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: Women's Right To Vote

As New Yorkers prepare to cast their ballots on November 7, the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership honors the role of two monumental marches in the District which helped spark women’s right-to-vote in New York State and subsequent passage of the U.S. Constitution’s 19th Amendment in 1920.

“Through the chill of a windy afternoon, though the sun shone on the mighty host, the great army of women passed, the white costumes of many glittering in the sunlight, defying the cold wind that the onlookers felt to their spines as they stood to see it all,” reported the New York Sun the day after the historic October 23, 1915, five-mile of an estimated 25,000 women who had walked uptown on Fifth Avenue.

Suffragists Dr. Anna Howard Shaw and Carrie Chapman Catt, founder of the League of Women Voters, led marchers from Washington Square through a number of neighborhoods, including Flatiron, before the parade’s terminus at 59th Street. “Some whose names are to be found all through the Social Register,” wrote The Evening World in its late edition on October 23, 1915, “marched side by side with working mothers with babies in their arms.”

The New York Tribune summarized the reaction one day later, stating, “there was little applause all along the route for the women marchers. But this was not strange, for it could be seen that the spirit of the parade had made itself felt on the sidewalks. It was no laughing matter, this parade. The women in it did not smile or giggle. They were serious and determined. And this mental characteristic was contagious.”

New York City's suffrage movement, however, launched several years earlier in the Flatiron District. On February 16, 1908, a group of 23 women initiated a community march. During that wintry Saturday, the women marched from their nearby Union Square office to a public hearing at the Manhattan Trade School for Girls, then located on East 23rd Street and Lexington Avenue. One march leader proclaimed, “For the long work day, for the taxes we obey, for the laws we pay, we want something to say.”

These brave and heroic efforts by the suffragists would soon change the lives of women across New York State as they were granted the right to vote in 1917. Three years later, women gained voting rights across the United States with the passage of the 19th Amendment when it officially became part of the U.S. Constitution on August 18, 1920. 

Dr. Anna Shaw and Carrie Chapman Catt, founder of the League of Women Voters, lead an estimated 20,000 supporters in a women's suffrage march up Fifth Avenue in 1915. Image via AP.

Flatiron Faces

Flatiron Faces: Keiko Ono Aoki, Concept Creator, Director & President, ROKI

Keiko Ono Aoki has followed in the footsteps of her late husband, renowned Benihana restaurateur Rocky Aoki. As the Concept Creator, Director, and President of ROKI, located at 12 West 21st Street, ramen is the specialty dish. “Rocky told me almost 14 years ago,” recalls the Tokyo native, “sushi is going to be ramen!”

1. Briefly describe ROKI as well as your role with the restaurant.

ROKI is a Japanese Izakaya. Izakaya means that we serve a lot of Japanese tapas. The specialty at our restaurant is ramen. I am the concept creator and the Director/President of ROKI.

2. Please tell us about your connection to the famous Benihana chain. Is there a Benihana influence on the operations at ROKI?

My late husband, Rocky Aoki, started the restaurant chain “Benihana” in 1964 on 56th Street in Manhattan. I am now the CEO of Benihana of Tokyo. Rocky told me almost 14 years ago that the next sushi was going to be ramen. I remembered what he said and decided to open ROKI, and our main feature would be ramen. The “entertainment” portion at my restaurant was influenced by Benihana as well. 

3. What are some of your highly recommended dishes at the brasserie?

Ramen is very popular right now around the world and there are many ramen restaurants here in New York. However, what makes us different is our original and unique Ramen Nabe (hot pot). That is our specialty! I also highly recommend the Kanpachi Carpaccio, Japanese Canape, and the Pork Belly Bun.

4. With the upcoming season for holiday parties, what is ROKI offering?

We have a beautiful private room in the back and we are able to create a unique ROKI menu starting at $48. We are also able to offer buffet-style as well.

5. What would you tell people considering a career in the culinary arts? What are the most important skills for this line of work?

This does not pertain to just the culinary arts industry, but I believe that you should look for a career that you enjoy and love to do! In the culinary arts industry, creativity is important. Always challenge yourself to try something new. In recent years, the term “fusion” has been quite popular and many restaurants are creating fusion foods. Fusion is great, but it is also important to stay with the core. Lastly, these days people are very health conscious, especially in this area. Being healthy is the new trend so you want to keep that in mind when creating new food items. 

6. When you moved to the Flatiron District in March, you told the BID that the area is “the center of Manhattan.” What do you like most about the Flatiron District?

The location is perfect because it is right in between Midtown and Downtown. Although we are not Downtown, I can still feel the downtown atmosphere. But we can also feel the business type of atmosphere from Midtown; so it’s a nice combination. Flatiron is casual but a little more on the sophisticated side and you can enjoy any type of fashion.

7. Other than ROKI, where do you like to grab a bite in the area?

Ilili is my favorite place and I go there quite often. My favorite dish is their Tabbouleh, Boneless Ribeye, and can’t forget about their hummus. I love the atmosphere here and their food is delicious. Bouley’s new restaurant has not opened yet but I am interested in going there once it opens.

8. What do you consider a "must-see” or “must-do" destination in the neighborhood?

Eataly is one of the hottest spots in the Flatiron. They have anything and everything that relates to Italy from A to Z. I think the concept is very interesting; it reminds me of the Japanese Depachika (food court). They sell souvenirs, grocery items, and ready-to-eat food; they have everything! It’s a convenient and fun place to see. The difference between the Japanese Depachika and Eataly is that they give away samples. Many people go to the Depachika just to eat the samples. It would be great if we can get samples there, too!

9. What's your favorite building or architectural element in Flatiron?

I must say my building because my restaurant is located there! 

10. Choose a few words to describe the Flatiron District.

Innovative. Comfortable living. Dog friendly.

 

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

21M+

Square feet of commercial real estate

46M+

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

3,800

Hotel rooms

11,670

Taxi drop offs per weekday in 2015

2.9+

Dollars invested in the Public Plazas by the BID