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I’ve been lucky enough to stay in the Flatiron District a couple of times now and am a big fan of the area. Right in the centre of things, surrounded by buildings, business, parks and shopping, here are my five favourite things in the neighbourhood:
1. Grand buildings – the reason the area has its name: the Flatiron Building. Built by merchant Amos Eno, this Daniel Burnham & Co. design is pretty special, and for a long time was the tallest in Manhattan. Not as big as its Empire and Chrysler sisters, it is has as many people stop for a photo and stare. Keeping the Flatiron company, just across the park, are the Metlife Building and New York Life Building.
2. Eataly – if you are not in Italy, and it is Italian food and produce you want, this is your happy place. Opened by Oscar Farinetti, there is coffee, cheese, chocolate, gelato, fresh meat, fish and pasta, fruit and vegetables, wine, beer, bakery, cookbooks, Alessi overload, sit down or stand up restaurants (yes, stand up – a trend that was started here), and rooftop to sample some of Eataly’s own brews. It is hectic, it is busy, and there is plenty of Italian tourists dropping in, so if that isn’t an endorsement, I don’t know what is.
3. Homewares shopping — There are great shops all over New York, but there are two special gems worth mentioning in this area: Marimekko — the Finnish design company; and ABC Carpet & Home — 10 floors of gorgeous things for the home, that has been around since 1897. Both are in the historic ‘Ladies Mile’ area, where women of the 1800s used to flock to to shop (I recall from a tour, without a reference, that it wasn’t named so just because of the shopping, it is because it was an area that women had permission to walk without a man/or that men weren’t meant to be without a woman — I’ll check and update this post when I have the facts).
4. Madison Square Park – ‘Mad Square’, in summer, is lush and green and has lots of seating for some time out as there is always something going on here. There is a dog park if your four-legged friend needs a run, a Shake Shack for beverages, lawns for a picnic, and maybe a spot of public art.
5. Bleu Sur Bleu — This might seem a little random, but if you have ever tried to find a new doctor, dentist or hairdresser in a new town or city, you will appreciate the needle-in-haystack experience finding a new place for a cut can be. I was lucky to find Bleu Sur Bleu’s Flatiron salon, and have success with the results, so I’m sharing my find. Great colour from Iliana, cut and style from Jose, and shampooing from Carmen (Don’t forget to tip everyone at the end!).