The architecturally outstanding skyscraper called the Flatiron building is located on Fifth Avenue in the heart of New York City. It was included in the list of National Historic Landmarks in 1989 and has been an official New York City landmark since 1966. The Flatiron Building stands on a patch of land between Fifth Avenue, Broadway and East 22nd Street. The district around it is also named after the building.
The building work was completed in 1902, with the extraordinary design coming from architect Daniel Burnham. He planned the tall building in the style of a Renaissance palazzo with Beaux-Arts features. The design is what sets apart the New York Flatiron building from other skyscrapers of the time which have a blockier base and rise like towers. The bottom part of the facade of the Flatiron Building is covered with limestone while the upper part is glazed terra-cotta. The building with a steel skeleton has 22 stories and rises to a total height of 87m.
The New York landmark was originally called Fuller Building because of one of its first tenants, but offices in the building were also occupied by smaller businesses. The building is in the shape of a clothes iron, hence the name. There are about twenty other buildings which are called Flatiron Building in other cities of the United States.
The Flatiron Building also included a well-known Café which was turned into a French restaurant in 1911. Despite the award as historic landmark, the building also had its opponents: The restaurant had a very open atmosphere, welcoming gay customers. It was even claimed, that the lower part of the building became a spot for gay men to look for partners or prostitutes. Even before the official opening, the public was sceptical: They were worried that the wind might knock down the skyscraper, even betting on the distance the dust would spread after the building had collapsed. Today, however, it is often used in TV commercials because it is easily recognisable and a city symbol. There are rumours that it will be converted into a hotel by an Italian real estate investment company.