3. This is the View from the Off-Limits Roof of the Flatiron Building

“This has to be, I kid you not, one of the places people most want to come up to,” says Sonny. But the whole floor has security cameras, so don’t even attempt it. Even the folks who work on the 21st floor don’t have access out to the balcony, let alone the roof which is accessed for maintenance using a metal staircase welded to the building. The roof is mostly filled with mechanical equipment and cables. There is a skylight on the roof letting light down to the floor below, one of a series of many other skylights that used to exist.

When the Flatiron Building was built, it would have been the tallest building around and you would be able to see Central Park easily from the higher offices, Sonny tells us. Times Square did not exist, nor was there the Macy’s on 34th Street. “23rd Street was the place to be,” he says proudly.

Today, the Flatiron Building still sits higher than a lot of other buildings surrounding it, making it one of the more notable rooftops we’ve visited in the city (including 3 WTC70 Pine, 20 Exchange, the Chanin Building, and more). Some of the films that have been filmed on the rooftop and in the Flatiron Building include Spiderman (with Tobey Maguire), Godzilla, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and Smash.

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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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