“This has to be, I kid you not, one of the places people most want to come up to,” says Sonny Atis, the long-time superintendent of the Flatiron Building, who recently took us on a memorable off-limits jaunt through the iconic landmarks. In our subsequent feature article about the Top 10 Secrets of the Flatiron Building, we shared two photos from the elusive roof. But today, we are devoting a whole photo essay to the location and the views.
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.
The author, photographing from the roof
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 WTC, 70 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.
The roof level is used just for maintenance. The whole floor has security cameras, so don’t even attempt a visit up here on your own. Even the folks who work on the 21st floor don’t have access out to the balcony, let alone the roof. To get there, we opened a locked door onto the brick and balustrade balcony:
Here is the prow on the top balcony level:
Then you climb up a metal staircase welded to the building:
The top part of the ladder, looking out onto Chelsea, Hudson River, and New Jersey:
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
You can see the cherubs on the front of the building from here:
The views are striking: