The Flatiron of New York
In our hometown we’ve got a building that is named after the Flatiron building in New York. It even has the same shape but of course isn’t as beautiful as the original one. My absolutely all-time favourite building of New York is the Flatiron building. When I turned 30 years old I saw it for the first time in real life. This time, one and a half year later, I decided to stay near it. That resulted in too many photos of this incredible building.
I’ve got several reasons to love the building. The first and most important one being: I think it is so so beautiful. The second one is because it is 22-stories. And the third reason being it sits on a triangular block formed by Fifth Avenue, Broadway, and East 22nd Street. This in itself is not the reason but for Dutch people it is. Because the Dutch built New York up until this square.
Did you know that the original name of the Flatiron Building is: the Fuller Building? It was originally named after architect George A. Fuller. It is a triangular 22-story steel-framed landmarked building located at 175 Fifth Avenue in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, which is considered to be a groundbreaking skyscraper. Upon completion in 1902, it was one of the tallest buildings in the city at 20 floors high and one of only two skyscrapers north of 14th Street – the other being the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, one block east.
Some funny stuff we found out about the building:
The original elevators were hydraulic, and according to the Times, were “slow and bouncy. John J. Murphy III, director of publicity for St. Martin’s who lived across the street, told the Times that his commute was 30 minutes. ” In 1998, the elevators malfunctioned and soaked some workers. How unfortunate.
Oh and so much for equality: when the building opened, it only had bathrooms for men but the management later alternated the floors, one for men and one for women, a pattern that continues today.
The entire building was sometimes referred to as the ‘cowcatcher’. Alice Sparberg Alexiou author of The Flatiron: The New York Landmark and the Incomparable City That Arose with It writes that it may have been a reference to the shape of the lot, which “recalled the metal piece attached to the front of locomotives to prevent derailment from livestock unwittingly cross the tracks. Although some said that cowcatcher referred to the fact that cows from once nearby farms often wandered into it to avoid the increasing traffic on the street.”
New Yorkers were relatively unfamiliar with steel cage construction when the Flatiron was built. The thinness of the building also added to the public’s trepidation, and there was a fear that the building could topple over.