Flatiron District

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Coordinates: 40°44′27″N 73°59′23″W / 40.7408°N 73.9896°W / 40.7408; -73.9896

View looking south (downtown) from the Empire State Building at part of the Flatiron District. The Flatiron Building is the triangular building at right center. To the left is the Met Life Tower, with Madison Square Park in front. Between the park and the tower, at street level, Madison Avenue begins at 23rd Street and runs uptown (toward bottom of image). Madison Square is the intersection in front of the Flatiron, where Fifth Avenue and Broadway cross. (Fifth goes to the right, Broadway to the left.) The trees of Union Square Park can be seen in the top left of the image.

The Flatiron District is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, named after the Flatiron Building at 23rd Street, Broadway and Fifth Avenue. Generally the Flatiron District can be said to be bounded by 20th Street, Union Square and Greenwich Village to the south; the Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) or Seventh Avenue and Chelsea to the west; 25th Street and NoMad to the north; Rose Hill to the northeast, and Lexington Avenue/Irving Place, Gramercy Park to the east.[1][2]

Broadway cuts through the middle of the district, and Madison Avenue begins at 23rd Street and runs north. At the north (uptown) end of the district is Madison Square Park, which was completely renovated in 2001. The Flatiron District encompasses within its boundaries the Ladies' Mile Historic District and the birthplace of Theodore Roosevelt, a National Historic Site.

The Flatiron District is part of New York City's Manhattan Community Board 5.[3]

History and name[edit]

The designation "Flatiron District" dates from around 1985, and came about because of its increasingly residential character,[4] and the influx of many restaurants into the area[5] – real estate agents needed an appealing name to call the area in their ads. Before that, the area was primarily commercial, with numerous small clothing and toy manufacturers,[6] and was sometimes called the Toy District. The Toy Center buildings at 23rd Street and Broadway date from this period, and the annual American International Toy Fair took place there beginning in 1903, except for 1945. When much of this business moved outside the U.S., the area began to be referred to as the Photo District[6] because of the large number of photographers' studios and associated businesses located there, the photographers having come because of the relatively cheap rents.[7]

As of the 2000s, many publishers have their offices in the district, as well as advertising agencies,[8] and the number of computer- and Web-related start-up companies in the area caused it to be considered part of "Silicon Alley" or "Multimedia Gulch", along with TriBeCa and SoHo,[9] although this usage declined considerably after the dot.com bubble burst.

The Met Life Tower (left) and One Madison Park, (right) under construction, Sept. 2008
Sidewalk clock at 200 Fifth Avenue (1909)[10]

Buildings[edit]

The Flatiron District is located in the part of Manhattan where the bedrock Manhattan schist is located deeper underground than it is above 29th Street and below Canal Street, and as a result, and under the influence of zoning laws, the tallest buildings in the area used to top out at around 20 stories; older buildings of 3-6 floors are still numerous, especially on the side streets.

Notable buildings in the district include the Flatiron Building, one of the oldest of the original New York skyscrapers, and just to east at 1 Madison Avenue is the Met Life Tower, built in 1909 and the tallest building in the world until 1913, when the Woolworth Building was completed. It is now occupied by Credit Suisse since MetLife moved their headquarters to the Pan Am Building. The 700-foot (210 m) marble clock tower of this building dominates Madison Square and the park there.

Nearby, on Madison Avenue between 26th and 27th Streets, on the site of the old Madison Square Garden, is the New York Life Building, built in 1928 and designed by Cass Gilbert, with a square tower topped by a striking gilded pyramid. Also of note is the statuary adorning the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court on Madison Avenue at 25th Street.

Completed in 2010, "One Madison Park", an exclusive 50 story luxury residential condominium tower, sits at 22 East 23rd Street, at the foot of Madison Avenue, across from Madison Square Park. It is nearly as tall as the Met Life Tower (617.5 feet (188.2 m), compared to 700 feet (210 m) for the Tower), and taller than the Flatiron Building.[11] The asking price for the triplex penthouse is $45 million.[12]

Education[edit]

Baruch College of the City University of New York, is located on E. 23rd Street and Lexington Avenue on the eastern edge of the district. The College sits on the former site of the Free Academy (now City College of New York), which was founded in 1847 and was the first institution of free public higher education in the United States. Baruch's Newman Vertical Campus as well as the Zicklin School of Business, the largest collegiate school of business in the United States, are also located on 24th and 25th Streets between Third and Lexington Avenues.

Culture and shopping[edit]

Giving this area a bit of color are the Museum of Sex and the Gershwin Hotel, both located on 27th Street. The Gershwin is a tribute to the late pop artist Andy Warhol, and features some of his art and memorabilia throughout the hotel.

There are also many stores around the area, such as Ann Taylor, Victoria's Secret, Club Monaco and Origins. "Big-box" retailers dominate Sixth Avenue between 14th Street and 23rd Street, at the district's western edge.

The gold dome of the Sohmer Piano Building (1897) is a distinctive landmark of the Flatiron District

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ "Flatiron District Map" on the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership website
  2. ^ Neighborhoods in New York City do not have official status, and their boundaries are not specifically set by the city. (There are a number of Community Boards, whose boundaries are officially set, but these are fairly large and generally contain a number of neighborhoods and the neighborhood map issued by the Department of City Planning only shows the largest ones.) Because of this, the definition of where neighborhoods begin and end is subject to a variety of forces, including the efforts of real estate concerns to promote certain areas, the use of neighborhood names in media news reports, and the everyday usage of people.
  3. ^ Community Board 5
  4. ^ "If You're Thinking of Living in: The Flatiron District". The New York Times. December 22, 1991. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  5. ^ Kennedy, Shawn G. (June 3, 1987). "In Flatiron Area, Cafe Expansion". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  6. ^ a b Alexiou, Alice Sparberg. The Flatiron: the New York landmark and the incomparable city that arose with it. New York: Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's, 2010. ISBN 978-0-312-38468-5, p.268
  7. ^ Hawkins, David S. (October 30, 1988). "If You're Thinking of Living in:; Flatiron District". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  8. ^ Blau, Eleanor (July 25, 1985). "Mix of People and Business". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  9. ^ Pulley, Brett (February 13, 1995). "New York Striving to Become Technology's Creative Center". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  10. ^ White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot (2000). AIA Guide to New York City (4th ed.). New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0-8129-3107-5. 
  11. ^ "47-story condo tower with 90 units planned for 23rd Street", Image of "The Saya"
  12. ^ One Madison Park website

External links[edit]