Old New York In Photos #47 – Before The Flatiron Building 1900

Before The Flatiron Building

The Intersection of 23rd Street Where 5th Avenue and Broadway Meet – 1900

23rd Street site of Flatiron Building c 1900 Photo Robert L BracklowThis view of 23rd Street at the intersection of Fifth Ave and Broadway was taken around 1900 by Robert Bracklow. The ornate street lamp and multitude of signs and advertising make this a great street level photograph. There is also something very interesting that I have rarely seen in any late 19th century photo of New York and that is another photographer taking a picture at the same time that this one was taken. He is directly to the left of the street lamp and the tripod is clearly visible while his head is under the covers to line up his shot.

From the approximate direction his camera is pointing, it looks like he is shooting straight up Broadway toward the Worth monument. I’d like to imagine that behind the camera is Joseph or Percy Byron of the famous New York Byron Company.

The famous Fuller Building, better known as the Flatiron went up in 1902 on the site of this triangular plot which had a series of two and three story buildings located on it throughout the late 1800’s. The Flatiron soon became quite famously the place where men gathered to watch women’s skirts blow above their ankles with the strong wind gusts created by the skyscraper. The police would regularly come on by to eliminate the gawkers with the phrase, “Twenty-three, skidoo.”

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