The Flatiron District is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, named after theFlatiron Building at 23rd Street, Broadway and Fifth Avenue. Generally the Flatiron District can be said to be bounded by 20th Street, Union Square and Greenwich Village to the south; the Avenue of the Americas(Sixth Avenue) or Seventh Avenue and Chelsea to the west; 25th Street and NoMad to the north; Rose Hillto the northeast, and Lexington Avenue/Irving Place, Gramercy Park to the east.
Broadway cuts through the middle of the district, and Madison Avenue begins at 23rd Street and runs north. At the north (uptown) end of the district is Madison Square Park, which was completely renovated in 2001. The Flatiron District encompasses within its boundaries the Ladies’ Mile Historic District and thebirthplace of Theodore Roosevelt, a National Historic Site. The Flatiron District was also the birthplace ofSilicon Alley, a metonym for New York’s high technology sector, which has since spread beyond the area.
The Flatiron District is part of New York City’s Manhattan Community Board 5.
The designation “Flatiron District” dates from around 1985, and came about because of its increasingly residential character, and the influx of many restaurants into the area – real estate agents needed an appealing name to call the area in their ads. Before that, the area was primarily commercial, with numerous small clothing and toy manufacturers,and was sometimes called the Toy District. The Toy Center buildings at 23rd Street and Broadway date from this period, and the annual American International Toy Fair took place there beginning in 1903, except for 1945. When much of this business moved outside the U.S., the area began to be referred to as the Photo District because of the large number of photographers’ studios and associated businesses located there, the photographers having come because of the relatively cheap rents.
As of the 2000s, many publishers have their offices in the district, as well as advertising agencies, and the number of computer- and Web-related start-up companies in the area caused it to be considered part of “Silicon Alley” or “Multimedia Gulch”, along with TriBeCa and SoHo.