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: Madison Square Garden Marathon

This Sunday, over 50,000 athletes will participate in the 47th running of the New York City Marathon, the world’s largest.

In honor of this weekend's race, the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership looks back at two marathon distance races in 1908 and 1909 at the former Madison Square Garden on 26th Street and Madison Avenue that helped spark interest in the 26.2-mile race in New York City.

On Thanksgiving evening, November 25, 1908, Dorando Pietri, a confectioner from Carpi, Italy, and Johnny Hayes, an Irish-American who worked at Bloomingdale’s department store and trained on the store’s rooftop cinder track, raced at the Garden. Earlier that year, the pair had competed in the London Olympics and garnered global attention. The rematch was later described as “the most spectacular foot race that New York has ever witnessed” by The New York Times.

“The old Garden was huge,” reported The New Yorker on October 27, 2015 in its feature about the sellout event’s interior. “Its Moorish minaret was the second-highest tower in the city, and its auditorium was the largest in the world. Even so, running 26.2 miles inside was a stretch. The organizers constructed a track measuring a tenth of a mile; the race was two hundred and sixty-two laps.”

The New York Times coverage mentioned that “flags waved and partisans cheered until the big amphitheater trembled with sound, and through it all the rival runners plodded around the ten-laps-to-the-mile track, and inhaled the dust and tobacco smoke with which the hall reeked.” A riot was “narrowly averted,” according to The New York Times, when Pietri won by 43 seconds, in 2:44:20.

A few weeks later, before a crowd of more than 5,000, Matthew Maloney of Brooklyn’s Trinity Athletic Club won a much-anticipated marathon the evening of January 8, 1909. His win, in 2:54:45, established an amateur record for indoor long-distance running.

“Maloney ran the entire race with excellent judgment,” The New York Times published the next day, “and was in excellent trim when Referee James E. Sullivan handed him the big silver cup.” 31 competitors began the race, with 22 finishing the entire distance. Maloney’s closest opponents included James F. Crowley, who came in second place, and third place went to Sidney H. Hatch.

“A marked feature of the race as indicating the good training condition of the contestants was the fact that not a man collapsed and, although many took a slow pace toward the finish, none of those who stuck to the task were “done up” in any way at the finish,” concluded The New York Times about the history-making race in the Flatiron District. “The fact that so many were able to stay in the running was in itself the marked feature of the race.”

Flatiron Faces

Flatiron Faces: Deirdre & Nicholas McDermott, Future Expansion

Flatiron Faces: Deirdre and Nicholas McDermott, Architects and Partners at Future Expansion

Meet Deirdre and Nicholas McDermott, winners of this year’s Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition. The pair's shimmering structure, Flatiron Reflection, will open to the public on November 20th and will be on display on the Flatiron North Public Plaza through January 1st. Flatiron Reflection serves as the centerpiece for the sixth annual "23 Days of Flatiron Cheer" programming.

1.) Briefly tell us about your firm, Future Expansion.

Nicholas: Future Expansion is about five years old at this point and coincidentally its origins are somewhat tied to another public art installation. We won a commission from the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) to build a temporary urban-scale sculpture for a vacant lot next to the BAM Harvey Theater. It was our first real job as an office, and an incredible experience for all of the collaboration, research, and coordination, which allowed us to get our hands dirty on a project we were very intellectually invested in. Since that project, we’ve mostly worked on more traditional architecture assignments for commercial, institutional, and residential clients. In general, we think architecture offers a compelling opportunity to engage in the creation of the city that does not yet exist, the city of the future, in the sense that the city is always reinventing itself, always changing. It’s also important to note that though small, the office is more than the sum of the two partners; Vincent Mai and Michael Filomeno from our office worked on this project and were instrumental in its realization.

2.) What led each of you to practice architecture?

Nicholas: I was a philosophy major in college but got turned onto architecture while living in London during a year abroad studying philosophy of science at the London School of Economics and traveling around Europe. Although what I studied in philosophy of science seems more relevant now than I ever imagined it would be, that was it, there was no hesitation after London.

Deirdre: I told my parents at a very young age that I wanted to be an architect.

3.) Can you share some of the ways you keep your design practice partnership fresh and creative?

Deirdre: We are constantly looking outside ourselves for inspiration. The city, in a big way, keeps the practice fresh. You can always experience something new even on the same block you walk down everyday; it's a consistent influence and reminds us that you can approach each design project from a different angle.

4.) What are your thoughts about your proposal being selected as the centerpiece for the Partnership's annual "23 Days of Flatiron Cheer" holiday programming?

Nicholas: Thrilled!

5.) What was your inspiration for Flatiron Reflection? What do you hope will be the public's takeway when experiencing it?

Nicholas: We were inspired by, among other things, the great Edward Steichen photograph of the Flatiron Building. The way that the building appears through the fog, the clarity of the form amidst the ambiguity and murkiness of the image was the inspiration for the blurrily reflective surface treatment we proposed in our design. But, right from the beginning, we also talked about wanting to create a project that could create some amount of separation between the viewer and the noise of the street. Having said that, it was also critical that the project reinforce the public nature of the plaza. More than anything, this is a public space project. New Yorkers need to value and demand more from the custodians of the public realm. These are vital infrastructures without which the city would not exist in a recognized form. The installation should make the plaza feel more public, more open, more exceptional.

Deirdre: I hope that Flatiron Reflection will not only be experienced from the outside but also from within. I think that there is a powerful moment that is inherent in the plaza of taking in the city at a grander scale, of opening up and redirecting the experience.

6.) What is your favorite building or achitectural element in the Flatiron District?

Nicholas: The Flatiron Building, of course. It’s hard to compete. Although, from Madison Square Park, the scale of the big arched entrance on the corner of the 11 Madison building is wonderful. It feels like it addresses the city, and it’s so present as a form but as you approach it, you experience it as space.

Deirdre: To me, it’s standing in the middle of the open plaza and looking up. The buildings that surround the park and plaza - Flatiron included - all have a relative character that runs between them. There are very few places where you get to step back and take in so much beautiful architecture all at once and from that vantage point.

7.) What's your favorite destination or 'must see' in the neighborhood?

Nicholas: Madison Square Park is a wonderful urban oasis, and you’ve got to love MoMATH.

8.) What's your favorite place to eat in Flatiron?

Deirdre: A Voce, though we are delinquent in our patronage to the big names on the block.

Nicholas: We don’t get out of Brooklyn much.

9.) Finally, describe the Flatiron District in three words.

Ready for Reflection.

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