Generally the Flatiron District is bounded by 14th Street, Union Square and Greenwich Village to the south; the Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) and Chelsea to the west; 23rd Street and Madison Square (or NoMad) to the north; and Park Avenue and Gramercy Park to the east.
Broadway cuts through the middle of the district, and Madison Avenue begins at 23rd Street and runs north. At the north (uptown) end of the district is Madison Square Park, which was completely renovated in 2001. The Flatiron District encompasses within its boundaries the Ladies' Mile Historic District and the birthplace of Theodore Roosevelt, a National Historic Site. The Flatiron District was also the birthplace of Silicon Alley, a metonym for New York's high technology sector, which has since spread beyond the area.
The Flatiron District is part of New York City's Manhattan Community Board 5. Residents are represented by the Flatiron Alliance neighborhood association and nearby businesses by the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership business improvement district, though the two have different (partially overlapping) boundaries.
The designation "Flatiron District" dates from around 1985, and came about because of its increasingly residential character, and the influx of many restaurants into the area – real estate agents needed an appealing name to call the area in their ads. Before that, the area was primarily commercial, with numerous small clothing and toy manufacturers, and was sometimes called the Toy District. The Toy Center buildings at 23rd Street and Broadway date from this period, and the annual American International Toy Fair took place there beginning in 1903, except for 1945. When much of this business moved outside the U.S., the area began to be referred to as the Photo District because of the large number of photographers' studios and associated businesses located there, the photographers having come because of the relatively cheap rents.
As of the 2000s, many publishers have their offices in the district, as well as advertising agencies, and the number of computer- and Web-related start-up companies in the area caused it to be considered part of "Silicon Alley" or "Multimedia Gulch", along with TriBeCa and SoHo.
The Flatiron District is located in the part of Manhattan where the bedrock Manhattan schist is located deeper underground than it is above 29th Street and below Canal Street, and as a result, and under the influence of zoning laws, the tallest buildings in the area used to top out at around 20 stories; older buildings of 3-6 floors are still numerous, especially on the side streets.
Notable buildings in the district include the Flatiron Building, one of the oldest of the original New York skyscrapers, and just to east at 1 Madison Avenue is the Met Life Tower, built in 1909 and the tallest building in the world until 1913, when the Woolworth Building was completed. It is now occupied by Credit Suisse since MetLife moved their headquarters to the Pan Am Building. The 700-foot (210 m) marble clock tower of this building dominates Madison Square and the park there.
Nearby, on Madison Avenue between 26th and 27th Streets, on the site of the old Madison Square Garden, is the New York Life Building, built in 1928 and designed by Cass Gilbert, with a square tower topped by a striking gilded pyramid. Also of note is the statuary adorning the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court on Madison Avenue at 25th Street.
Completed in 2010, One Madison Park, a 50-story luxury condominium tower, sits at 22 East 23rd Street, at the foot of Madison Avenue, across from Madison Square Park. It is nearly as tall as the Met Life Tower (617.5 feet (188.2 m), compared to 700 feet (210 m) for the Tower), and taller than the Flatiron Building. The asking price[when?] for the triplex penthouse was US$45 million.
Another landmark is the 1909 sidewalk clock outside 200 Fifth Avenue.
Baruch College of the City University of New York, is located on E. 23rd Street and Lexington Avenue on the eastern edge of the district. The College sits on the former site of the Free Academy (now City College of New York), which was founded in 1847 and was the first institution of free public higher education in the United States. Baruch's Newman Vertical Campus as well as the Zicklin School of Business, the largest collegiate school of business in the United States, are also located on 24th and 25th Streets between Third and Lexington Avenues.
Attractions in the area include the Museum of Sex and the Gershwin Hotel, both located on 27th Street. The Gershwin is a tribute to the late pop artist Andy Warhol, and features some of his art and memorabilia throughout the hotel.
The area has many stores, such as Ann Taylor, Victoria's Secret, Take 31, Club Monaco, and Origins. "Big-box" retailers dominate Sixth Avenue between 14th Street and 23rd Street, at the district's western edge.
One of the neighborhood's older restaurants is Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop, founded in 1929 and saved in 2005 by a loyal customer.
Flatiron district. Neighborhood in Manhattan, lying between Chelsea and Gramercy Park and bounded to the north by 23rd Street, to the east by Park Avenue, to the south by 14th Street, and to the west by Sixth Avenue.
The boundaries of the Flatiron can be a subject of disagreement, but the district generally runs from the Avenue of the Americas to Park Avenue South between 14th and 23rd Streets, excluding the blocks adjacent to Union Square. Still, as often happens when a neighborhood becomes popular, some see its borders as expanded. The Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership...places the northern boundary in the upper 20s, an area some call NoMad, or North of Madison Square Park.