The bustling neighborhood, as diverse as New York itself, includes some of the city’s most popular restaurants in a variety of price ranges and cuisines; a dynamic retail environment with a profusion of fashion, beauty, and home furnishings stores; superb educational institutions and such architectural highlights as the fabled Flatiron Building, the Metropolitan Life and New York Life buildings, and the exquisite New York State Appellate Courthouse. A burgeoning residential community is adding its own new vitality to this historic neighborhood. The district is easily accessed by a range of public transportation options and is just a short stroll from either Grand Central Terminal or Penn Station.

So look around explore, enjoy, and Discover Flatiron! 

 

Flatiron History

Discover Flatiron: The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC) was the first agency of its kind with initial offices in the Flatiron District. In honor of the April 1875 incorporation of the NYSPCC, the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership takes a look back at the neighborhood origins of this groundbreaking organization.

It was the plight of an orphan that led to the creation of the NYSPCC. “She is a bright little girl, with features indicating unusual mental capacity, but with a care-worn, stunted, and prematurely old look,” wrote The New York Times on April 10, 1874 in its description of the New York State Supreme Court proceedings on behalf of the child. “Her apparent condition of health, as well as her scanty wardrobe, indicated that no change of custody or condition could be much more worse.”

The young girl’s story had captured the attention of Henry Bergh, founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), which had various office locations in the Flatiron District during the latter half of the 19th century. According to The New York Times on December 9, 2009, Bergh “saw the girl–like the horses he routinely saved from violent stable owners–as a vulnerable member of the animal kingdom needing the protection of the state.” 

The case would also inspire the ASPCA founder to start a child protection agency. Bergh, along with philanthropist John D. Wright and ASPCA attorney Elbridge T. Gerry, decided to launch the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (SPCC) in December 1874.  In April 1875, the SPCC became incorporated as The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Their mission was “to respond to the complex needs of abused and neglected children, and those involved in their care, by providing best practice counseling, legal, and educational services,” according to the NYSPCC website.

In April 1880, the NYSPCC purchased a four-story brownstone at 100 East 23rd Street near Fourth Avenue (present-day Park Avenue South) that would serve as office space and temporary housing for abandoned and mistreated children. This location would make New York City history as the first children’s shelter. The agency also acquired an adjoining property in 1888.

By 1892, however, plans were underway for a new NYSPCC eight-story building and shelter at the same location. Noted area architects Renwick, Aspinwall & Renwick were selected as designers of the property, which had a reported construction cost of nearly $500,000. “The whole building will be extremely plain on the outside,” reported The New York Times on February 21, 1892, “with the idea of saving as much as possible of the building fund for securing interior conveniences and the latest modern appliances.” 

When the property made its debut with the address of 297 Fourth Avenue in April 1893, the building’s features included marble-finished walls, dormitories, elevators, a kitchen, and a roof garden with railings that served as a playground. “This Society was the origin of the numerous similar organizations which are now springing up in both America and Europe,” noted The New York Times on February 21, 1892, “[and the NYSPCC] intended to make the new headquarters an example worthy of being followed.”

Due to its expanding role, the NYSPCC sold its eight-story building in 1920 and signed a two-year lease for temporary headquarters at 214th Street and Bolton Road in Upper Manhattan. The property would also be remodeled to accommodate 200 children. 

Then, in 1922, the NYSPCC's shelter moved to Fifth Avenue and 105th Street. According to The New York Times on August 29, 1922, “From the cheerful little reception rooms, decorated with illustrations of fairy stories, to the big open-air playground on the roof, overlooking Central Park, there is everything to appeal to childish fancy.” 

However, to be closer to the courts handling child protection cases, the NYSPCC moved to its current Lower Manhattan location at 161 William Street in 1980.

Photo Credit: ASPCA of Henry Bergh, Co-Founder of NYSPCC and Founder, ASPCA

Flatiron Faces

Flatiron Faces: Agador @poochofnyc

Meet Agador, the stylish Maltipoo Instagram star with 140,000 followers @poochofnyc. The Flatiron District is one of his favorite areas for a photo shoot. “It’s a photographer's playground,” says Agador, whose résumé includes Google ads, the Rachael Ray Show, and Katy Perry’s “Bon Appétit” teaser video. “The neighborhood is a great place to socialize and relax on the benches or sit at one of the many café tables scattered throughout the Plazas.”

1. You are quite the Instagram sensation! How do you come up with your Instagram posts? Do you have any favorite spots in the Flatiron neighborhood that make great photo backgrounds?
I have two creatively insane Dads [Francis Bott and Allan Monteron] whom I've hired as my stylist, photographer, and writer. Our home base is in New York City, however, we travel the world together to capture fresh, unique, and interesting content to share with our followers on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. The Flatiron Plazas and adjoining Madison Square Park are two of my favorite destinations. My Dads produced many photos and videos from these locations as you can always capture something uniquely New York in the background, whether it is the Empire State Building, the Flatiron Building, lampposts, taxis, buses, subway entrances, seasonal art installations, or food events.

2. Your name is unique. Tell us how you got the name Agador, and how did you decide on @poochofnyc as your Instagram handle?
As a long time fan of the movie The Birdcage and the character Agador Spartacus, Dad said it was an easy choice to find a unique name for such a unique looking dog. @poochofnyc took a little more thought as Instagram names do, but it seemed easy enough to remember, although it is certainly a lot to live up to.

3. You serve some major looks. Tell us about your fashion style. Do you have a favorite piece? Go-to accessory? 
My prized possessions are my custom denim jackets. In the cold weather, I layer them with button downs and turtlenecks, and, of course, I never leave home without my favorite collection of eyeglasses, so I'm always prepared to strike a #cooldude or #agadorable pose for the camera.

4. Your signature hair has deemed you the “Bob Ross of dogs.” What is your hair routine?
Once every two weeks shampoo, rinse, condition, rinse, and tease my big round head twice a day.

5. The pressure of being an Instagram celebrity… you must get recognized in the neighborhood all the time. Do you have any memorable fan encounters?
It's always a pleasure to meet fans. On a regular basis, we have fans that ask us to meet with them for a photo. The Flatiron District is a convenient place for us and an easy location to find the out-of-town tourist. I'm not going to name drop, but you would be surprised how many celebrities we spot walking through the Park that recognize us from Instagram.

6. You have a little brother named Fred @littlefreddietinkles (good looks run in the family!). What do you two enjoy doing together? 
@littlefreddietinkles is a cutie! A bit of a pain in the keister as little brothers tend to be, but we definitely like exploring new places together as we travel around this city and the world together. He is the bad boy of the family and definitely worth a follow on Instagram for a good laugh now and again.

7. Your posts routinely feature fine wine. Where's your favorite place to grab a glass in Flatiron? And do like red, white, or rosé?
I love a good glass of red wine (well, at least Dad does)! Weather permitting, he always loves to grab a few glasses of Merlot or Cabernet on a sunny afternoon at any one of the local restaurants with outdoor seating such as Almond or Tappo Thin Crust Pizza. Outdoor seating means that I'm always welcome to join. Tables always fill quickly in the Flatiron area, so no time to be choosy! 

8. What do you consider a “must-see” or “must-do” here in the neighborhood?
I thoroughly enjoy spending my afternoons at Madison Square Park where the city feels a little quieter and more relaxed. Periodically, there are new art installations, food fairs, or even concerts performed in the Park, which is always a welcome distraction from the norm.

9. What’s your favorite building or architectural element in the area? 
The Flatiron Building and adjoining Plazas, of course! I am fascinated by the building's architectural design and details of the façade. It makes an awesome background in a photo. It is easily recognizable and iconic for New York City. 

10. Finally, choose three words to describe the Flatiron District.
Relaxing. Photogenic. Vibrant.

Photo Credit: Allan Monteron

Walking Tour

Weekly Free Walking Tour

Join our professional guides on a 90-minute journey through this vibrant neighborhood, viewing some of the City’s most notable landmarks.

Click here for more information.

What People Are Saying see

“Village meets midtown.”

When asked to describe the Flatiron District in three words

Brandon Stanton
photographer, Humans of New York

“It's a three-way tie. The architecture. The vibe. The food.”

When asked about his favorite thing about the Flatiron District

Marc Glosserman
Founder & CEO Hill Country Hospitality + local resident

“You are building a community like no other!”

Excerpt from remarks at the 8th Annual Meeting of the Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership

Gale A. Brewer
Manhattan Borough President

Quick Stats

22M+

Square feet of commercial real estate

44M+

Total 2016 MTA riders for 23rd Street (1,6,N,W,F,M) and 28th St (1,6,N,R) stations

4,650

Hotel rooms

7,563

Taxi drop offs per weekday in 2017

3.3+

Dollars invested in the Public Plazas by the BID

160K

Citi Bike trips originated or ended within Flatiron in June 2018

580

Ground floor business in the Flatiron District