Danger! Danger! Danger! A photo collection of places you need to be warned about in the United States


Danger signs at Ellis Memorial Children’s Park in the Back Bay neigborhood in Boston

It’s become a cliché to joke about Americans who need to be warned about everything – or else they’ll sue you. I don’t know how often I’ve heard people ridicule the »Caution Hot Beverage« warnings that come printed on paper cups. Hot Beverage? Gosh, you Americans! What else do you expect when you order a coffee to go?

Without knowing her name, we’ve all heard about Stella Liebeck in Europe. A lady who sues McDonald’s because she hasn’t been warned that the coffee she ordered is served at a hot temperature: We find that hilarious. Turns out, if you do a little research on the »hot coffee lawsuit«, the details aren’t so funny after all (here’s a quick primer).

Still, on a recent trip down the East Coast, I was struck by how many danger signs one sees just walking in the streets of American cities. Inevitably, the old cliché popped up again: Everywhere you look in the United States, there’s danger, advertised in bright colors. No wonder you Americans hold your guns so dear!

I started taking pictures of this strange and foreign cultural phenomenon – and leaving out overly repetitive ones, here’s a selection of a few personal favorites:


A danger sign in the Back Bay neighborhood in Boston, pt. 1


A danger sign in the Back Bay neighborhood in Boston, pt. 2


A danger sign in my room (# 232) at the 40Berkeley hostel in Boston


A danger sign at Cooper Tank & Welding in the East Williamsburg / Bushwick neighborhoods in Brooklyn, New York


A danger sign on the construction site of the Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan, New York


A danger sign not far from Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, New York


A danger sign next to the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC


A danger sign in front of the White House

P.S.: There’s another danger sign I loved that is absent from this collection: it is stuck on the C-SPAN cameras that film the proceedings in the House of Representatives. Too bad you can’t take your camera to the visitors‘ gallery!


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