New York Today: Washing Windows, 900 Feet Up

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Washing Windows in the Sky

Watch a 360° video of window washers cleaning a skyscraper 900 feet above Midtown Manhattan.


By TIM CHAFFEE, NIKO KOPPEL and MEGHAN MCDONALD on Publish Date June 22, 2017.


Photo by Tim Chaffee/The New York Times. Technology by Samsung..

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Good morning on this radiant Thursday.

It’s a job outdoors in the middle of Manhattan, where you can see the sources of the city’s clamor but can’t hear them.

Cristian Toledo, who has been a window washer since 2009, says working outside an office building is his preferred way of life.

“I prefer to look at people working in the office than me working in the office,” he said. “I can see everything — Central Park all the way down to the World Trade Center.”

But before stepping onto any scaffolding, potential window washers must be trained. Members of the Service Employees International Union 32BJ, which represents property services workers, have to train for 216 hours in a classroom and another 3,000 hours hands on.

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That includes learning how to handle risks like the malfunctioning of equipment and problems with the weather.

“The wind — whether you’re working scaffold, on belt or on ladder — is very dangerous,” said Andy Horton, who has been cleaning windows for 33 years and trains window washers. “It’s a nonstop checkpoint. You’re checking every 15 to 20 minutes to make sure that…

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