Widely believed to be New York’s first skyscraper, this distinctive 22 story steel-framed building is one of New York’s most distinctive sights. The Flatiron Building is one of the city’s most-photographed architectural wonders, including the classic shot through the evening mist done by world-famed photographer Edward Steichen in 1905. Constructed in 1902, the Fuller Building (as it was originally named after the construction company that built it), was situated on a small triangular plot of land then occupied by an 8-story building.
Flatiron Building in New York City
Noted Chicago architect Daniel Burnham was the architect, and his creation became one of the landmark buildings of its era. Because of this oddly shaped site, the building bears a startling resemblance to the bow of a great ocean liner, its slender hull slicing its way up Broadway through the pavement at 23rd Street. The French and Italian Renaissance facade of the building is adorned with an ornate facade of stone Medusa heads and terra cotta flowers. It was also one of the first buildings to have its own electric generator, quite an innovation back then. Six feet wide at its apex, many people feared that it would fall over.
Over time, the people came to adore it, and, while originally named the Fuller Building, it was renamed the Flatiron due to its resemblance to a flat iron.
One of the more odd footnotes concerning this building was that its unique shape created unusual eddies that would cause ladies’ skirts to fly up as they wound the corner of 23rd Street, revealing a glimpse of ankle. Young men gathered to watch this shocking spectacle and then tell their friends about it. Police would try to disperse them by yelling “23 skidoo!,” an early antecedent to “Scram!”
And for true movie buffs, they will undoubtedly recognize the Flatiron as the location for the newspaper office of The Daily Bugle in the “Spiderman” movies!
See the Flatiron Building and learn more at the Madison Square Park stop on your New York Party Shuttle Tour of Manhattan.