A Day in Flatiron

Since you are new to the area, you will need to know something that many in New York City seem to forget. Several reincarnations have happened to the Flatiron District before it became the Flatiron. First, this part of the city was known as the Toy District, given how the toy manufacturing buildings (mainly the Toy Center) cornered the area around the Flatiron building. In fact, the American International Toy Fair first took place here in 1903. Then, the area was transformed into the Photo District, for the abundant presence of photographers. It is only then – in the 1980’s – that the area became the Flatiron District, a techie and foodie haven. So that’s our history lesson for today. Now time to explore this awesome New York City neighborhood!

Madison Square Park

The atmosphere is quite amazing in and around Madison Square Park. The park acts as the central meeting place for Flatiron residents. But the park is also an excellent spot to take in the surrounding sites such as the Flatiron building. This popular summer destination features several open area lawns, and is generally just great to stroll down its paths, circulating through and around the entirety of the park. Madison Square Park owes its name to the famed sports arena that used to be located just north of the park, on 34th Street.



You can’t move to Flatiron and not immediately go to Eataly. The foodie magnet is copycat of the Italian market in Monticello, the largest marketplace in the world. The owners, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, opened Eataly’s doors in 2010, and stocked it with anything you can possibly think of that’s centered around Italian food – from cured meats to cheese to breads. There’s also a rooftop bar (Sabbia at La Birreria) that features an immense selection of beers from Dogfish Head. You could spend hours exploring this playground of food. This early in the day, you’ll be happy to have beaten the crowds.


Museum of Sex

And now something completely different… the Museum of Sex. Even while dealing with touchy and risqué topics, the spot is in fact a 3-dimensional sex ed course done in good taste. The museum is dedicated to delving deep into the history, evolution and cultural significance of sex, while also putting a heavy emphasis on the history of the LGBTQ community, from struggles to strides. There’s also an exhibit that covers the diseases that could be contracted as a result of sexual intercourse.

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The NoMad Restaurant

Your newest neighborhood has the restaurant scene on lock. There are so many world-renowned eateries that dominate their own domains of breakfast, lunch and dinner, respectively. But for breakfast, you will be at The NoMad Restaurant, located in the NoMad Hotel. The breakfast is straightforward, yet done spectacularly. The top two standouts at NoMad are the frittata (braised bitter greens, bacon and ricotta) and the egg sandwich (duck sausage, cheddar on house-baked English muffin). The tea selection is also impressive with hard-to-find flavors such as Genmaicha and Jasmine pearl.


Mad. Sq. Eats

In Flatiron, lunch time presents another challenging decision-making exercise, all with the spectacular options such as Live Bait, Shake Shack (the chain's original location is in Madison Square Park), Burger and Lobster and Hill Country. Today, however, you’re in for a special treat with Mad. Sq. Eats taking over the west side of the park, as they do every six months or so. The outdoor culinary pop-up market features food vendors from the area’s top restaurants – all in one place.


Flatiron Building

The history of the Flatiron area is vast and rich, so this could be a perfect opportunity for a quick walking tour of the storied historic area. The first stop is the most obvious: the Flatiron Building, a 22-story, triangular, steel-framed building that was built in 1902 and remains a marvel of architecture as the world’s first steel-frame skyscraper. The next stop is the Grand Masonic Lodge, a 19-story home base for the fraternal organization. Past members have included Harry Houdini, Irving Berlin and Eddie Cantor. Nowadays, you get to walk in and explore as it is open to the public. The rooms have individual themes and the designs are mind-blowing. The final stop is the Theodore Roosevelt birthplace that features many of the actual pieces from Roosevelt’s childhood.

A Night in Flatiron


Eleven Madison Park

The crème de le crème. That’s what it must feel like to be a restaurant in the Flatiron. There’s the array of famous names: Gramercy Tavern, Craft, Blue Smoke, Tacombi and Rosa Mexicana, most rated in the top 100 restaurants in the world. And all that, naturally, leads us to the best restaurant in the world that just happens to be in your neighborhood. Eleven Madison Park was originally owned by Danny Meyer, who also started Shake Shack (the burger’s original location is just across the street from Eleven Madison Park), and provides the most elegant dining experience you will ever have. The American cuisine channels its French and Italian influences to the forefront with its famed tasting menu.


40/40 Club

The night ends with something completely out of the ordinary for Flatiron. The presence of the 40/40 Club gives the area a sense of diversity, since most of the bars and restaurants are geared to the upscale. The 40/40 Club was opened by rapper and producer Jay-Z and follows a sports theme. Traditionally, it attracts many athletes on the weekends. Today, it remains as popular as the day it opened more than 10 years ago.

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Flatiron Hall

The nightlife in Flatiron also has a flair for style and beauty. Most bars are classy and built for the financier crowd. The décor tends to be pristine and oftentimes so impressive that you can even find yourself forgetting you’re in a bar. There’s The Library at The NoMad, The NoMad Bar, 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar, Raines Law Room and the Flatiron Lounge. But the best of the bunch is the Flatiron Hall. The open space watering hole plays up its 1940’s décor and complements its impeccable looks with an incredible beer selection.

Words by Arte Vincent

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Erik Serras
Erik Serras
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