I think all the fire escape should be painted and designed nicely as this one in Soho. It definitely enhances facade of apartment buildings and brings out elements of fire escapes. This fire escape is specially nice with decorative railings with the red paint.
When I have a photo like this where vertical lines are not at 90 degrees, I end up spending more time in the post production. I think the most dominant lines should be at 90 degrees, but there are lots of vertical lines in this photo and I could not pick one. If I cropped and made the left edge at 90 degrees, the building would look heavily leaning toward left and the image would not look well balanced. I chose to take this photo from this angle, because you could see the stairs, gratings, and railings. If I took it from the front, it would have been a flat image. I don’t think it would have been interesting enough.