The Flatiron: The New York Landmark and the Incomparable City That Arose with It

( 2 )

Overview

The marvelous story of one of New York City's most unique buildings

Critics hated it. The public feared it would fall over. Passersby were knocked down by the winds. But even before it was completed, the Flatiron Building had become an unforgettable part of New York City.

Alice Sparberg Alexiou chronicles not just the story of the building, but the heady times in which it was built. It was the dawn of the twentieth century, a time when Madison ...

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The Flatiron: The New York Landmark and the Incomparable City That Arose with It

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Overview

The marvelous story of one of New York City's most unique buildings

Critics hated it. The public feared it would fall over. Passersby were knocked down by the winds. But even before it was completed, the Flatiron Building had become an unforgettable part of New York City.

Alice Sparberg Alexiou chronicles not just the story of the building, but the heady times in which it was built. It was the dawn of the twentieth century, a time when Madison Square Park shifted from a promenade for rich women to one for gay prostitutes; when photography became an art; motion pictures came into existence; the booming economy suffered increasing depressions; jazz came to the forefront of popular music—and all within steps of one of the city’s best-known and best-loved buildings.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Alexiou -- a native New Yorker and the granddaughter of a man who for a time owned the Flatiron Building in partnership with Harry Helmsley -- has written an engaging and informative account of the building's construction and its lasting place in New York's lore."--The Washington Post
 
“Alice Sparberg Alexiou's The Flatiron joins such books as Jill Jonnes's Conquering Gotham (2007), about Pennsylvania Station, and Gail Fenske's The Skyscraper and the City (2008), about the Woolworth Building, in a budding genre that we might call biographies of buildings.”--The Wall Street Journal

"Though she ends on a note of permanence, as the landmarked and restored Flatiron is here to stay, Ms. Alexiou's book is ultimately about the never-ending change that rushes by in the city, and, in evoking that, she succeeds."--The New York Observer

"The first history book about The Flatiron, one of New York City's first skyscrapers, built in 1902, and still a favorite sightseeing stop for tourists."--Deseret News

"[Alice Sparberg-Alexiou] brings the building alive by profiling not only its owners and tenants but also the city's mixed reaction to it."--The Christian Science Monitor

“Alice Sparberg Alexiou elucidates the complex web of human relationships built around the Flatiron, bringing life to the poignant and tragic story of the skyscraper, its creators, denizens, and critics in New York 1900—a rich and contentious setting shaped not only by buildings, streets, and squares, and the popular arts of music, theater, and film, but also by unbridled speculation, gambling, corruption, conflict, and intrigue.”--Gail Fenske, author of The Skyscraper and the City

Jonathan Yardley
Alexiou…has written an engaging and informative account of the building's construction and its lasting place in New York's lore.
—The Washington Post
Library Journal
Journalist Alexiou, whose grandfather bought the Flatiron Building with three other investors in 1946, offers a detailed but discursive narrative about one of New York's most recognizable landmarks from the turn of the 20th century. With a novelistic structure, the book relates a breathless social history about numerous figures who played a role in what was originally known as the Fuller Building: the developers and builders, the architects, and the financial backers, as well as subsequent investors and their next of kin. Particular attention is paid to the lives of George A. Fuller's son-in-law Harry S. Black, who became president of the Fuller Company in 1900, and his wife. Art and architectural historians may find compelling the chapter on the building's potent imagery, especially as codified by photographer Alfred Stieglitz. But other than a 1902 photograph of the steel frame being covered with terra cotta tiles, no floor plan or other essential graphic documentation supports the building analysis. VERDICT This meandering tale will be of interest to only the most devoted student of New York urban history. Sarah Bradford Landau and Carl W. Condit's Rise of the New York Skyscraper: 1865–1913 remains the definitive source for understanding this iconic work.—Paul Glassman, Felician Coll. Lib., Lodi, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250032041
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/3/2013
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 698,003
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Alice Sparberg Alexiou is the author of Jane Jacobs: Urban Visionary. She is a contributing editor at Lilith magazine and has written for The New York Times and Newsday, among others. She is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and has a Ph.D. in classics from Fordham University. She lives in New York.

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Table of Contents

Prologue
Chapter One: George Allon Fuller
Chapter Two: Eno's Flatiron
Chapter Three: Chicago's Gift
Chapter Four: Preparing to Build
Chapter Five: Bigger and Bigger
Chapter Six: The Skyscraper Trust
Chapter Seven: The Flatiron Opens for Business
Chapter Eight: 23 Skiddoo
Chapter Nine: Water and Wind
Chapter Ten: Allon
Chapter Eleven: Uptown
Chapter Twelve: Sur Le Flat-Iron
Chapter Thirteen: The Big Landlord
Epilogue

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Great Read

    New York City never fail to amaze. There is so much history in this building and this book. Very well written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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