New York City real estate is a unique market with micro markets. You can find astonishingly different price range for property just by walking a block or two, or sometimes even just by crossing to the north side of the street. The nuances a local expert knows. Walk a couple of blocks north from the residential neighborhood Gramercy Park and find yourself in the commercial Flatiron district on 23rd St.
How could adjusting zip codes covering just a small area be so different from one another? History and zoning regulation influencing the architecture and characteristic of neighborhoods and some iconic buildings like the Flatiron set their footprint for generations forward.
While sightseeing and enjoying the outdoor food market at Madison Square Park, with a developer and an out of town buyer, they immediately asked me about this iconic eye catching New York City building. Originally named The Fuller Building, after George Fuller, “The Father of the Skyscraper”; with its ambitious plan of 20 stories, the Flatiron became the only skyscraper north of 14th Street at the time, other than The Met Life Tower one block east.
Flatiron got a lot of attention with its defying design, a steel triangular frame with a terra cotta facade. With an undeniable amount of criticism, many skeptics believed it would tip over and fall but the building served as a commercial office space for the past 115 years!
Broadway, one of the most enchanting streets in the city, stretching diagonally along Manhattan was never converted into the grid system. This created a sharp angle on 23rd street with only six feet separating from Fifth Ave. Fuller took advantage of this challenging footprint by creating the cast-iron shaped building. Even before it was constructed in 1902, it was named the Flatiron building and thus influenced the name for the surrounding area, the Flatiron District, to distinguish between the residential areas, such as Gramercy Park.
The building has since been featured in many movies, including Godzilla and Spider-Man and has become a true New York icon. It is also the subject for many photographers and a popular backdrop for many tourist photos. Next time you are strolling down 5th Ave, stop by 23rd street to take that picture. It will make you look tall!