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: A Brief History of Public Transportation in the Flatiron District

There have long been a number of ways to commute to the Flatiron District. Here is a brief look at the ways people have journeyed to, and through, the neighborhood.

In the early 1800s, one of the primary forms of urban transportation was the omnibus. The bus was a long box with 12-15 seats, with wheels made of wood, and pulled by horses. It was turbulent travel due to the prevalence of cobblestone streets. Smoother terrain soon prevailed for commuters with the arrival of the first-ever horse-drawn railway along Fourth Avenue (now Park Avenue South) in 1832.

The railway was the New York and Harlem Railroad, and within six years it amassed a stable of 100 horses, 40 cars, and four locomotives. The railway’s depot was located at 26th Street and Fourth Avenue, which was later the site of the original Madison Square Garden.

“The railroad cars moved on iron tracks fastened to granite sleepers that rose several inches above the street,” wrote Clay McShane and Joel A. Tarr in their book The Horse in the City: Living Machines in the Nineteenth Century. “These tracks provided a smooth ride for the vehicle on the rails, especially compared to the omnibus running along the rough street.”

The harnessing of electricity eventually led to the creation of New York City’s subway system, which debuted on October 27, 1904. “At 7 p.m. that evening,” states History.com,  ”the subway opened to the general public, and more than 100,000 people paid a nickel each to take their first ride under Manhattan.”

This initial line was operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) and included a station at 23rd Street and Lexington Avenue, and 28th Street and Lexington Avenue, where the 6 train now serves local passengers on the Lexington Avenue line.

The Brooklyn—Manhattan Transit Corporation’s Broadway Line opened on January 5, 1918. This line extended from Rector Street to Times Square, including the modern-day 23rd Street and 28th Street R/W stations under Broadway. On September 20, 1918, the line was extended to Whitehall Street—South Ferry.

Since 2002, the 23rd Street R/W station has featured artist Keith Goddard’s prominent display of glass mosaic hats on the station walls. Goddard’s “Memories of Twenty-Third Street” honors the Flatiron District’s history as a major commercial and cultural destination with a focus on fashions from the 1880s through the 1920s.

The Madison Avenue end of the New York and Harlem Railroad depot, Fourth Avenue and 26th Street, in the 1880s. Image via the Office for Metropolitan History

Flatiron Faces

Field Failing: Founder & Managing Partner, Fields Good Chicken

Field Failing is the Founder and Managing Partner of Fields Good Chicken and has a passion for healthy food. He describes his business as “providing simple, no-BS food to people who care about what they eat.” His other passion is road cycling and he recently combined his interests with a three-day charity ride in Northern California with the nonprofit Chefs Cycle which raises funds for No Kid Hungry.

1. Please describe your role as Founder & Managing Partner at Fields Good Chicken.

My role at Fields Good Chicken (FGC) involves running all aspects of the business from overseeing menu development to brand-building initiatives to developing our company culture. I wear a lot of hats and no two days are the same, which keeps things challenging and exciting. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

 2. You’ve described your business as “providing simple, no-BS food to people who care about what they eat.” Where does your food philosophy originate?

I quit my first job in corporate finance to pursue professional cycling. Like any other sport, a healthy diet is essential to success in cycling, but it was difficult to find healthy, fresh food on the go. I wanted to make better food available to the masses and that's how the idea for FGC was born. I very much live this philosophy in how I eat personally. Although the food system is improving, collectively we still have a long way to go before it will be truly easy to eat this way.

3. Your business is based on chicken. Where do you source your ingredients?

Our chicken is antibiotic free, humanely raised, and sourced from FreeBird. The rest of our ingredients are hand-picked for quality and uniqueness. For example, instead of using generic cheddar cheese, we use Grafton 1-Year Aged Cheddar that is handmade in Vermont. Our produce is delivered daily to each location to ensure freshness. Our goal is to always serve up top-notch food and an excellent guest experience.

4. What led you to pursue a career in food, and what do you consider most important for those interested in considering it as a profession?

I learned quickly that cycling wasn't going to pay the bills, so I took a job making salads at a local restaurant and fell in love with the restaurant business. Pursuing a career in food was actually about pursuing a passion. For those considering it as a profession, I would say make sure you absolutely love it, be a sponge and learn everything you can from anyone willing to teach you—and don't give up when things get tough (because they will, often).

5. Outside of the restaurant, you’re an accomplished road cyclist. What’s been your most memorable ride and why?

I recently completed a three-day ride in Northern California with the non-profit Chefs Cycle. We biked more than 300 miles in an effort to raise money for No Kid Hungry. It was a great way to combine two of my interests and do something for the greater good. It's crazy how many issues we have with the food system in America, including childhood hunger. Every child should be able to know where their next meal is coming from, and No Kid Hungry is an outstanding organization that focuses on fixing this very real problem.

6. Fields Good Chicken recently opened in Flatiron and it’s your fourth New York City location. Why did you choose this neighborhood?

My wife and I lived a few blocks away from our new 23rd Street location for years and always felt there was a need for better fast casual food options in the neighborhood. The Flatiron District has a unique mix of locals, business professionals, and tourists from all over the world. It really is an awesome neighborhood and we’re excited to be here.

7. Aside from eating at Fields Good Chicken, where else do you like to eat in the Flatiron District?

For healthy dinners in a cool atmosphere, you can't beat The Little Beet Table. I'm still a pretty serious cyclist and I try to eat healthy as often as possible. This is definitely a go-to spot for me.

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

Have a beer and play ping-pong at SPiN. Or, simply take a leisurely walk through Madison Square Park.

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

I've walked past the Flatiron Building on my way to the office every day for the last three years, and it's always just as inspiring as the first time I saw it. It's so iconic. It would be hard to choose any other building in this neighborhood.

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

Quintessential New York.

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