2. The Penthouse Floor of the Flatiron Building Was Added Later

The 21st floor of the building was added to The Flatiron Building three years after it was completed. The top floor is set back about eight feet and sits like a cap behind the ring of balustrades that would have originally topped the building. This top floor can only be accessed via a separate second elevator from the 20th floor, which sits above the elevators that reach the 19th floor.

Sonny Atis, outside the 21st penthouse floor next to the balustrades

The balustrades were actually recast and replaced in 2001, along with the cherubs off the front of the building. Sonny remembers the replacement project vividly because he was here all night on September 10th, into the morning on September 11th, 2001, because the new cherubs were being brought up. “We would never [usually] be up here on a Tuesday morning, and then to turn around and see the World Trade Center on fire, and then to see that second plane hit, to see people jumping off the building, I could give you shivers.”

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9 thoughts on “The Top 10 Secrets of the Flatiron Building

  1. ..You state that, ‘…architect George A. Fuller, who was called “the father of the skyscraper.”
    ..Umm, no, he was not called that. Louis Sullivan is called the father of skyscrapers, ref(Kaufman, Mervyn D. (1969). Father of Skyscrapers: A Biography of Louis Sullivan. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.)
    ..Fuller was the creator of the system to which we now refer as general contracting.

  2. I was looking for more than one fact believe it or not. I’m trying to learn about important parts of the Flatiron Building. I was trying to find what the skeleton of the original was made of.

    1. So click on the button for the next fact? There are lots of fun facts including facts about the structure and construction materials.

  3. I could kick myself for never stopping and actually appreciating the building. My first apartment in 1975 was on 21st and 3rd Ave and I would walk past this incredible building on a regular basis. I would look up and remark to myself how cool it looked- a true monument to architecture, but never thought about going in. Maybe access was possible back then. Why is it unoccupied now and why no tours? Is it a safety issue? On my next visit back to the city- I’m going to walk up and actually touch the building, walk around it and appreciate that it will still be standing decades from now. Thank you for your research and sharing it with us.

  4. A great article on the Flatiron Building, but “23 Skidoo” does NOT come from the wind on 23rd Street. The slang term “23” existed in 1899–before the building even opened. I have documented this and my work has been available for about 20 years…The building was also called “Burnham’s Folly”…There are NYC buildings called the Little Flatiron Building (Herring Lock and Safe Company Building on Hudson Street) and the Waffle Iron (432 Park Avenue).

    1. Actually “23 Skidoo” is specifically for 23rd and the Flatiron. Yes, the slang terms “twenty-three” and “skidoo” existed prior to the building, however both of those terms were used independently and separately. In came the Flatiron and now “23 Skidoo” came to be and which became a popular phrase in 1906.

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