My friend, the Flatiron…


I found myself agape, admiring a skyscraper — the Flatiron building, to be particular, ploughing up through the traffic of Broadway and Fifth Avenue in the afternoon light.

H.G. Wells

I’ve written about it before and I’ve shot it before. But there I was again. Drawn like a magnet to the Flatiron Building in New York City. It was a sunny day this time and the particular angle of the sun behind the building made it a challenge to capture.

I was a bit blinded by the light, actually. And I didn’t have a tripod or any filters either to help the situation technically. Still, I like how this image turned out. It captures a feeling I have for the building.

Like many innovative buildings, the Flatiron was not universally well received.  Architectural Record thought it was awkward, and criticized the large number of windows (the horror!). The New York Times called it a “monstrosity,” The New York Tribune describing it as a “stingy piece of pie,” the Municipal Journal & Public Works called it “New York’s latest freak in the shape of sky scrapers” and the Municipal Art Society went as far to say it was “unfit to be in the Center of the City.” But popular sentiment eventually won over the critics and now this is one of the most beloved buildings in the city.

I am by no means alone in my fascination with the Flatiron. This building has been the focus of esteemed photographers like Berenice Abbott, Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen and it has been painted by Albert Gleizes, Paul Cornoyer and other American artists. It has appeared in the writings of O’Henry and scores of television shows and motion pictures.  Even before its completion in the early 1900s the Flatiron Building was one of the most recognizable and most reproduced architectural images in the United States.

It was so good to be back to hang out with the Flatiron, and I know this good friend will be waiting for me to enjoy on my next trip to New York.



21 thoughts on “My friend, the Flatiron…

  1. what a great post. I enjoyed learning more about the Flatiron but I must also say what a fabulous image you’ve taken as well!

  2. I certainly can see the fascination with this building and without a tripod or filters I love the capture. Beautifully done!! PS they said the same thing about the Eiffel Tower when it first opened….aghast!!

  3. Such an impressive building . The light and starburst are amazing. The editing does give it that timeless feel. I have to add it to my list for my next visit.

  4. Gorgeous shot; I too loved reading about its background – your commentary brings the photo to life. Thanks, Sherry!

  5. Great shot Sherry, timeless ! Really brings out the character of the building, perfect angle and light, nice addition to your gallery.

  6. Thanks for that insight, Elena. I always benefit from your perceptions. There was so much to say about the Flatiron I could have gone on and on, but I kept it relatively short so I could get the post up! I will share with you some of my other discoveries when we next meet.

  7. It was great to review all your Flatiron images. What’s unique about this new one is how it communicates the delicacy, almost fragility, of the structure. I especially like the sepia treatment. It underlines the building’s historical relevance. And thanks for the research too – your posts always over-deliver!

  8. The Flatiron building in NYC is one of the most beautiful old structures and I love the detail of the architecture. Across from Madison Square Park there is also a great Italian market and restaurant called Eataly. The next time you are in town I would highly recommend it Sherry 😀 Great image.

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