Flatiron Building in New York

Photo of Flatiron Building in New York, New York
Photo of Flatiron Building in New York, New York
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Flatiron Building
Also known as:Fuller Building

Fifth avenue between 22nd and 23rd streets, New York, New York, Flatiron District
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Not well known among those not from the area, or not into historic architecture, the Flatiron Building is a favorite of New Yorkers and admirers around the world. Perhaps because it symbolizes so much of how New Yorkers see themselves -- Defiant, bold, sophisticated, and interesting. With just enough embedded grime and soot to highlight its details. The Flatiron's most interesting feature is its shape -- a slender hull plowing up the streets of commerce as the bow off a great ocean liner plows through the waves of its domain. The apex of the building is just six feet wide, and expands into a limestone wedge adorned with Gothic and Renaissance details of Greek faces and terra cotta flowers. The building has two claims to fame -- one architectural, the other cultural. Some consider the Flatiron Building to be New York City's first skyscraper. It certainly was one of the first buildings in the city to employ a steel frame to hold up its 285-foot tall facade, but not the first. Some felt its shape (like a flatiron) was less artistic and more dangerous. They thought it would fall over, and during construction the Flatiron Building was nicknamed "Burnham's Folly." The building's cultural legacy is a little more interesting and has passed into the local social consciousness as a fable. It is said that the building created unusual eddies in the wind which would cause women's skirts to fly around as they walked on 23rd street. This attracted throngs of young men who gathered to view the barelegged spectacle. Police would try to disperse these knots of heavy-breathers by calling to them, "23 Skidoo." This phrase has passed out of common usage, but its descendant, the word "scram" remains in a back corner of the American lexicon.

Quick Facts
Quotations
    "...Quite the most notorious thing in New York and attracts more attention than all the other buildings now going up together...We have to congratulate the architect on the success of his detail. . . of giving appropriate texture to his walls...The manufacturer has managed exactly to match the warm yellow-gray of the limestone base in the tint of the terra cotta above."
    -Architectural Record, 1902
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Your Thoughts

There are 49 comments.

  good memories of attending art career schoolin 1961 had great teacher mr. austin

bill brooks - Friday, January 13th, 2017 @ 9:09pm  

  I went to the Art Career School in the Flatiron in 1948 and.1949 . It was a joy! Director was Alberta T Ellison.. Mr. Austin, Mr. Duncalf. And mr. Baker taught anatomy in life classes. I can't find much on the internet about the school but it was close to my heart for all the ensuing years of my career as an artist.

Janet Sharkey - Wednesday, January 13th, 2016 @ 11:39am  

  My husband,being from New York,loves this building,as do I.We recently watched "John Wick",and this building is featured quite prominently.It is beautiful.

Scottee - Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 @ 11:01am  

  The Flat Iron Building speaks volumes for New York City, Bold, Unique, Cutting Edge,Class, One of a Kind, American ,ingenious. Alkah Labels began in 1906 and this was their corporate office. Alkahn built a label manufacturing plant in Weston, West Virginia. I managed the plant for 23 years. I had a picture of this building in my corner office. iMAGINITIVE ARCHITECTURE, A must see when you visit Bew York City.

Bob Taylor - Saturday, March 29th, 2014 @ 9:41am  

  Like Carl Presti, I also attended the art school (Art Career School - Interior Design department) that was located in the penthouse of the Flat Iron Building in 1967. I remember hearing the music from dance rehearsals on the upper floor... I tried to find some information on the web and this is the only time I've been successful. When I tell people about the school, they look at me funny and don't believe me. Once some of us were stuck in the tiny elevator for a couple of hours, which I understand happened often.

E. Richmond - Friday, October 11th, 2013 @ 1:35pm  

  I first visited New York in 1968 and to this day ..it is my favorite bldg.

Angelo Ciccone - Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 @ 4:06pm  

  I attended the art school (Art Career School) that was located in the penthouse of the Flat Iron Building in 1967.

Carl Presti - Sunday, April 26th, 2009 @ 9:48am  

  i visited an a.a. office on a lower floor 0f the flat iron building about 23 years ago. since the emblem of a.a. is a triangle it was funny to have the office in an elongated triangle.

eve hunter - Sunday, April 19th, 2009 @ 9:08pm  

  Made a beeline for the Flatiron on my first visit to NY, was a bit disappointed by the scaffolding at the lower level (in one of the pictures) but was still blown away. It's the boldness and chutzpah of buildings like this that make Manhattan what it is. Love it.

Bill Cotton - Friday, February 6th, 2009 @ 5:11pm  

  I saw the building back in 2005 on a tour bus it is a true wonder. Its in that corner and it is truly great and a must see in NYC it doesn't compare to the other skyscrapers.

ian - Sunday, December 14th, 2008 @ 12:18pm  

  There's enough good tourist spots in New York w/o wasting your time on this building.

dacid - Monday, December 8th, 2008 @ 9:13pm  

  We visited the city on Friday and headed right down to 5th and 23rd. Had to visit Flatiron again and get some pictures. Then lunch at Mesa Grill! Great day!Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill for an outstanding lunch

Cliff Hendrick - Sunday, November 30th, 2008 @ 8:36pm  

  A truely beautiful structure

D Pomare - Sunday, November 23rd, 2008 @ 12:42am  

  this building is definetly one to see along with the other well know greats of NYC!! what an amazing, beautiful city, with wonderful people!! I will be back new york, i will be back!

Amber - Wednesday, November 12th, 2008 @ 11:33pm  

  great building... saw it when i took family trip to NY from the empire state building. like how the spider-man series used it

me - Monday, October 27th, 2008 @ 8:16pm  

  I meant to praise it!!!!!!! Loooooove NY. Cannot wait to visit. My heart aches for all New Yorkers when I see pictures of the World Trade Center May God bless you all.

Jane Macmillan Millar Booth - Monday, October 13th, 2008 @ 12:08pm  

  recently visited new york and the flat iron typifies new yorks historical buildings awe inspiring and evocative cant wait to get back

chris mckenna - Sunday, August 3rd, 2008 @ 5:30am  

  Absolutely breathe taking - I could just stand in front of the marvelous structure and relive the period in which it was built. I love New York and all of it stylish and unique structures.

Beatrice Vanzant-Smith - Friday, June 20th, 2008 @ 3:31pm  

  there is one just like it as you approach boston's kenmore square heading toward's fenway.

dan - Saturday, May 10th, 2008 @ 10:34pm  

  Came to NYC, very friendly city, made a special trip to see flat iron, love it (and NYC!!)

Rob Baddeley - Wednesday, April 16th, 2008 @ 11:52am  

  Used This Building In My Historic & Iconic Building Drawings & Essay At College For Architectural Technology, Amazing Building, Truly Inspiring For Budding Architectre Enthusiasts. Love How The Building Looks Very Different Depending On The Light Hitting It & What Anle You Look At It. Sometimes Even Looks Flat. Love It

Chris Mckellar - Tuesday, February 12th, 2008 @ 12:29pm  

  I love this building - and have done from the first time I saw it in a movie. I was lucky enough to visit NY at Christmas and saw it first hand.

Chris - Friday, February 1st, 2008 @ 8:48pm  

  urgh! what an old looking building for the likes of new york! and what is so so so special about this building? there are lots in mayjor cities including london and sydney

Jake - Thursday, January 17th, 2008 @ 5:40am  

  I live in a 1896 Victorian Home in Kansas and found a 1921 Dry Goods Merchants Trade Journal which says in it that this building had a branch office in it. There were several branch offices found in Des Moines, IA as well as in Chicago-Kimball Building and also in Indianapolis. The Munsey Building in Washington D.C. is also mentioned in the article published by: W. J. Pilkington.

Shayla Betts - Tuesday, December 4th, 2007 @ 12:25pm  

  I saw it in february when i visited NY with my son . I simply love the looks of it... Very nice.... As is the whole city, come to speak of it

Geir Bugge Soeyland - Saturday, December 1st, 2007 @ 6:33pm  

  Just got back from NYC. Thought this building was in Time Square, but our tour guided bus took us there. WOW....I really love this building. Took lots of pictures of it.

Rodney Smith - Monday, November 26th, 2007 @ 9:41am  

  I first saw this building as a child. It is still awe-inspiring 50 years later.

Jim - Saturday, November 3rd, 2007 @ 3:53pm  

  this building is magnifacent

william - Wednesday, October 31st, 2007 @ 8:48pm  

  The Flat Iron build. is an icon of romantic American culture - call me old-fashion!

Donna McGourley - Tuesday, June 5th, 2007 @ 6:06pm  

  I attended art school on the top floor of the Flatiron Building 1949.It was called Art Career School.

Steve Fedos - Saturday, May 26th, 2007 @ 6:57pm  

  This is my favorite building in New York.Fantastic and unique architecture.

KarenJohnson - Thursday, May 3rd, 2007 @ 9:16pm  

  I am from Austria! I love the Flatiron Building. I saw it in 2005. New York is amazing!

Regina Schickinger - Sunday, January 14th, 2007 @ 4:09pm  

  Iconic, and then some.

Max Bucks - Wednesday, September 13th, 2006 @ 5:22pm  

  By far, the most breathtaking building in the most beautiful city in the world. I saw it last time on 4/2005 at night. Another star among stars.

Oscar Couto - Friday, February 17th, 2006 @ 9:24pm  

  Should also be remembered as the rooftop on which James Stewart kisses Kim Novak in Bell, Book, and Candle!

Robert Boyce - Wednesday, December 28th, 2005 @ 5:40pm  

  I love the Flat Iron. My Favorate Bldg. in the city bar none !

Art McColgan - Monday, November 21st, 2005 @ 11:45pm  

  this centennial skyscraper still make people to stare at it its beautiful highly detailled curtain wall and its best feature when looking at it from the east side or west side of 23rd St. it looks like a thin card only showing the facade of the building impressive tody as it was 103 years ago! and sorry paris,to dissapiont you, New York is still # 1 as the most Famous, celebrated, greatest metropolis and capitol of the WORLD!

Wilbert NYC - Thursday, August 4th, 2005 @ 5:13am  

  only one word is needed to describe it--SLIM!!!!

ooi yat fai - Wednesday, July 13th, 2005 @ 4:34am  

  The Flatiron Building: It is one of the main reasons I believe NYC is the second greatest city in the world -- the first is, of course, Paris, France.

Bogie Grass - Monday, March 28th, 2005 @ 10:11am  

  Unique and beautiful. I have a poster of this building on the wall by my computer (from the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, NY) Old picture in a greenish mist, just wonderful.

Mal Walker - Sunday, March 13th, 2005 @ 1:54am  

  One of the landmarks of NYC. Not as flashy as the Chrysler buidling or the Empire State but more remarkable in a lot of ways

dax - Thursday, January 13th, 2005 @ 3:27pm  

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