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: ASPCA Launches in the Flatiron District

In honor of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership takes a look back at the initial Flatiron District headquarters of the nonprofit organization founded by New York philanthropist Henry Bergh in the late 19th century.

In 1863, Henry Bergh, an affluent Manhattan resident from the Lower East Side, had been appointed by President Abraham Lincoln to a U.S. diplomatic post in Russia. During his time abroad Bergh often observed the mistreatment of animals. “In Russia, he saw peasants beating horses that had fallen and were unable to continue pulling carts,” notes the New-York Historical Society website, “and was appalled by the violent nature of bullfighting in Spain.”

Bergh wanted to protect such animals, which he called “mute servants of mankind,” and soon resigned from his government position. Upon his return to America, Bergh began to gain widespread support, including recognition from notable literary figures Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Bergh’s presentation of his document “Declaration of the Rights of Animals” led the New York State legislature to pass a charter incorporating the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) on April 10, 1866.  

By 1876, the ASPCA established its first official offices on the southeast corner of Fourth Avenue and 22nd Street. Due to the organization’s ever-expanding operations, the ASPCA sold the Fourth Avenue property in 1891 and relocated to 10 East 22nd Street. By 1898, the Society moved yet again to much larger offices on 26th Street. The new four-story building at 50 Madison Avenue, designed by Renwick, Aspinwall & Owen, was a 30' x 100' structure that was once described by the AIA Guide to New York City as a “proper London club in delicately tooled limestone.”

According to Our Dumb Animals edited by George Thorndike Angell, the first floor features included the superintendent’s office, the complaint department, and dog license division. The president’s office was located on the third floor as well as a library and fireproof vault for the Society’s paperwork.

At the nearby southwest corner of 24th Street and Avenue A were the ASPCA’s dispensary, shelter, and ambulance house. The property, which opened to the public in 1912, was comprised of kennels for homeless, abandoned, and stray cats and dogs, and a rooftop that served as an exercise runway for dogs.

The facility also featured an operating room for horses. The book Our Dumb Animals noted that “stalls were connected with an electric trolley, by means of which a horse is unable to walk can be conveyed, in a sling or resting on the movable bottom-board of an ambulance, to the operating table or any other part of the building desired.”

In 1948, the ASPCA was notified that its 24th Street property was being condemned under eminent domain and the organization had to vacate in order to make room for a veterans’ hospital. A reported $304,000 in Federal compensation, as well as a number of fundraisers, helped the ASPCA relocate its Madison Avenue offices and 24th Street facility to the Upper East Side. 

The newly designated home for the ASPCA opened in December 1950 at a property that the organization had owned on East 92nd Street and York Avenue. Although no longer located in the Flatiron District, the early mission by the nonprofit still remains from that era when Bergh sought “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals.”

Photo Credit: ASPCA

Flatiron Faces

Flatiron Faces: Tim Markman, Guest Experience Manager, The NoMad Hotel

Meet Tim Markman, Guest Experience Manager at The NoMad Hotel at 1170 Broadway, between 27th and 28th Streets. "I have to say I have never seen anything like the magic that we create here at The NoMad Hotel...the neighborhood has long been a favorite place of mine to roam around. It’s such a beautiful place that feels very “New York”, just how I imagined it would be when I was growing up in Kansas. To me this area felt like what I saw in all the movies and magazines."

1. Late last year, you became the Guest Experience Manager at The NoMad Hotel. Can you share your path to the hospitality industry?

My move to NYC was originally motivated in pursuit of a career in the theater. Once I got here, I needed to find a survival job, and after scouring Craigslist for work, I came across a new hotel opening up in need of bellmen. Little did I know this new hotel would become the iconic property that The Standard, High Line is today. It was a wild ride there and so amazing to be a part of a property pre-opening. I got the chance to work with an incredible team, most of whom I am still quite close with today. Quickly I fell more in love with the world of hospitality and took an open position on their concierge team. I had to switch gears and focus solely on this job as it was quite time-consuming to get to know this city that literally never sleeps. I slowly became more of a leader of the concierge team, and spent over three years in the role of Head Concierge. After eight and a half years at the same hotel, I got to mix it up a bit. I spent last summer out in Montauk as Hotel Manager at The Surf Lodge, where I got to wear many different hats. The chance to work at a seasonal property, which was much smaller than my previous hotel, gave me a great perspective on what I was capable of, in terms of Guest Experience. Being the small world that it is, the same person who hired me as a bellmen all those years ago reached out about this new role here at The NoMad Hotel.

2. Describe your first few months on the job and around the neighborhood.

It was a little crazy at first diving in around the holiday season, but I had such an incredible support team with my staff. Everyone at this hotel is incredibly service-minded that I knew it was a good fit for me. I had the luxury of a great staff, most of whom have been here since the beginning, and wonderful upper management that are willing to do whatever they have to fulfill the guests' needs. I have to say I have never seen anything like the magic that we create here at The NoMad Hotel. It was a lot of getting to know every inch of this building, but the neighborhood has long been a favorite place of mine to roam around.

3. You were an expert panelist at the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership’s recent “Meet the Concierge” event and offered the following advice: “It always come down to one sole thing: the power of a good relationship and finding that connection with a concierge.” What makes this so important to you?

Relationships are everything in New York City. If you don't connect with a guest and form a valid relationship, then you've lost them. I was applying this advice to businesses looking to strengthen their bond with a concierge team. Over my many years as a concierge, I remember those people who came by time and time again, and who truly showed an appreciation for our business. When you just blindly call a front desk or send an email, then it gets lost in the shuffle.

4. The event was produced with local businesses in mind. How can businesses within the Flatiron District get on the radar of local hotel concierges?   

Every business has their own unique thing to offer, so my biggest piece of advice is that they take a look at where they fit in with the clientele of whatever particular hotel you are looking to target. It’s great to come in with an educated opinion and it doesn’t put the pressure on the concierge team to find a reason for them to recommend you. Getting a card made or having something on hand does make it a bit easier for us to pass along at the desk, but I would first try speak with someone at the hotel and get their feedback on if this would be helpful. The best way to get on the radar is to lead with the experience. It’s always beneficial when you can get them into your establishment so they know what they’re recommending.

5. On social media, you’ve posted that you’re a “strong believer of conscious hospitality.” Tell us more.

Hospitality is about tailoring service to each individual guest. Everyone responds differently to things and the most important one is to pick up on what they like. Coming from a background in theater, I learned how to be intuitive and create a guest’s experience based on how I read the guest. I lead with a certain cadence, but I let that shift depending on how the interaction unfolds. I try to always do my best so they are made to feel special. For instance, we all love to walk in to our local drinking hole where the bartender knows what you like without even asking. I think we attempt to go a bit deeper than that in our hotel, because people’s preferences change over time. Someone may be on a new diet or lifestyle change, so you never know if they want that same bottle of rosé we always have waiting chilled in the room for them. The key is having someone in my role who is constantly checking in with them to make sure everyone is happy. 

6. What are some of the questions you are asked most often by guests? And, which questions have surprised you at The NoMad?

You really never know what a guest is going to ask you, and we don't get a ton of repeat questions because most of our guests are pretty savvy. That said, I think travelers are often asking about shopping destinations and what the best clothing stores are nearby. Luckily, we have an incredible boutique right within our walls called WANT Apothecary. They carry an incredible selection of clothes and unique and interesting scents and skincare. WANT Les Essentials has long been one of my favorite brands, and I think they do simple things that feel quite sophisticated.

7.  Switching gears, when you have a free moment, where do you like to eat in the neighborhood? Do you have a go-to dish there?

Black Barn is absolutely one of my favorite places to go back to time and time again. The service is outstanding, and it's a big beautiful space that often has great live music serenading the diners. They have an incredible menu that is always changing throughout the seasons, so it's hard to pick one thing. The grilled baby octopus is certainly one of my favorites, but if I'm being honest, my go-to dish there would have to be the "Bottomless Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar" at brunch.

8. What do you consider a "must-see” or “must-do" destination in the neighborhood? Do you have any insider tips you offer guests?

I think it all depends on the type of person you are, but for me, as a book lover, my "must-see" place is Rizzoli Bookstore. This store has had a few different locations over the 54 years it's been in business, but each more beautiful than the next. It is so iconic and with independent bookstores being a dying thing across America, it's amazing that a NYC institution like this can be kept alive. As far as insider tips go, we are full of them at our concierge desk. We take pride in not only providing one with places to go for dinner, but always recommending a nearby watering hole for a pre-drink or a digestif. It's important to customize a guest's experience and not just give them what they ask for, but go the extra step and offer up something more. Patent Pending has been one of our new favorites as it's a coffee shop by day, and then at night, you take a hidden door through the back of the coffee shop into a secret bar with drinks inspired by the infamous Nikola Tesla, who once occupied the building. 

9. Other than the Beaux-Arts beauty of The NoMad Hotel, what’s your favorite building or architectural element in the area? 

The Baudouine Building across the street is a favorite of mine. From the windows of our rooms, you see this beautiful temple on top of the building. It has these huge columns and even though the building could use a good power washing, there's something about those layers of soot that gives it its charm. 

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

Historic. Elegant. Magical.

Photo Credit: Nadia Quinn

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

4,270

Hotel rooms

10,769

Taxi drop offs per weekday in 2016

2.9+

Dollars invested in the Public Plazas by the BID