If you have watched any American films, or the hit television show “Friends” then you have undoubtedly seen one of the iconic symbols of New York City, the Flatiron Building. Originally built in 1902, the Fuller Building, as it was known then, was a testament to man’s creation and the period of its construction, because at that time the building was one of the first skyscrapers in New York and the only skyscraper that was north of 14th Street.
Located in the triangle corner between Fifth Avenue, Broadway and East 22nd Street, and facing Madison Square, the Flatiron Building has had such an impact on the city of New York, that the neighborhood around the building has been dubbed the Flatiron District. Nowadays, the Flatiron Building, with its limestone façade, is historically significant and became a New York City landmark in 1966, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 and was also added to the National Historic Landmark in 1989. One of the best views of the building is from the Empire State building, which most people will get to even if they do NYC in one day.
History of the Flatiron Building
This classical Greek-style column building has stood the test of time and was designed by Daniel Burnham (1846 – 1912), a native of New York. The style of the building is regarded as Beaux-Arts, which Burnham developed into a new style known as Burnham Baroque, with similar details being seen in the Reliance Building, also designed by Daniel Burnham after the death of his partner, John Wellborn Root. During its construction period, the people of New York were concerned about the whether or not the building could withstand the winds and climate conditions that would be thrown at it on a daily basis, which even led to the locals taking bets on how far the debris would travel if the building was knocked over. The name “Flatiron” came about because at the time, the building resembled the clothing iron that was being used, which funny enough, still has similarities to the modern iron of today.
However, as history suggest this aerodynamically shaped building of 22 floors and 87 meters high has withstood the winds, but at the same time it created a wind tunnel effect, which was very popular amongst the men who used to wait at the street corners while women walked passed in their dresses.
There are numerous aspects of the Flatiron Building that make it unique, from the construction methods that were used, its shape, its design, and its impact on people’s opinions. For instance, it was the first building to be regarded as a romantic symbol of New York, it was the first building to be constructed with bent steel frames, it used 3,680 tons of structural steel, its details are featured in other famous works such as Reliance Building, Rookery Offices, Masonic Temple and so on.
The Flatiron Building remains close to the hearts of the locals and tourists alike, but this landmark building still operates as a fully functioning office block, where some major European companies have their US headquarters based. The building was last restored in 2005 and in 2009, an Italian real estate investment firm, Sorgente Group S.p.A., which is based in Rome, bought a 50% stake in the Flatiron Building. The firm, which has various historic buildings in France and Italy, plans to turn the Flatiron building into a world-class luxury hotel, with the city of New York already approving the zoning of the building so that it can be a hotel. With plans being put forward, only time will tell what the future holds for the Flatiron Building.
With an estimated price tag of $190 million, the Flatiron Building holds far greater worth to its fellow New Yorkers and tourists due to its history and symbolic importance to the history of the city.
Steven blogs for NYC Vacation Rentals, a supplier of holiday rentals in NYC.