Cast-iron Pedestal Clocks, like the one in front of the Flatiron Building, were ubiquitous in New York City public spaces around the turn of the last century, when pocket watches were an extravagance most people couldn't afford. Today, only about five of this historic timepieces remain standing.
Four of the city's extant clocks, all of which are the two-faced variety, stand in Manhattan.
A handsome example is located at No. 200 Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street in front of The Toy Center. This well-maintained clock was installed in 1909 when the building at the address was erected. Originally known as the Fifth Avenue building, the structure replaced the old Fifth Avenue Hotel. An elegant commercial building, it housed fashionable stores and a bank on the first floor. The double-faced clock with "Fifth Avenue Building" marking its dial, was a stylish advertisement and replaced an earlier timepiece installed by the hotel. One of the most ornate of New York's castiron street clocks, it is composed of a rectangular, classically ornamented base and fluted Ionic column with Scammozzi capital. The two dials~ marked by Roman numerals~ are framed by wreaths of leaves and crowned by a cartouche. The gilded cast-iron masterpiece was manufactured by the Hecla Iron works.