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FlatironThe full title of this wonderful book by Peter Gwillim Kreitler is Flatiron: A Photographic History of the World’s First Steel Frame Skyscraper, 1901-1990. The Flatiron Building is that triangular building the looks like a ship’s hull from the front. It is probably one of the most famous buildings in the world. Every time I pass by it, I marvel at its beauty.

Flatiron, the book, is filled with photos dating from 1901 through 1990. It has commentary from journals and individuals from the beginning of its construction in 1901 through the mid-1980s. There are photos taken by famous photographers such as Alfred Steiglitz, Edward Steichen and unknowns, including many anonymous.

My favorite photos are one by Steiglitz taken in 1902 on a snowy day taken from the park across the street from the building and one by Ed Kaplan taken in 1977 which is almost like a silhouette of the building in the background with a steam pipe in front of it spewing white steam.

Not only is the book a history of the Flatiron Building, it is a photographic history of New York. At the outset, the photos depict a street filled with horses and carriages. However, by 1910-1912 there is no sign of a horse and carriage. The streets are filled with the horseless carriage. Additionally, you see the changes in the buildings surrounding the Flatiron.

Both praised and panned as it rose, the Flatiron has turned out to be an architectural and aesthetic marvel. This book is a marvelous tribute to the building.

 

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