Nosy Neighbor: Why Are Goldman Sachs’s Lights Always On?

Why does the Goldman Sachs building have every single light on at night? Is there a security reason? If so, couldn’t they install motion detectors? Aside from the light pollution, isn’t it a waste of money and energy? These photos were taken in front of P.S. 89, around 8 p.m. For those people with east- or south-facing windows at Liberty Luxe, it must be daytime all the time in their apartments. —K.

Not long after the Goldman Sachs building (200 West) opened, I asked this same question—on Twitter, I think—and someone who works there replied that Goldmanians really are working all the time. Ever since, I’ve kept wondering. The sheer uniformity of the lights—someone is in every office on every floor?—can’t help but raise the question. I don’t make a point of checking every night; maybe I only notice the phenomenon when all of the lights are on. After K. emailed, I contacted Goldman Sachs. The very nice representative said that all of the lights aren’t on 24-7: “We’re a global business and people are working odd hours,” she said. “Floors are lit up as needed.” That certainly seems logical, especially for a building that received LEED Gold certification, but I wondered (aloud) whether people who live nearby would dispute that. (I suppose we’ll see.) She also said that the building’s LEED-related features contribute to its brightness: The windows are fairly transparent, for one, which is why it looks so bright.

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  1. I can see the building from my bedroom window. The building is completely lit day and night.

  2. Sometimes from the movie theater, you can see lights on in empty floors.

  3. A) It’s a green building which is incredibly energy efficient so there is no cost impact to Goldman
    B) The economy and Wall street in particular is incredibly busy again and people are working harder and later again.
    C) All the smart people left Goldman for hedge funds and all the people left are not smart enough to know how to turn off the lights
    D) They are not lights but rather radioactive lasers created by evil wall street bankers which will mind numb the 99%
    E) All of the above

  4. Kiff, I wholeheartedly vote for #D.

  5. Our apartment faces the GS building and I can attest that every liglht is on every floor 24/7 and it is INCREDIBLY annoying. We will not be renewing our lease as a direct result.

  6. It reminds me of those garish lights in Times Square. Don’t they realize that people are paying a lot of money for hotel rooms there? They ought to turn those damned things off!

    I couldn’t help myself, sorry. But in all seriousness, it may be a profligate amount of light to shed, but it’s not without reason. It’s the bloody financial center of the WORLD for goodness sake (until further notice). It has symbolic value. New York City has a certain posture in the current scope of civilization. Does this really need to be spelled out? This is not the suburbs.

    The LEED certification is to its credit (though the LEED program raises disputes among architects and engineers, and is by no means a settled issue). But even if the building were less “green”, if one’s ever flown over the country at night one surmises that in the overall picture the amount of energy devoted to symbolic illumination in America is not its major ecological challenge.

    Without intending disrespect, if one moves into a building adjoining the World Trade/Financial Center can one really, reasonably anticipate anything else?

    Also, I may be alone in this, I understand, but I would like to add that I find the site very, very beautiful, and it fills me with happiness.