The New York Series, Part 4…

flatiron busy1000

I would forgive you if you called me obsessed by the Flatiron Building in New York. Given how much time I spent trying to capture its lovely uniqueness from different angles, even on different days and at different times and with different lenses, I could not argue. (And no doubt I will do the same next time I’m in New York — trying yet again to capture its essence.)

This is the building I love — way more than the Empire State or the Chrysler or any of the other iconic buildings. The Flatiron says New York to me…

Completed in 1902, it’s shaped like an old fashioned cast iron clothes iron, thus the name. It sits on a triangular island-block formed by Fifth Avenue, Broadway and East 22nd Street.

It was designed by Chicago’s Daniel Burnham as a vertical Renaissance palazzo with Beaux-Arts styling. The bottom of its facade is limestone changing to glazed terra cotta from Staten Island.

H.G. Wells wrote of the Flatiron Building in 1906:

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.

Now I get one of the reasons I love it. It reminds me of a ship!

I also love the cast iron clock not far from it on Fifth Avenue.  I set out to try to capture them in the same image. Not a terribly easy task, given that the best spot to stand was smack in the midst of crazy traffic. I didn’t try that.

(I hadn’t noticed the sign in the lower right of the first image until just now. “Have an idea. Make it happen.” Appropriate.)

The clock was installed in 1909. One of the most ornate of New York’s cast-iron street clocks, it’s composed of a rectangular, classically ornamented base, and fluted Ionic column. The two dials, marked by Roman numerals, are framed by wreaths of oak leaves and crowned by a cartouche.  A masterpiece of cast-iron workmanship, it is beautifully designed, and a prominent sidewalk landmark.

Such old, historic and delicately intricate beauties make New York City endlessly fascinating to me and are why I return time after time.

20 thoughts on “The New York Series, Part 4…

  1. I’m a bit behind on reading all your posts…at just the 3rd post, I say this series would be perfect for a coffee table book! Your photography work and processing are truly outstanding, along with the detailed historical information!

  2. Pingback: The New York Series, Part 7… | Still and All

  3. Magnificent captures of this iconic building!! I love all the different angles…and that clock is pretty amazing as well. Another wonderful post, I’m really enjoying NYC through your lens!

  4. Pingback: The New York Series, Part 5 | Still and All

  5. When it was built, many New Yorkers {who are not known to be timid!} did not want this building to be built, thought it was ugly. Of course, many Parisians felt the same way about the Eiffel Tower. It’s amazing to see so many years later what icons these have become in these cities. Great photos!

  6. Sherry! These shots – angles, composition, colour – are MAGNIFICENT! What an eye!
    A deep bow to you, my friend. Mary Lou

  7. It deserves to be obsessed over, a beauty to behold always deserves that. I have enjoyed your trip through NYC so much and through your eyes. I hope you have more to show and if you are like me you probably do. I am still working on my images in OR and that was a month ago. Now that is obsessed!

  8. These are breathtaking shots, Sherry. That building is incredible in its uniqueness and the clock is beautiful. You took your pictures from great angles and I especially like the lower left image taken at an angle and the clock close-up with wonderful reflections!
    I haven’t been to New York since the early seventies! I lived in White Plains, N.Y. for two years at the time.

  9. Wow, these NY posts just get better and better! When they impress even a non-city person like me, they must be REALLY good!

    I can totally understand your obsession with that building – it’s amazing and one I would want to photograph too. You’ve done a great job with it. It reminds me of a building in Vancouver – perhaps about the same era – though the Vancouver one is less “flat” than this one.

    I’m glad you didn’t stand in the middle of the traffic (despite how everyone in NY-based movies seems to do it all the time).

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