One of NYC’s most well known buildings is the Flatiron Building which sits on a triangular block bounded by Fifth Avenue, Broadway and East 22nd Street in an area named after it, the Flatiron District.
It was built in 1902 when the building of skyscrapers was just beginning to be possible because of new building techniques and materials becoming available. It’s then startling height of 22 stories was made possible by the use of a steel skeleton which was then coated in a terracotta tiling. It is a magnificent Beaux-Art Building and it is impossible to look at it without being awestruck by its intricate detailing.
Its triangular shape was determined by the shape of the plot on which it was built and it initially had numerous critics who disliked how many windows it had, it’s design and just about everything about it. No mattr how much we marvel at it today, when it was built many just thought it was plain ugly.
It was reputed to stir up wind eddies which made it perilous for young ladies to walk past it in long skirts. There were stories of hordes of young men lurking around the building at lunchtime, anxious to catch a glimpse of a well turned ankle revealed by a wildly swinging skirt. But eventually fears for the virtue of female New Yorkers died down.
The building underwent an extensive restoration in 2005 and there are some plans afoot by an italian Real Estate Estate firm that owns a chunk of the building to turn part of it into a high class hotel. But the leases of current tenants currently make that impossible.
New York isw lucky enough to have a number of beautiful Beaux-Art buildings that all feature wonderful exteriors and interiors. The Flatiron building is definitely very much one of them, a wonderful lasting monument to the beginning of the building of skyscrapers in NYC.