Flatiron

Broadway and East 23rd Street, 1884

Broadway and East 23rd Street, 1884

Looking south at the intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue at East 23rd today, you would see the prow of the famed Flatiron Building, but in 1884 you would see a much different "ship." The distinctive shape of the intersection makes the location easily identifiable. At this time, the site was owned by Amos Eno and was known as Eno's flatiron. As can be seen in the photograph, Eno sold advertising on the side of the Cumberland apartment building he owned. Apparently there was a big market for various medicinal plasters.

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Flatiron Building After a Snowstorm, 1906

Flatiron Building After a Snowstorm, 1906

A cold winter morning in 1906. The Flatiron building rises up beyond the barren trees and the silhouttes of intrepid New Yorkers out walking. No streetcars can be seen. Only the legs of people and horses seem able to traverse the snow covered streets outside Madison Square Park.

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Madison Square Park, 1902

Madison Square Park, 1902

New Yorkers love their greenspaces. In this black and white photograph from 1902, we see a mother and her children strolling through Madison Square Park. Fellow New Yorkers occupy the benches, chatting, and reading newspapers. Beyond the cool shade of the trees, looms the newly-constructed Flatiron Building, an urban icon seen from a bucolic setting.

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Sightseeing Bus in front of Flatiron Building, 1910

Sightseeing Bus in front of Flatiron Building, 1910

New York City has always attracted tourists. Here a busload of them prepare to see the sights, and there's no better place to begin than the Flatiron Building, which had only opened a few years before, in 1902. The official name of the Flatiron is the Fuller Building,   which is inscribed on the metal gates below the arch.

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East 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue, 1901

East 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue, 1901

In 1901, the great crossroads of 23rd Street, Fifth Avenue, and Broadway had not yet taken its final form. The Flatiron Building, also known as the Fuller Building, was just beginning construction. In this black and white turn of the century image, the only sign of the iconic skyscraper is the fence around the construction site. The Heinz 57 ad on the side of the Cumberland Hotel was about to be hidden forever.

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Photographing New York City, 1905

Photographing New York City, 1905

In this black and white photograph taken in 1905, a man with a camera perches on a steel girder at East 19th Street and Fifth Avenue. The viewer looks north, towards the Flatiron Building, while photographer shoots west. Lord & Taylor can be seen between the girder and the photographer's dangling leg. Lord & Taylor, which is the oldest upscale retail department store in the United States, moved to the Ladies' Mile location you see here in 1870, more than three decades before the construction of the Flatiron Building three blocks north.

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The Flatiron Building after a Snow Storm, 1906

The Flatiron Building after a Snow Storm, 1906

In this view south from East 26th Street and Fifth Avenue, the Flatiron Building looks like it is plowing through the snow. It looks like a substantial amount of fresh snow has blanketed the city, all of which has been shoveled by hand. The streets are as clear as they are likely to get until the hooves of the horses tramp it into slush. But luckily for us, some anonymous photographer captured the clean beauty of this moment forever.

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Flatiron Building with Horse and Carriage in the Snow, 1910

Flatiron Building with Horse and Carriage in the Snow, 1910

New York City can be a winter wonderland. This black and white photograph of the Flatiron Building in the winter of 1910 conjures all the magic of those snowy landscapes of yesteryear. Can you hear the jinglebells ringing? The only thing wrong with this picture is the two horse carriage instead of the one horse open sleigh.

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Flatiron Building, 1907

Flatiron Building, 1907
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