flatiron district

Fifth Avenue Hotel, circa 1875

Fifth Avenue Hotel, circa 1875

The Fifth Avenue Hotel, seen in this photo from the 1870s, was a luxury accomodation built in the late 1850s. At the time of this photograph, Ulysses S. Grant had recently used the hotel as the launch point for his Presidential campaign. The location at 200 Fifth Avenue is diagonally across from the eventual site of the Flatiron Building. However, the two buildings did not coexist for long, since the Fifth Avenue Hotel was demolished in 1908 not long after the Flatiron was constructed. The site is now probably best known as the location of Eataly.

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Flatiron Building Seen from 26th Street, 1907

Flatiron Building Seen from 26th Street, 1907

The Flatiron District doesn't look terribly different today, with the iconic Flatiron Building cutting like a ship's prow through the combined traffic of Fifth Avenue and Broadway. It's the nature of the traffic that's changed. Here we see horses, carriages, and streetcars, rather than the cars, taxis, and buses of today. Oh, and maybe there are a few more tall buildings. But really, with the Flatiron in view, who notices them?

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Metropolitan Life Tower Under Construction, 1909

Metropolitan Life Tower Under Construction, 1909

In this black and white photograph from 1909, we see a group of men and ladies with parasols standing in Madison Square Park, observing the construction of the Metropolitan Life Tower. The main building had been constructed over a decade and half before.  The architectural firm of Napoleon LeBrun & Sons modeled the tower after the Campanile in Venice, Italy. It was the world's tallest building for three years, until 1913, when it was surpassed by the Woolworth Building.

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