No one was injured in the fire that broke out about 8:15 p.m. at the iconic department store on 34th Street, fire department spokesman Jim Long said. The fire was extinguished in about an hour. Fire marshals are investigating the cause, Long said.
Macy's spokeswoman Elina Kazan said customers were allowed back in to gather their personal belongings after the scene was cleared.
Long said 25 units and 106 firefighters responded. He said sprinklers in the building kept the blaze from spreading.
Witnesses told local media they saw heavy smoke on the Seventh Avenue side of the building, which covers an entire city block and has 10 ½ levels. Dozens of onlookers gathered near the store to watch the spectacle.
The store, in Manhattan's Herald Square, has over 1 million square-feet of retail space.
On Thursday, a black actor on the HBO drama series "Treme" filed a lawsuit claiming he'd been stopped by police because of his race while shopping at Macy's.
Kazan said Friday she had no reason to believe the fire had anything to do with the lawsuit.