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The Flatiron Building is a product of its location. At the intersection where the diagonal of Broadway slashes through the north-south of 5th Avenue, a tight, triangular patch of land became home to one of New York's iconic buildings. Designed by the great Daniel Burnham, the architect behind the Chicago World's Fair, it joined the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower as the only skyscrapers north of 14th Street in 1902. They both overlooked Madison Square Park.
It's an eye-catching design. Its slender nose peeks out across the thundering lines of pedestrian and about 14 lanes of traffic, offering views from the front office up 5th Avenue towards the Empire State Building. The exquisitely detailed terracotta walls stretch up 22 steel reinforced stores to its crown over above meters above. It was originally called the Fuller Building, after its owners, but the shape caught the imagination and the nickname "Flatiron" eventually became official.
It wasn't the tallest building of the time, nor the first triangular building, but it is special in the eyes of many, and a beloved icon of New York.
I may not be well-educated in architecture, but I do appreciate it. The flatiron building is a beautifully designed and executed piece of art. Even the way it splits the roads is beautiful.
I can't help but wonder if the Culver hotel in Culver City, Los Angeles was inspired by this building.
A President in Madison Square Park
“I may be president of the United States, but my private life is nobody's damned business.”
— Chester A. Arthur (1830-1886)
This monumental bronze of Chester Alan Arthur, 21st president of the United States, is the work of sculptor George Edwin Bissell (1839-1920).
Commissioned by the Friends of Chester Alan Arthur at a cost of $25,000, the monument was dedicated on 13.June.1899. James Brown Lord, architect for the overall project, designed the polished, black Barre granite base. The likeness of Arthur, wearing a frock coat and standing next to an armchair, was cast in 1898 by the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company of New York.
During the Civil War, Arthur, a staunch abolitionist, served as inspector-general and then quartermaster, in charge of providing equipment, clothing, and supplies to troops in New York. Following President James A. Garfield’s assassination in 1881, as Garfield’s vice president, Arthur assumed the presidency. He was the first president since George Washington to take the oath of office in New York City. Two highlights of Arthur’s presidency was the successful passage of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1883, and his veto of legislation that would have limited Chinese laborer immigration. After Arthur failed to win the Republican Party’s nomination in 1884 he returned to New York City.
Monuments to some of Arthur’s contemporaries, Roscoe Conkling, at the southeast corner, and Secretary of State William Seward, at the southwest corner, may be found in Madison Square Park. Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ monument to Admiral Farragut stands at the northern end of the park’s central axis.
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Flat Iron-Realy Triangular
The triangular plan was unique in its time, and even today. It is located on Fifth Ave and close to Madsion Square. The completion in 1902 made it one of the highest buildings in the area, with 22 stories and sturctural steel frame for hard support. DAniel Burnham was the architect on the job
The Flatiron Building
“I found myself agape, admiring a skyscraper — the prow of the Flatiron Building, to be particular, ploughing up through the traffic of Broadway and Fifth Avenue in the late-afternoon light.”
— H.G. Wells (1866-1946)
Mr. Wells captured the feelings of many in 1906, when they first glimpsed the Flatiron Building.
Located at 175 Fifth Avenue the Fuller Building, more popularly known as the Flatiron Building, is famous for its triangular footprint. This design maximizes its wedge-shaped site, where Fifth Avenue meets Broadway at 23rd Street.
Built between 1901 and1902, directly across from Madison Square Park, tradition tells us that the building inspired the phrase “23 skiddoo.” It was believed that the building’s shape created updrafts that lifted the skirts of women passing on 23rd Street. When men gathered for a glimpse, police moved them along by saying, “Hey, you, 23 skiddoo!”
When completed in 1902, it was one of New York City’s very first examples of the skyscraper. Standing at only 285 feet, Daniel F. Burnham and Company of Chicago, used 3,680 tons of steel, to be exact in its design.
It is an office building, a place of business; therefore, you cannot go in, except for the lobby. You can admire the lavish, detailed, stone decoration of its façade.
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First generation skyscraper
Another architectural icon (isn't this such an overused word?) is - drum roll please - the Flatiron Building!
But the building's history and role in the evolution of building techniques make this building truly iconic. It was not only designed by that famous Chicago architect, Daniel Burnham (the same American architect that was commissioned to design the Philippine cities of Manila and Baguio), but it was one the first buildings in New York to use steel frame that enabled it to be built to 22 storeys (based on some historians, the conventional belief that the steel frame was first used in the Flatiron Building is not true; there are other buildings that were built in the 1890s that utilized the steel frame.
Even if the Flatiron Building is not what it claims to be, that is, New York's first true skyscraper, it is still worth a visit and you really can't avoid because of its very strategic location at the convergence of Fifth Avenue and Broadway.
The first Skycraper in the world
It is not well known among tourists, or those, who are not interested in historical architecture. the 22-story Flatiron Building designed in the Beaux-Arts style, is a favorite of New Yorkers. It is considered the first and the oldest surviving Skycraper with its height of 87 m though in fact the Park Row Building is older and taller.
When completed, the Fuller Building, as it was originally known, caused a sensation. Architect Daniel Burnham made ingenious use of the triangular wedge of land at 23rd Street, 5th Avenue, and Broadway, using a revolutionary steel frame. Covered with a limestone and white terra-cotta skin in the Italian Renaissance style, the building was called Flatiron because of its shape resembling a clothing iron. During construction some thought it would fall over and the building was nicknamed Burnham's Folly.
The wind-tunnel effect around the building became also popular, groups of men would gather, to watch women walking by have their skirts blown up.
The building originally housed a restaurant and an observation deck on the 21st floor, now are long closed to the public.
It was featured in the Spiderman movies as the office of the newspaper, the Daily Bugle.
Today you can visit only the small lobby to look at photos, but otherwise the building is best enjoyed from Madison Square, across the street. The lobby is located in the middle of the long facades, with entrances from both sides to publishing houses and stores, such as Zara, Bebe, BCBG and H & M for younger shoppers.
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The Flatiron Building was considered to be one of the first skyscrapers ever built, in 1902 it was one of the tallest buildings in New York City.
The Flatiron Building was designed by Chicago's Daniel Burnham in the Beaux-Arts style. Like a classical Greek column, its limestone and glazed terra-cotta façade is divided into a base, shaft and capital. It is 22 stories high, the triangular vertex tower is only 6.5 feet wide; viewed from above, this ‘pointy’ end of the structure describes an acute angle of about 25 degrees. The strong downdrafts in this area were reputed to raise women's skirts as they passed.
The building, which took its name from the triangular lot on which it was built – the Flatiron block, so called because it was shaped like a clothing iron. My Grandfather told me that the building is said to coin the phrase "23 skidoo", from what cops would shout at men who tried look under women's dresses being blown up by the winds swirling around the building due to the strong winds.
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The Flatiron Building
One of New York's most admired buildings, the Flatiron Building is certainly unique due to its very slender figure. It takes its name from its unusual triangular-shaped lot on which it was built, resembling a flatiron (pronounced "flat-iron" = an old fashioned iron). It was built in 1902, and with its 87 metre height, it was the world's highest building until 1909, when the neighbouring Metropolitan Life Tower was constructed. The Beaux-Arts design, with Neoclassical influences, is by the architect, Daniel Burnham, who designed numerous landmark buildings around the United States and beyond, including Union Station in Washington, DC. The Flatiron building is located at a strategic intersection, just south of Madison Square Park, on 23rd Street at the point where Broadway and Fifth Avenue meet. The area immediately surrounding the building has become known as the Flatiron District.
Considered odd and kind of goofy when it was built by Daniel Burnham in 1902 (it was once called Burnham's Folly), this limestone clad building was one of New York's first skyscrapers and is now one of the city's icons. To some it evokes the presence of a large oceanliner as you see it while driving down Broadway.
An interesting fact is, however that the first (although somewhat smaller) Flat Iron building was built in downtown Atlanta 5 years earlier, which was completed in 1897.
An early skyscraper
After our visit to New York’s newest skyscraper, the Hearst Tower (see above), we headed to one of its oldest, the Flatiron Building. When it was constructed in 1902 this was one of the tallest buildings in New York City and is considered one of the first skyscrapers.
The building famously took its name from the shape forced on it by the triangular lot it was built on, just like a clothes iron. It is constructed in the Beaux Arts style, with a limestone and glazed terra-cotta façade over a steel skeleton (one of the first buildings to be built by this method, which is why it could be so much higher than most at the time). It had been cleaned up since our previous visit to the city and I was pleased to see that the elaborate detailing on the terracotta was so much easier to pick out and admire (see photo 3).
Do go into the lobby to see the small exhibition there about the building’s history, with lots of fascinating old photos. When it was first built many people thought that its ultra-thin shape would lead it to blow down in the first strong wind, and placed bets on how far the debris would spread. The author H.G. Wells was impressed however:
“found myself agape, admiring a skyscraper – the prow of the Flatiron Building, to be particular, ploughing up through the traffic of Broadway and Fifth Avenue in the late-afternoon light.”
While more recent and probably more spectacular skyscrapers have somewhat inured us to such sights, you will still be impressed I think by the striking shape of the Flatiron Building and it’s a great example of early New York architecture.
When this building went up in 1902 it was considered to be one of the first skyscrapers a bit of a laugh by todays standards. It is a 21 storey limestone & glazed terra-cotta building nicknamed Burnhams Folly. It is extremely narrow 6 feet across is the narrowest point. The phrase 23 skidoo came from this area with ladies skirts blowing up in this particular area.
The Flatiron Building was one of the tallest buildings in New York City upon its completion in 1902 and is considered one of the first skyscrapers. It was designed by Chicago's Daniel Burnham in the Beaux-Arts style.
I do think this is a great building and a milestone in architecture and engineering.
Constructed in 1902 & one of the first buildings to use a steel frame, the building soon became known as the Flatiron due to its unusual shape.
It is an amazing sight when you see it up close for the first time.
A number of the most impressive buildings in the US are located here. Some have been around since turn of the century, and others recnet additions. The architecture is to admire and wonder how they were able to design usefulness and functinality at the same time. Maybe not all did. The Flatiron is one of the most impressive architecturally. Built in 1903, it is 6 feet wide at narrow point, and built this way because that is the way the lot was when purchased. The decor is called Beaux art style. It is called flatiron because of the shape/design looking like and iron.
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