In 1993, TTC founder, architect Wayne Turett was invited by the Cooper-Hewitt Museum and the Young Design League to lead a 27-stop walking tour of the Flatiron district’s architecture. The group of architects and design lovers met at the corner of the Flatiron building; fittingly so. The triangular skyscraper is one of the most architecturally notable buildings in Manhattan; something that visitors from around the world come to see. The carefully-planned tour is an exploration of rich architectural New York history, diving deeper into buildings’ histories we might normally walk past without thinking about. Now, 27 years after the original tour took place, we are revisiting the iconic sites that Wayne chose to explore, and discussing the differences at each stop between then and now. Each stop is marked with an address, so you can follow along on foot if you are in New York (hint: start at 23rd Street Station if you are using the subway). But no matter where you are, this virtual tour is accessible and open to all!
This week, from Monday to Friday, we will publish the updated tour in segments – by Friday, all 27 stops will be available on the blog for you to visit.
Today, learn about Stops 1-5.
Name: Flatiron Building
Address: 175 Fifth Avenue
Architect: Daniel Burham & Co.
Year Built: 1902
(From 1993 pamphlet) Originally known as the Fuller building, this steel-framed masonry clad structure was nicknamed the “cow catcher.” The corner at the apex of Fifth Avenue and Broadway has the reputation for being the windiest corner in Manhattan.
(2020 update) While the iconic skyscraper was home to publisher MacMillan for years, the company left in 2019, leaving all 21 floors vacant. The building then underwent a renovation, clearing out all partitions, leaving each floor with an open triangular floor plan. The building is currently seeking a new company to be the sole tenant of the building.
1900 (photo from Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership)
2020 (photo from PWH3)
Name: Western Union Buildings
Address: Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street
Architect: Henry T. Hardenbergh
Year Built: 1884
(From 1993 pamphlet) One of the earliest commercial buildings on Fifth Avenue. The architect, Henry T Hardenbergh was also the architect of the second Plaza Hotel and the Dakota apartments on 72nd and Central Park West.
(2020 update) No longer a commercial space, 186 Fifth Avenue is now luxury condominiums, with each 3-bedroom, one-story unit selling at $3 million.
1880 (photo from Wikipedia Commons)
2020 (photo from Newyorkitecture.com)
Name: Worth Monument
Address: Broadway and 24th Street
Architect: James G. Batterson
Year Built: 1858
(From 1993 pamphlet) This granite obelisk marks the grave of General William Jenkins Worth, a hero of the Mexican War. Work Street and Fort Worth, Texas were named after him.
(2020 update) The second-oldest monument in the city is the actual resting place of William Jenkins Worth, where he still remains. The monument has remained unchanged and can still be viewed on 24th Street.
1888 (photo from Pinterest)
2020 (photo from Atlas Obscura)
Name: Modern High Rise Apartments
Address: 956 Broadway
Year Built: 1885
(From 1993 pamphlet) These two buildings were originally the Bartholdi Hotel (named after the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty) and the American Art Galleries. The American Art Gallery building burned down in 1966 killing 13 firemen. The Bartholdi building was damaged in a fire in 1970 and then torn down.
(2020 update) Below the high rise apartments, which still remain, is a Papyrus Store, a TD Bank, and a tailor’s shop.
1900s (photo from New York Heritage)
2020 (photo from Ephemeral New York)
Name: Madison Parks
Address: Fifth Avenue and Broadway at 23rd Street
Year Built: 1847
(From 1993 pamphlet) Originally a swamp and pauper’s graves, in 1847 it was a part of the Randall plan to unify the street grid at all diagonal intersections of Broadway. It was the only part of the Randall plan to actually be completed.
(2020 update) Madison Square Park remains one of the most popular parks in Manhattan, now equipped with a Shake Shack and a Fall Eats food festival.
1800s (photo from 6sqft)
2020 (photo from Fine Art America)
Join us back here tomorrow for the next stops!