CitySketch: Flatiron

“I found myself agape, admiring a sky-scraper the prow of the Flat-iron Building, to be particular, ploughing up through the traffic of Broadway and Fifth Avenue in the afternoon light.” H.G. Wells

The Flatiron Building, completed in 1902, is one of New York City’s most iconic skyscrapers. It is located at the triangle where Broadway and Fifth Avenue intersect across 23rd Street.
1904 photo by Edward Steichen
In 1911 a club opened in the basement that was one of the first to allow black jazz bands to perform. The Taverne Louis, a French restaurant, hired black musicians and was welcoming to gay clients. It closed due to Prohibition. As originally constructed, every bathroom in the office building was a men’s room. Eventually, the management converted the bathrooms on every other floor to women’s rooms and that’s how it remains – odd floors for women, even floors for men.
The Flatiron Building is currently owned by an Italian real estate investment firm who plan to turn it into a luxury hotel when the leases of all current tenants expire.

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