620 key will fit into a 2642 cylinder but a 2642 key will not fit in a 1620 cylinder, trust me I have tried.

Edited by Melvin
Grammar

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The difference is that you don't need either. Possesion of those keys constitutes possesion of bugluary tools.

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 what is the difference between the FDNY 1620 Key and the 2642 key? Is the 2642 for putting the elevator into fire service?

 

There's a LOT of confusion and misunderstanding surrounding these keys, so I'll give you the full breakdown here.  NOTE - while there have been some news outlets that have irresponsibly written all kinds of "sky is falling" stories about these keys (particularly when a lock collector and retired locksmith Daniel Ferraris was selling some on eBay) but most of that was just yellow journalism nonsense.  These keys are VERY widespread and while some parties would like them to be more restricted, the cat is WAY out of the bag and has been for decades.

 

The 2642 key is the official Fire Service key for NYC elevators.  That means that it should operate in both the ground floor (or designated recall floor) hall station Fire Service Phase One key switch and it should also operate on elevator car operating panel Fire Service Phase Two key switches.  For more on what Fire Service operation is and how it works, use Google.

 

The 2642 key is cut on a Yale Y1 blank and has a bitting of (shocker) 2-6-4-2-0

 

The 1620 key is a more "general purpose" key for NYC fire personnel and first responders.  Sometimes it's been called the "Fireman's Key" but this naturally has a lot of term confusion with the former key discussed above.  This is the key that was being copied like MAD on the black market because it allows easy opening of emergency exit gates on the MTA and such (or, rather, it used to... that's been changed out most everywhere now) and it was used by fare evaders for that reason.  This key also used to open things like Fire House front doors and some kinds of key boxes found on construction job sites and other places where fire inspections and oversight were needed.

 

The 1620 key is cut on a Yale Y1 blank and has a bitting of 6-6-4-2-0

 

 

The 2642 key is still the official Elevator Fire Service key for NYC.  The 1620 key is rapidly becoming totally deprecated.

 

 

 

The 2642 is used by building superintendents to stop from going to specific elevator or to go express to a floor. A 1620 key will also do the same and put it into fire service (a elevator.) On another note, a 1620 key will fit into a 2642 cylinder but a 2642 key will not fit in a 1620 cylinder, trust me I have tried.

 

So, there is some reason for a lot of confusion here.  And it has to do with how certain key switches and locks were manufactured and pinned.

 

As you can see above, both of these keys have a 0-bitted value in the final pinning position (out by the tip of the key).  The truth is, on most installations, locks or key switches would normally not even HAVE any pin or wafer in that final position.  Effectively, the locks were just 4-pin bitted.

 

There are even SOME locks (exclusively elevator key switches, in my experience) where the FIRST position is not populated, either.  These are for elevator panels where the manufacturer wants the keyswitch to be operable by both a 2642 key (the official NYC Fire Service key) and also a 1620 key (the general purpose "Fireman's Key) 

 

Given that the 1620 has fallen out of general use, those kinds of key switches are less necessary these days, but you still see them often.

 

Another interesting note: it is possible to find locks and (especially) key switches for these systems that are WAFER locks as opposed to conventional pin-tumbler locks.  Even though Yale keys are almost synonymous with pin tumbler mechanisms, there are some parts makers in the elevator world who produce wafer-based key switches in the Y8 keyway and bitted up as X-6-4-2-X (with blanks in the front and rear position, so as to accept either key)

 

Melvin may have been confused when he said "a 1620 key will fit into a 2642 cylinder [but not vice versa]"... given that both keys are based around the Y1 blank and thus both keys have the common "Yale 8" keyway... the KEYS themselves will fit in either kind of lock without any difficulty at all.  What Melvin may have meant was that a 2642 key will often not OPERATE a 1620 lock (as in, it won't allow the cylinder to turn)

 

2642 key in a lock designed for 1620 key = non-operation is not a shock

1620 key in an elevator keyswitch for 2642 key = will operate a LOT of the time

 

Again, all of this is pretty common knowledge in the industry and also appears in code documents, etc... so I'm not really letting the cat out of the bag here.  The cat is long gone decades ago... and has found a mate, raised a family, and opened a falafel stand by now.

 

 

 

The difference is that you don't need either. Possesion of those keys constitutes possesion of bugluary tools.

 

INDman espouses a very typical but also very wrong view here.  Much respect to you, sir, but that's not what the law says.  NYC, like many jurisdictions, considers possession of anything that can get you somewhere that you don't belong to be "possession of burglary tools" but only if there is evidence that you intend to use them for a nefarious purpose. (trespassing or other criminal action)

 

Mere possession of these keys (or of lockpicks, a crowbar, etc) is NOT a crime in New York if there is no evidence of your intent to commit a crime.

 

New York Consolidated Laws of New York - PEN Title I - Article 140 - § 140.35 - Possession of burglar's tools. A person is guilty of possession of burglar's tools when he possesses any tool, instrument or other article adapted, designed or commonly used for committing or facilitating offenses involving forcible entry into premises, or offenses involving larceny by a physical taking, or offenses involving theft of services …, under circumstances evincing an intent to use or knowledge that some person intends to use the same in the commission of an offense of such character.

 

I hope that helps!  Naturally, as innocuous as much of this knowledge is, it is extremely unwise to attempt to use either the 2642 key or the 1620 key in any of the moronic ways that some people have attempted to in the past.  It goes without saying: don't mess with elevators, pay for your subway rides, and just generally don't be a jackwagon.

 

Stay safe out there and stay legal.

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Few question. Please answer either any or all of them by number:

1: Has anyone used the fire keys just to summon an elevtor quickly? 

2: do the elevators move faster when fire key is used to get it?

3: Anyone used the 1620 to get the subway elevator and does it make a noise when summoning the elevator? 

4: any stories of getting caught in nyc using these keys for simply getting an elevator?

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