The Flatiron District is a small neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, named after the Flatiron Building at 23rd Street, Broadway and Fifth Avenue.
The designation "Flatiron District" for this area is of relatively recent vintage, dating from around 1985, and came about because of its increasingly residential characterand the influx of many restaurants into the area– real estate agents needed an appealing name to call the area in their ads.
Baruch College of the City University of New York is located on E. 23rd Street and Lexington Avenue on the eastern edge of the district. The College sits on the former site of the Free Academy (now City College of New York), which was founded in 1847 and was the first institution of free public higher education in the United States. Baruch's Newman Vertical Campus as well as the Zicklin School of Business, the largest collegiate school of business in the United States, is also located on 24th and 25th Street.
Gershwin Hotel is located on 27th Street. The Gershwin Hotel is a tribute to the late pop artist Andy Warhol, and features some of his art and memorabilia throughout the hotel.
There are also many stores around the area, such as Ann Taylor, Victoria's Secret, Club Monaco and Origins. "Big-box" retailers dominate Sixth Avenue between 14th Street and 23rd Street, at the district's western edge.
The identification "Flatiron District" with this area is of quite recent vintage, dating from about 1985, and came to exist due to its increasingly residential character, and the influx of many eating places into the area – realtors required an attractive name to call the area in their advertisements. Prior to that, the area was mainly commercial, and was often known as the "Photo District" because of the large number of photographers' studios and related businesses located there, the photographers having appear because of the fairly cheap rental prices. A part of the area was known as the "Toy District", because of the toy manufacturers located in the Toy Center buildings at 23rd Street and Broadway and the area around it, and the annual American Worldwide Toy Fair that has occurred there since 1903 (except for 1945).
As of the 2000s, numerous publishers have their offices in the district, as well as advertising and marketing agencies, and the amount of computer- and Web-related start-up companies in the area caused it to be regarded as part of "Silicon Alley" or "Multimedia Gulch", along with TriBeCa and SoHo.