Flatiron gets in the holiday spirit with SantaCon

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SantaCon participants got creative with their costumes as usual, including a group with real pine trees in their backpacks. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Revelers donned their best Santa, elf and reindeer costumes for the annual SantaCon pub crawl last weekend, which started in the shadow of the Flatiron building this year. Neighborhood residents let their opposition be known when the Santas gathered on the plaza at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and while the NYPD said there was no record of an arrest, NBC News noted that a handful of the protesters were escorted out of the plaza by police.

The NYPD also noted that no drunk or fighting Santas were arrested as in previous years, and while many in the community were not convinced of their noble intentions, organizers seem to be attempting to clean up the event’s reputation. Organizers on the plaza this past Saturday could be seen picking up bits of trash while the crowd started clearing out by late morning and one Santa berated a photographer climbing onto a planter, yelling at her not to be disrespectful of public property.

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Flatiron plazas to be redeveloped

The city is seeking community input on the redesign at an upcoming workshop. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

The city is seeking community input on the redesign at an upcoming workshop. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Flatiron pedestrian plazas and Worth Square (just north of the plazas) will be redeveloped, The Flatiron Partnership and New York City Department of Transportation have announced, and the city will be seeking input from the community at a public workshop on November 10.

Flatiron Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Brown said that development of the plazas has been theoretical for a while, but earlier this year there was enough funding through the city to officially start the design process and consider options for more permanent fixtures for the spaces.

Brown said that the plazas, which stretch along Broadway from East 21st to 23rd Street and north of 23rd Street between Broadway and Fifth Avenue adjacent to Madison Square Park, have been the way they are since 2008 using temporary materials like the epoxy gravel surface that is starting to wear out and the temporary granite blocks that protect the spaces from street traffic. The workshop, which will be held in the Porcelanosa building at 202 Fifth Avenue from 6 to 8:30 p.m., is geared towards getting input from the public about different design elements.

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Flatiron snowmen are not what they seem

The marble snowmen statues were designed by artist Peter Regli. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The marble snowmen statues were designed by artist Peter Regli. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With the Flatiron Pedestrian Plaza having become a hotspot for businesses looking to promote themselves through events and displays, a more recent use of the space at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue — as the home to a group of 12 snowmen — feels like a breath of fresh air, albeit a below freezing one with a blast of slush courtesy of passing cars.

But upon taking a closer look at the multi-sized Frostys, passersby have been discovering that they aren’t made of snow at all, but marble, and are part of a city-organized art installation. The snowmen are in fact “Snow Monsters,” designed by artist Peter Regli as part of his “Reality Hacking” series of exhibits.

The snowmen, even up close, look pretty close to the real thing, as they’re built to show various stages of melting and are different sizes. They also are all positioned to face south towards the Flatiron Building across the street. They were fabricated in Da Nang, Vietnam, by the Hánh family, who specialize in crafting traditional marble statues for Buddhist temples.

The installation was commissioned by the Department of Transportation, which is working alongside the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership.

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