When we hear “Flatiron building,” we most likely think of New York.
This building has an association for me, and that is its relationship with the slang term “23 Skidoo,” which is worthy of a digression within a digression. You probably know the term “infinite regression.” Well, at times I indulge in infinite digression. Such as here.
New York’s flatiron may be the most famous, but it is by no means the only building named “Flatiron.” Buildings in wedge shapes built on wedge-shaped lots are known as flatiron buildings because of their resemblance to old-fashioned, cast irons.
I have a slight personal connection with the building on Market Street in San Francisco. For many years, labor arbitrators Sam and John Kagel had their offices in the building. i did arbitrations there. Painted on their window was FOX AND SON. They had a deal with CBS to use the exterior of their office (and the interior?) for the 1984-1986 show Crazy Like a Fox.
He played a role in the 1934 general strike in San Francisco.
He then forged a long career as a mediator and arbitrator.
I did many cases with Sam. He helped us design our grievance procedure with PG&E. He was a great storyteller.
His son John soldiers on.
If you have a case with John, don’t waste his time. Don’t lie. Don’t let your witnesses lie. Don’t hide the truth. Don’t grandstand. Get to the point. He was one of my very favorite arbitrators when I was doing arbitrations which I’m not. It has been eight years now since I did one.
But there you have it – wedge-shaped buildings known as flatiron buildings – all about me!
Just kidding. It’s not all about me.
I asked my friend to take a look at the flatiron building photographs. He was looking at a collection of photographs of a house decorated with beer cans in Hartlepool, England.
I pried him away. He almost seemed bored looking at the photos but then something clicked, something about the wedge shape. His final verdict: