Some twenty years ago I described New York as the world’s largest laboratory for the destruction of brick. This view of midtown Manhattan gives a sense of why I said that. Except for a small amount of terra cotta and cast stone trim, and a stone balustrade off to the right, every inch of every visible facade is brick.
Some very rough calculations give me some 150,000 face bricks in a medium size (for Manhattan) building of ten stories, 100 feet square in plan, with punched windows. The presence of light courts would easily double that number. Looking at the number of such buildings in the city, as well as the tens of thousands of tenements and rowhouses, leads me quickly to billions of exposed bricks in the city and a larger number inside walls but not visible.
I stand by my previous statement.