One of the top Instagram-worthy stops to make during your New York City visit is to the Flatiron Building. This symbolic New York City landmark is located on the narrow wedge-shaped block at the intersection of Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and 23rd Street. The 22-story, 285-foot building is a mere 6.5 feet wide at its northern point. It wasn’t always revered as the architectural masterpiece that it is today. Originally this landmark came under tight scrutiny. Not only did New Yorkers fear it would easily topple over but it was described as a monstrosity and often portrayed negatively in the press. It soon caught the architectural eye of artists and photographers alike who not only appreciated its uniqueness but helped changed the building’s image for native New Yorkers and visitors to the city.
The building houses many of New York’s publishing companies but plans are in the works to convert the building to a luxury hotel. If you have travel plans to the city in or around 2020 then be sure to be among the first to experience the Flatiron Building in a unique way.
In 1899 the famous pie-shaped real estate plot was purchased with plans to become the headquarters for the Chicago contracting firm, George A. Fuller Company. It was to become the first skyscraper north of Union Square. The architect was Daniel Burnham. During the time the building was coming under harsh criticism for its unorthodox design it was referred to as Burnham’s Folly. When the building opened in 1902 it was first named the Fuller Building. When local residents equated the building to the shape of the clothing irons of that time it was dubbed the Flatiron Building.
Looking for the Ladies Room?
If you happen to stop at the Flatiron Building in search of the restrooms you may find it a bit of a challenge. Due to a flaw in the design, men’s and women’s restrooms are not located on the same floor. Visitors will find men’s restrooms located on the even numbered floors while women’s rooms can be found on the odd numbered floors.
Hang on to your hat if you are visiting the Flatiron Building and admiring the views from 23rd Street. As the wind comes up from Madison Park it creates quite the wind tunnel for those passing by this wedge-shaped landmark. In the early 1900s, when the building was newly opened men at that time would take note of these conditions in hopes of seeing the wind catch the ladies’ skirts. The NYPD was aware of this situation and would patrol the area telling these men to “Scram,” or “Skedaddle.” This is where the old term “23 Skidoo” was originated as it means to get lost.
Sprint Flatiron Prow Artspace
Visitors to the Flatiron Building can’t help but notice a glass-enclosed apex attached to this well-known landmark. The space provides a beautiful showcase for photographers and artists to display their work. The glass gallery has an interesting rotation of exhibits with an emphasis on sustainability and eco-friendly living.
For more unmissable things to do and see, check out our guide to the best New York tours.