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 20th 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.
Alice Sparberg Alexiou’s history of one of New York’s earliest skyscrapers and enduring icons is thorough and sprawling. With the invention of the elevator, building developers realized they could maximize their expensive real estate investments by building higher and higher; the city quickly grew into the metropolis we know today. This audiobook not only documents the history of the triangular skyscraper from its origins with the Fuller Company, but also the history of the Madison Square neighborhood where it resides and the giant city evolving around it. A. Savlas gives a measured and leisurely performance here. She beautifully evokes the story of this celebrated structure and the famous, infamous, and average New Yorkers who financed, built, criticized, loved, and photographed it again and again.
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Thank you, Audible, for producing this
- Philip Keay
Delightful and vivid!
- C. V. Amerling