Designed by a Chicago company, the building was formally called the Fuller Building, but instantly became universally known by the name of the triangular plot on which it was built. A steel-framed building, it has its lower three stories faced with stone and the remainder clad in terracotta. It was not the first nor the tallest of the new skyscrapers, but was the first to capture the romantic imagination of New Yorkers, New York's visitors, and many others who saw the images that depicted it.
Yardley does a good job of describing its significance and the affection he feels for it. He says, "When I lived in New York in the early 1960s I made regular pilgrimages to Madison Square in order to gaze reverently at the Flatiron, after which I walked a few blocks south to Union Square and the used book district that -- O lost! -- then thrived nearby. This was long before New York's renaissance, and the neighborhood was distinctly grubby, but even under a deep coat of soot the Flatiron's beauty and dignity shone through, and it was easy to imagine how much it had startled and thrilled the city six decades earlier."
Unfortunately, the review is accompanied by a single not very impressive photo.
I've done two previous web posts celebrating it in photos from the beginning of the twentieth century: (1) Flatiron, 1905 and (2) Madison Park 1905.
Here are some more of the many images that celebrate the building and the great expanse of Madison Square which it overlooks. You can find others via web search, including the great ones by Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen.
1. This brief film pans from street level to roof along the axis of the building's apex.
These still images all come from LC's Prints and Photos Division unless otherwise noted.
2. Some photos and a drawing made during its first decade of existence.
3. The structure in the foreground is the Victory Arch, put up to honor soldiers who were killed in World War I and later taken down.
4. The Flatiron building is located at the southern end of the great intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue called Madison Square. To the east of the intersection lies Madison Square Park.
5. We are looking down Fifth with the park on the left.
6. This panorama shows: at right, the sharp northern corner of the Flatiron Building, called the cowcatcher; in the middle, Madison Square; and in the background, Metropolitan Tower.
7. We are looking south down Madison Avenue, one block to the east of Fifth. The Met Tower dominates the photo, but you can see the trees of the eastern side of Madison Square Park at its foot in the hazy distance.
8. The photographer stands at the western side of the park and points his the Flatiron Building on his left, out of sight.
9. The Flatiron Building is out of sight to the left in this view; the artist was an American impressionist who specialized in cityscapes.
10. The photographer is located in the building just behind the triangular plot where the Flatiron Building will be erected. The camera is pointed north; Broadway extends to the left, Fifth Avenue to the right. The image is a scanned from a printed halftone that was made in the decade before the Flatiron Building was constructed.
11. As the captions say, these stereoscopic photos show Broadway just south of Madison Square.
12. The photographer is facing north and is standing at about the spot where the Flatiron Building will later be erected.
13. This shows the north and east sides of the Square. The photographer would have to turn 90° to the left in order to see the Flatiron Building.
14. This short movie shows windy Madison Square near the Flatiron Building.
Soon after the building was erected it became apparent that its shape and location resulted in erratic and quite severe gusts. The engineers had anticipated this problem and included extra wind bracing in the framework of the structure.
See in particular THE FLATIRON BUILDING, photos from nyc-archtecture.com
THE FLATIRON BUILDING; New York Architecture Images
Flatiron Building; Glass, Steel, and Stone
Flatiron Building on wikipedia
The Flatiron Building; the Birth of the Skyscraper
Flatiron Building; a view on cities
Beaux-arts architecture in New York: a photographic guide by Edmund Vincent Gillon, Henry Hope Reed (Dover Publications, 1988)