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A Symbol of New York - The Flatiron Building

Gennaio 2014
È uno dei palazzi simbolo di New York, il ‘ferro da stiro’. Quando fu costruito, nel 1902, molti pensavano che quella struttura così esile sarebbe crollata, e invece è ancora lì, a guardia del Flatiron District, uno dei quartieri più fashion di New York. Ce lo descrive Lester Holt, residente illustre e anchorman della NBC.

di Marina CarminatI

File audio:

clicca qui per andare alla relativa traccia audio (contrassegnata dalla scritta "speaker")


The Flatiron Building
The Flatiron Building
Lester Holt
Lester Holt

Speaker: Chuck Rolando (Standard American accent)

Most historians agree that the first modern skyscrapers were built in Chicago, but New York City has the most famous examples. One of the oldest is the bizarrely shaped Flatiron Building, which divides Broadway and Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street.   
Today the Flatiron District is a fashionable neighbourhood and its celebrity residents include Lester Holt, who anchors a number of news programmes on the NBC network. He talked to Speak Up about the District and its iconic Building:

Lester Holt (Standard American accent)

When the Flatiron was built in 1902 – I think it was completed in 1903 – there were a lot of concerns about it, there were concerns that it might fall down because of its unique design; it’s designed like a “flatiron,” like an iron. So some people thought it might fall down. There was pride because I think at the time it was the tallest building in that part of New York. So it got a lot of attention. Architecturally, it was one of the first buildings that had a steel frame and then they built masonry and kind of a bow arch decorative design on the outside of the building. So it got a lot of attention. There was a period when that neighbourhood began to deteriorate. Certainly, through the 1980s and 1990s, it wasn’t that nice a neighbourhood, there was some drug activity in the nearby park, and it wasn’t a... a nice place, but there was amazing resurgence at the beginning of the 21st century there, and suddenly it became the centre of one of the most thriving neighbourhoods in New York – the Flatiron District – and there have been some wonderful popular restaurants there. It’s located right by Madison Square Park, which has become one of the premier parks in New York City, they spent a lot of money, you know, making it a wonderful place for people to go, and so I think New Yorkers take a lot of pride in it and they enjoy the tourists.

MAMMA MIA!

Both tourists and residents love the food:

Lester Holt

One of the more popular places is a place called “Eataly,” which is a massive food emporium with the theme being Italian food, and there are Italian groceries, Italian restaurants, there are cafes all with Italian themes, and that’s brought a lot of people into the neighbourhood. They’ve got these wonderful plazas out there for people to enjoy the view. It is also a place that you can stand and take in some of the most amazing sights in New York. You can stand and look south and look at the Flatiron Building in that impressive shape. If you then turn your body and look to the east, you’re looking at the Metropolitan Clocktower Building, which for three years was actually the tallest building in the world; no longer, of course, but it’s an incredible architectural gem in itself. You then turn another quarter to look to the north and you’re staring at the Empire State Building: all that in one location while you’re sitting there, by the way, at a table, on the plaza, on a lovely day, sipping your espresso or cappuccino: it’s quite lovely.

HURRAY FOR HOLLYWOOD!

Not surprisingly, the Flatiron District has become a popular film location:

Lester Holt

The entire neighbourhood has almost become like a Hollywood lot or studio. There’s hardly a week that goes by that you don’t see a film crew shooting scenes for a movie, for a television show, for a commercial. Very often I’ll sit there and watch TV and a commercial will come on and: “I know where that is!” You know, it’s 23rd Street, it’s the Flatiron Building, so there’s a great draw to the neighbourhood. There are also a number of art installations there. Recently the Whitney Museum of American Art had a display in the retail space at the bottom of the Flatiron Building of Edward Hooper’s (Hopper’s – ed)  Nighthawk(s) painting. Across the street is Madison Square Park, which has its own incredible history, and they have ongoing public art projects there. Their most recent project involves the sculptures of trees with giant rocks and boulders in them, it’s quite impressive.

HIDDEN HISTORY

And the park has several secrets:

Lester Holt

A lot of people don’t realise this, but for six years the arm and, I think, the torch of the Statue of Liberty were there. And they were there to try to raise money so that New York could build a platform to put the Statue of Liberty. So for six years people could see part of the Statue of Liberty there. The area was also home to the first two Madison Square Gardens. There have been a series of stadiums, arenas called Madison Square Garden, two of them were there. In addition, at that park, many people think the game of baseball was invented, and I guess the first public baseball games were in that park. So there’s an incredible amount of history within about a three or four block area surrounding the Flatiron Building. 


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Explains

The Flatiron Building. Questo palazzo viene chiamato così perché ha la forma di un ferro da stiro. Ma da notare che il ferro da stiro di solito si chiama solo iron e non flatiron.

It’s quite lovely.
È bellissimo. L’avverbio quite ha due significati diversi: può significare abbastanza ma anche veramente. Ma non c’è da preoccuparsi: anche i madrelingua inglesi possono avere qualche difficoltà a capire quale dei due significati il loro interlocutore voglia utilizzare!

Nighthawk.
In realtà il quadro (del 1942) s’intitola Nighthawks. A nighthawk (letteralmente “un falco di notte”) è una persona che ama la vita notturna, che preferisce dormire di giorno.