Question: 1.

How many pay phones are there on the island of Manhattan?

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C

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A

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N

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E

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I

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W

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Solution:

There are two ways to handle this problem. First of all, you could estimate how many blocks there are in Manhattan, and assume that 75 percent of all blocks have a pay phone. (Remember, the interviewer didn’t say they had to work.) If there are about 15 avenues across Manhattan, and if the island is 300 streets long, then there are about 4,500 intersections. If every intersection indicates a block, then there are 4,500 blocks in the city. That means 3,000 pay phones.

Now add the extra step and subtract the size of Central Park. Say that Central Park is 50 streets by six avenues – that means you lose 300 blocks, or 200 pay phones. You have the figure of 2,800 pay phones. Now estimate how many pay phones exist in bars, restaurants, schools, etc. There may be a total of 3,500 pay phones in Manhattan. (This question is also sometimes used with estimating the number of manhole covers in Manhattan.)