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 16-22.
Name: 31 Union Square West
Architect: Bruce Price
Year Built: 1903
(From 1993 pamphlet) This slim Renaissance palazzo opened as the Bank of the Metropolis in 1902, and is now a restaurant occupying the original banking rooms.
(2020 update) The famed seafood spot, Blue Water Grill, took up the space for over twenty years before closing in 2019. Now, apartments above are available for rental and the retail space below is unoccupied.
1903 (photo from MCNY)
2020 (photo from Loopnet)
Name: Decker Building
Address: 33 Union Square West
Architect: John H. Edelmann
Year Built: 1892
(From 1993 pamphlet) A mixture of Venetian Gothic, Moorish and Classical Architecture, this building housed The Factory: Andy Warhol’s underground production studio.
(2020 update) Since 2015, Dylan’s Candy Bar, owned by the daughter of designer Ralph Lauren, has taken over the space.
1800s (photo from ArchivesNYC)
2020 (photo from Pinterest)
Name: Guardian Life Insurance
Address: 201 Park Avenue South
Architect: D’oench & Yost
Year Built: 1911
Annex at 105 East 17h Street, 1961, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
(From 1993 pamphlet) Renaissance revival with a mansard roof, this was originally Germania Life Insurance. The board of directors agreed to change the name at the beginning of WWI using as many of the original letters as possible in the new name.
(2020 update) The building is now a W Hotel location, one of the brand’s luxury lodgings around the world.
1911 (photo from Guardian Insurance)
2020 (photo from Mariott)
Name: The City Bakery
Address: 3 West 18th St
Architect: Wayne Turett and Maury Rubin
Year Built: 1989
(From 1993 pamphlet) Bakery and retail outlet designed to break the mold of the traditional bakery design. A modern design in a historic building.
(2020 update) Designed by TTC founder, The City Bakery closed in 2019 after becoming a beloved sweet spot in the city. The space is currently unoccupied.
1989 (photo from The Turett Collaborative)
Name: Kenneth Cole Shoes
Address: 95 Fifth Avenue
Architect: Vorsanger & Mills
Year Built: 1989
(From 1993 pamphlet) Uniquely designed shoe store using steel, glass, wood and plaster to form an exciting interior.
(2020 update) The retail location now houses Bonobos, a clothing store owned by Walmart.
(No images available.)
Name: 91 Fifth Avenue
Architect: Louis Korn
Year Built: 1884
(From 1993 pamphlet) Six Caryatids holding up 4 corinthian columns and two pilasters.
(2020 update) The building is a J Crew store with mens and womens options.
1800s (photo from Daytonian In Manhattan)
2020 (photo from Daytonian In Manhattan)
Name: Joan and David Shoes
Address: 104 Fifth Avenue
Architect: Eva Jiricna
Year Built: 1990
(From 1993 pamphlet) The clean white interior shows off the merchandise. Note the staircase in the back.
(2020 update) The building is owned by tech company Adobe, one of their 70 office locations.
1990 (photo from Interior Design Magazine)
2020 (photo from Techvibes)
Join us back here tomorrow for the final stops!