Alice Sparberg Alexiou
Thomas Dunne Books
The marvelous story of the Flatiron: the instantly recognizable building that signaled the start of a new era in New York history.
Critics hated it. The public feared it would topple 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.
The Flatiron Building was built by the Chicago-based Fuller Company--a group founded by George Fuller, "the father of the skyscraper"--to be their New York headquarters. The company's president, Harry Black, was never able to make the public call the Flatiron the Fuller Building, however. Black's was the country's largest real estate firm, constructing Macy's department store, and soon after the Plaza Hotel, the Savoy Hotel, and many other iconic buildings in New York as well as in other cities across the country. With an ostentatious lifestyle that drew constant media scrutiny, Black made a fortune only to meet a tragic, untimely end.
In The Flatiron, Alice Sparberg Alexiou chronicles not just the story of the building but the heady times in New York at the dawn of the twentieth century. It was 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.
"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