The Flatiron Building (And a Bizarre Time Travel Claim)

The Flatiron Building is a bit weird to look at. Shaped like a triangle, its narrowest point is just six and a half feet wide. It’s one of the most iconic buildings in New York, and also has quite a bit of interesting trivia to go with it.

Weird Facts About the Flatiron Building

Image: cdelmoral/Flickr via CC by 2.0
Image: cdelmoral/Flickr via CC by 2.0

Designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, the Flatiron Building stands today as a national historic landmark, and one of the oldest buildings in New York City. It also has a storied history. For example:

  • When the Flatiron Building was being constructed, more than a few people were worried. While some felt it would become an eye-sore like many once believed about the Eiffel Tower, others had more practical concerns – namely, that it would fall over. This was not only due to its unique shape, but also because it used a steel skeleton, a new technique at the time. They even called it Burnham’s Folly.
  • Strangely enough, it’s not called the Flatiron Building because it’s flat and shaped like an iron. It’s called that because of its location, which also happens to be wedge-shaped. The streets Broadway, Fifth Avenue, 23rd and 22nd are together otherwise known as the Flat Iron.
  • The building initially only had men’s restrooms. This was a bit of an problem, as you can imagine, so to fix it they decided to have men’s and women’s restrooms on alternating floors.
Image: thenails/Flickr via CC by 2.0
Image: thenails/Flickr via CC by 2.0
  • Grotesque faces line the upper floors of the Flatiron Building, watching the populace down below.
  • The original elevators at the Flatiron were hydraulic. That’s right – they moved by water. This system was ultimately replaced and updated not too long ago.
  • The Flatiron was built in about one year. The frame itself was constructed at the rate of a floor a week, with the entire building finished by June 1902.
  • And for our last fact: It’s probably going to end up being turned into a hotel by an Italian real estate firm.

A Time Traveler’s Design

The Flatiron Building Under Construction
Image: Public Domain

Now, I hear rumors. I hear rumors of rumors. I never claim they’re legit or even remotely worth talking about, but I share them anyway because that’s what I do. That’s what this website is all about.

So, here we are. Here we go. Don’t kill the messenger. I’ve heard tell once or twice that the Flatiron Building was not, in fact, designed and constructed by any normal person.

No, it was made to the explicit design specifications of a time traveler.

Why? I don’t know; it’s just what I heard, and you know how I am about time travel. The claimed evidence is that the photograph up there, taken while the Flatiron Building was under construction, shows an alleged time traveler sporting a rocket pack and a cape, who can be seen hovering near the building’s top.

A Time Traveler?
Image: Public Domain

If you have trouble believing that claim, or that the time traveler in the above image isn’t just a flag or tarp or, worse, a leaf, just remember: There are neither facts nor certainty here, only illusions.


Rob Schwarz

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.


  1. Usually I try to be open minded about these things, especially because it’s more fun to believe if only a little but, but there is 0% chance that’s anything but a leaf. If you tweak it a bit in a photo editing program the branch connecting to it is clearly visible even as are the connecting leaves, and it’s decently visible even as it is. I love the idea though and the focus on Time Travel recently!

    1. Oh, it’s no doubt a leaf. But I’ve seen that claim twice now and found it far too absurd not to share.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, by the way. I’ve enjoyed your comments.

      1. Haha, I know you weren’t really believing it was what the theory says… but that’s the thing I love about this blog. Seems like every other even semi-Fortean site either denies everything to an un-fun extent (even Titor!) or blindly publishes every absurd claim like this as absolute fact for… hits, publicity, chaos, I don’t even know. You strike a great balance on this blog by keeping more in the middle, it’s great. You’ll post silly things like this without mocking it flat out but also post honestly stumping things like the Mandela Effect information. Even better, I don’t have to wade through the author trying to spin everything to fit their “NIBIRU AND THE LIZARD PEOPLE DID THIS” spin on every shiny spot in the sky.

        And thank you! I’m glad you’ve liked my little tidbits of input, I’ll probably be posting a lot more in the future, definitely reading at least. This site is fantastic, can’t believe I only discovered it this week. Wasn’t kidding when I said I made it my homepage. A refreshing take on the paranormal amidst hundreds of sites that make me just shake my head.

  2. Henry Miller (yes, the writer), occupied the front space when he worked for Western Union. A little know fact.

  3. What an odd thing — there’s an identical “Flatiron” building in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, IL! (When I first stumbled onto this post, albeit a few years late to the party, I thought THAT was the building being profiled here. Did NOT realize it had an identical twin in “the” city!)

    …As for the Chicago Flatiron, it houses some artsy but troubled people, with mediocre wares on sale (usually) and haunted pasts. (Built to be a sort of industrial mall, Chicago’s Flatiron later became a place for the desperately boho/indigent, and is gradually being gentrified like the rest of the neighborhood.) If you consider its dark vibe, past suicides, and random bullet-holes in some of the walls & windows, it suffices to say the Flatiron is “a weird place.”