Regardless of your interest in New York City history or whether you’re a proud resident, there’s one thing you should know: the city is filled with beautiful windows. This fact is a big part of the reason why NYC’s storied shopping centers and iconic buildings are so beloved and often immortalized on film, television and in books. In this week’s FYI, The New York Times’ Michael Pollak, the wizard behind that series that plumbs deep and weird questions about the city, got down to brass tacks on estimating how many windows there are in Manhattan.
The answer is probably a lot more than you think. Pollak guessed that there are about 9 million windows in buildings throughout the city, and that figure could be even higher. He based his estimate on the average building height of ten stories, and then multiplied that by the number of street and avenue blocks in Manhattan. His calculation also factored in the amount of “small inward facing windows” that don’t count toward the total. It’s a pretty robust methodology for getting a rough estimate of the number of windows in Manhattan, but even then, it will be a bit of a guess.
To get a sense of just how many windows there are, head to the renowned Fifth Avenue department store Bergdorf Goodman. The century old store is known for its extravagant holiday windows, and they take a whole year to plan out each year’s theme. Past themes have included a nod to the Ziegfeld Follies, an ode to NYC architecture and its icons (including the Empire State Building), and a ode to chocolate!