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Things You May Not Know about the Flatiron Building

Things You May Not Know about the Flatiron Building

By Jiaxin Li

November 12, 2015

Not the tallest, but one of the most iconic

These days, one would not consider the Flatiron Building a skyscraper, but when it was completed in 1902, this 22-story building was the first steel-framed skyscraper north of 14th street.

With its unique wedge shape, the Flatiron Building quickly became an attraction for photographers. Built as a soaring structure rising straightly into the sky, with the quiet beauty bathed in snow and evening light, this building was born to be iconic, edgy and modern. At the time, people either loved or hated the Flatiron Building, but just as Alfred Stieglitz said, “(It is) the bow of a monster steamer – a picture of a new America still in the making”.


- Peculiar Space, Unfading Charm

Only 6.5 feet wide at the vertex, with walls cutting through at a 25-degree acute angle, the Flatiron Building imposes interior decoration challenges to its tenants. With the exception of the first floor, the building is leased by Macmillan Publishers. “We’ve tried to use every nook and cranny, but you’re lucky if you get 70 percent of the floor space”, said Steve Cohen, chief operating officer for St. Martin’s.

Regardless of interior design challenges, tenants are obsessed with the Flatiron Building. “I never, never wanted to leave (this building),” said Matthew Shear, executive vice president at St. Martin’s. When sitting in one of the offices at the building’s apex, surrounded by a stunning and panoramic New York City, watching the Empire State light up, how could one refuse to fall in love with this building?

Arts, Entrepreneurship & Luxurious Life

The Flatiron Building enjoys great recognition in films. In the Spider-Man trilogy it was the headquarters of the Daily Bugle, at which Peter Parker was a freelance photographer. In Godzilla, the US Army destroyed it while in pursuit of Godzilla. In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it was the location of the Channel 6 News headquarters where April O'Neil worked.

The “cowcatcher” space in front of the building, known as Flatiron Prow Artspace, now serves as one of the most exquisite galleries in the neighborhood. In 2013, the Artspace presented an impressive 3D installation of Edward Hopper’s masterpiece Nighthawks. Flatiron is where this iconic painting came to life.

Nighthawks, Edward Hopper (American 1882–1967)

© Filip Wolak, Courtesy of Photoshare

In the modern era, the Flatiron district has transformed into a myriad of arts, high-tech, entrepreneurship, and luxury real estate. Flatiron is one of the most desirable places to purchase a condo in Manhattan. Flatiron is an amalgamation of young designers, artists, writers, photographers, and tech entrepreneurs, creating consistent vibrancy, innovation and excitement in this historic neighborhood.


[1] Bender, Thomas. The Unfinished City: New York and the Metropolitan Idea. Illustrated, Reprint ed. New York: NYU, 2007. 42. Print.

2 Stapinski, Helene. "A Quirky Building That Has Charmed Its Tenants." The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 25 May 2010. Web. 12 Nov. 2015. <>.

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