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SVA's Guide to NYC: Flatiron District


Manhattan’s Flatiron District—the area surrounding Madison Square Park, from Sixth Avenue to Park Avenue, and 26th Street to 20th Street—is known for its distinctive architecture (the Flatiron Building, Met Life Tower, Metropolitan Life North Building and New York Life Insurance Building are all landmarks), and was once also known as Silicon Alley for its concentration of tech companies. Though primarily a commercial district, the Flatiron neighborhood still has plenty to offer.

Here are a few of our favorite things to see, do and taste in the neighborhood, with help from SVA students and alumni.

10 Things to Do in Flatiron:

Get in character at Abracadabra – 19 West 21st Street (between Fifth and Sixth avenues)

The self-described “most unique store in New York City,” Abracadabra offers wigs, costumes, gags, novelties, props and much more.

Take a break in Madison Square Park – 23rd Street at Broadway

The focal point of the neighborhood, Madison Square Park is home to the original Shake Shack, several well-manicured lawns for hanging out and an annual sculpture installation. Currently on view through Sunday, October 8, is Josiah McElheny's "Prismatic Park," featuring three large sculptures of painted wood and prismatic glass.

Stock up at Da Vinci Artist Supply and Blick Art Supplies – 132 West 21st Street (between Sixth and Seventh avenues) and 650 Sixth Avenue (on the corner of 20th Street)

With two art supply stores within walking distance of SVA's classrooms and studios on 21st Street, students won’t have to venture far to be fully equipped for late-night studio sessions.

Visit the SVA Flatiron Gallery – 133/141 West 21st Street

One of SVA’s three galleries across New York City, the Flatiron Gallery hosts student exhibitions year round. Don’t miss "Mind Sets," an exhibition of work by BFA Fine Arts students, on view through Saturday, October 14.

Book a table at SPiN – 48 East 23rd Street (between Park and Madison avenues)

This is not your average game room. SPiN’s approach to Ping-Pong includes original artwork by New York artists, live music and a day glow-themed college night.

Decorate your coffee table at Rizzoli Bookstore – 1113 Broadway (between 25th and 26th streets)

Take advantage of the famed Rizzoli Bookstore’s proximity (it recently moved to the neighborhood after years uptown) by stocking up on high-quality, large-scale illustrated books on art, architecture, fashion and more.

Discover the cutting edge at Visible Futures Lab – 132 West 21st Street, 7th floor (between Sixth and Seventh avenues)

SVA’s Visible Futures Lab is a "research and development organization for the world of entrepreneurial design, discovering directions for the next wave of products and services," and offers courses such as Designing for 3D Printing, Screen Printing with Conductive Inks and Prototyping with Fibers and Conductive Materials. The Lab also offers two residences in the fall to visiting artists.

Learn something at the Museum of Sex – 233 Fifth Avenue (on the corner of 27th Street)

Featuring exhibitions that chronicle the evolution of human sexuality, the Museum of Sex puts a unique perspective on cultural history. On view until Sunday, September 24, is "NSFW: Female Gaze," an exhibition that was co-curated by Lissa Rivera (MFA 2009 Photography, Video and Related Media).

Dive into the crates at Academy Records & CDs – 12 West 18th Street (between Fifth and Sixth avenues)

Browse the vast collection of new and used records and CDs for rarities, classics and hidden gems across genres.

Explore the Illuminati at the Grand Masonic Lodge – 71 West 23rd Street (between Fifth and Sixth avenues)

The headquarters of the New York state chapter of the fabled, secretive and conspiracy theory-friendly Freemasons, guests can take free tours of the lodge’s grandiose interiors, which have welcomed such members as Harry Houdini, John Jacob Astor and former NYC mayor Fiorello La Guardia.

Five Local Eats:

Dig Inn – 16 East 23rd Street (where Madison Avenue meets 23rd Street)

Dig Inn offers local, sustainably sourced produce and is “as close as you can get to a healthy homemade meal,” says Ashley Sepulveda (BFA 2016 Design).

Ilili Box – 999 Broadway

Located in the plaza west of Madison Square Park between Broadway and Fifth Avenue, this outdoor dining kiosk serves up a variety of Eastern Mediterranean street food, such as manoushe, falafel and shawarmas.

Eataly – 200 Fifth Avenue (between 23rd and 24th streets)

More than an emporium for Italian delicacies and gourmet products, Eataly also has numerous restaurants (including one on the roof), food counters, a café, Nutella bar and more.

Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop – 174 Fifth Avenue (between 22nd and 23rd streets)

A classic New York deli, Eisenberg’s has been serving sandwiches, such as their famous tuna melt, since 1929.

By CHLOE – 60 West 22nd Street (between Fifth and Sixth avenues)

This local spot's all-vegan fare—including juices, salads and ice cream—has been lauded by vegans and non-vegans alike. “Their burgers are a favorite among foodies and have drawn a cult following,” says Bridget Badore (BFA 2013 Photography).

School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587