EXPLORE FLATIRON DISTRICT

DESCRIPTION

Named after one of the most iconic buildings in the city, the Flatiron District can be described as a microcosm of city life. The area sees the respite of off-peak park dwelling sandwiched by the hustle and bustle of commuter rush hour, welcoming those from all walks of life that pass through.

The Flatiron Building arguably garners more photographic attention than some of the most star-studded of celebrities. An optical illusion of sorts, the triangular shaped Beaux-Arts landmark built in 1902 culminates at the intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street to resemble a cast-iron clothes iron, (fitting in nicely with its name). At its narrowest point, the building spans only six feet wide. In this "Prow," Sprint sponsors regular art installations, which in the past have included Edward Hopper's Nighthawks and helmets from the Vietnam War.

Though in the mid-1990s the Flatiron District was best-known for its commercial real estate, the area has increasingly come to inspire more residential traction with some of the city's most highly sought restaurants. Danny Meyer's Gramercy Tavern stands now in its third decade serving American cuisine in a rustic yet elegant space. Eataly, the world-renowned Italian marketplace, stands across the street from Madison Square Park, offering classes, restaurants, and counters full of Italy's best cuisine. The well-awarded Beecher's Handmade Cheese is located in the area as well, selling artisan cheese made from locally sourced milk.

HISTORY

The Flatiron District certainly holds its own within the scheme of New York City history. Around the time of the Industrial Revolution, the area saw much development in the commercial realm, particularly in the high-end shopping department. Upscale retailers including Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany & Co., W. & J. Sloane came to populate the neighborhood, leading to its presence as a prime shopping district, the Ladies Mile.

Theodore Roosevelt was born in the Flatiron District. Long before he was immortalized on Mt. Rushmore, he grew up in a townhouse at 28 E 20th Street, a site now designated in his honor.

In 1902, the district's present-day namesake was built, and at just 20 stories high once towered over its neighbors and reigned as one of Manhattan’s tallest buildings. Widely regarded as a quintessential New York City symbol, the building awarded landmark status in 1966 and is considered one of the city’s oldest original skyscrapers.

Legend has it that the slang term "23 skidoo" (referring to the act of leaving quickly for personal benefit) originated along with the construction of the Flatiron Building on 23rd Street. The acute angle of the building on the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway causes a significant wind tunnel effect, and female passersby often as a result faced the startling sensation of their skirts blowing up. As rumor has it, men would gather at the opportunity to see these ladies’ legs (seldom seen in public at the time), and noble constables were said to give these men the “23 skidoo” – or the old fashioned boot!

LANDSCAPE

According to its most generous boundaries, the neighborhood stretches from 26th Street in the north to 15th Street in the south, and from 6th Avenue in the west to Lexington Avenue in the east. Wedged in between the lively Madison Square Park and Union Square, the Flatiron District contains much significance in its own right. After the morning commute settles down, the area sees traction from tourists eager to see some of its 19th and 20th century architectural treasures. The neighborhood encompasses much of the Ladies Miles Historic District, which stands reminiscent of the area's prominence as a prime shopping destination and designates 440 buildings across 28 blocks. The landmarked MetLife Tower and O'Neill Tower also champion the neighborhood's architectural relevance.

Fifth Avenue is dotted by many retail mainstays, including J. Crew, H&M, Victoria's Secret, Michael Kors and Ann Taylor. These stores, along with the neighborhood’s convenient transportation factor, yield a very well-trafficked area no matter the time of day.

Show Less »
Google Map Loading......
Map Legend