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Thread: Gansevoort Market Historic District Designated

  1. #1

    Default Gansevoort Market Historic District Designated

    September 11, 2003

    Blood on the Street, and It's Chic


    The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has designated the Gansevoort Market section of Manhattan as a historic district. Many meatpacking companies still operate there.

    Michael Diamond walked past the trucks for Woolco, Sysco and the meat purveyors yesterday as he crossed Little West 12th Street. A famed rap performer and Spiritual Guy, he is the obligatory Beastie Boy on hand to assure the followers of fashion eating brunch at outdoor cafes that they had arrived at the scene of a scene.

    It was another day in Gansevoort Market, a neighborhood described by its boosters as "gritty." Though the streets are still cobblestone and in some places covered in the blood of cattle, the century-old meat markets have in recent years lost some ground to other sorts of meat markets:, nightclubs and boutiques patrolled by skinny women and men with expensive sunglasses.

    Gritty sells, though. Gritty evokes a New York of gangs and huddling masses, and it attracts filmmakers and clubgoers seeking a veneer of danger. So the owners of disparate businesses in this neighborhood have formed an unlikely alliance to preserve certain parts of the market's appearance. This week, they won designation by the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission for a historic district in an area bordered by 14th and 15th Streets on the north, Horatio Street on the south, West Street on the west and Hudson Street on the east.

    The district's borders are a puzzle piece in part because this is a neighborhood where the streets of the old Greenwich Village grid collide at a 45-degree angle with those of the Manhattan grid. The designation requires approval by the commission for any significant alterations to the facades of buildings within the boundaries.

    Perhaps the most readily apparent examples of the neighborhood's distinctive architecture are the metal awnings jutting out from the brick facades, put here to provide shade and an anchor for the pulleys that workers use to load carcasses from trucks to warehouses.

    "It has a completely unique sense of place," said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, a group that worked to secure the designation. "It's for that reason that it's become popular in recent years. The trick is not to kill the goose that lays the golden egg."

    Mr. Berman has found allies in the meatpacking unions and restaurant owners, who have collectively decided that the goose-killers they have in mind are developers of residential real estate.

    Already at the spot where the cobblestone of Gansevoort Street meets the asphalt of Hudson Street, there rises a sleek silver exoskeleton with panels befitting a spaceship and balconies too small for chairs, a project of the Hotel Gansevoort Group of Garden City. On the western side of the market, the developer Stephen Touhey has proposed a 32-story luxury building to straddle the old High Line railroad.

    The historic designation, Mr. Touhey said, will not affect his plans because his battlefield is at the Department of City Planning, which oversees zoning.

    "My plan has always been to build a building that fits in with the historic architecture of the neighborhood," Mr. Touhey said, adding that his plans were changing to build something more like a hotel than a condominium building.

    The business owners-cum-preservationists say they do not want people to live here because residents would inevitably complain about the traffic and the noise and the mess that industry produces.

    Florent Morellet, owner of the restaurant that bears his first name and a chief campaigner for the historic district designation, conceded that he himself made residential development appealing by opening a French bistro among the warehouses.

    "Progress is inevitable," Mr. Morellet said. "What I'm trying to do with this is to try to channel it."

    There were no historic districts to channel development and change a century ago, when this district actually was residential. People moved into tenements here in the 1820's to escape epidemics in what was then the main part of New York. The neighborhood shifted to become a market, first for produce and, after the development of reliable refrigeration, for meat. Gansevoort Market became a commercial district, its looks of concern to few.

    Walmir Meats is among the meatpackers that still operate here. Its owners and unions joined the campaign for a historic district.

    "Nothing ever stays the same," said Raymond DeStefano, shop steward at Walmir for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 342. "But when they're squeezing you out and you could only buy a hot dog in a boutique, that's what it all boils down to."

    Mr. DeStefano said that the smell of the block is in his blood and in the cobblestone. He stood under a series of hooks as he said this, and bleeding hindquarters and forequarters swung around his head, producing the smell he spoke of.

    Walmir Meats is cold. Décor is limited to a small plastic cow, picture postcards of skiers and a portrait of Miss September pulling at her teddy as if it is full of sand.

    "Once this is gone, this whole block is gone," Mr. DeStefano said.

    Signs abound of the delicate balance between true grit and those using grit as a backdrop to underscore their beauty. Across from Western Beef, there is a series of stores each selling the wares of a different Western European designer, with a maximum of five outfits on display in the middle of a wide space, smooth surfaces and inventive lighting. Lampposts jut out from the old brick facades. Four of them atop the Rio Mar restaurant illuminate an outsized billboard featuring a woman standing next to a printed name, offering a pouting glare to the diners across the street as if to say "Look but don't touch" or perhaps "I have recently watched the film `Amélie.' " It is unclear what the billboard is selling, but the model's clothes are a solid bet.

    "The charm is that it's so diverse," said Birgitte West, a vice president of Bodum, a Danish purveyor of household goods that is converting a meatpacking warehouse into a call center to sell fancy kitchenware on the Internet. "It does smell of meat in the morning."

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company


    Press Release

  2. #2


    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp
    I took some photos earlier today of the area around the proposed Nouvel building. Remember, this area has a markedly different atmosphere during the week.

    View north on Washington St at Little W 12. The tower portion would be on the left of the high line.

    View west on W 13 St.

    One block north on Washington St. This is an active meat packing facility.

    Across the street from the above building, this one has been converted. The entire ground floor is small retail. Only a few are open, but all storefronts having work permits in the windows.

    Another building being renovated on 9th Ave and W 13 St.

    Hudson St and 9th Ave looking south. These buildings occupy a prominent spot. If this area is landmarked, will these buildings be preserved? IMO, no architectural value.

    Intersection of Ganesvoort, Little W 12, 9th Ave, and Greenwich. I think this spot should get some special consideration. Many restaurants here, and a gateway to the Village (to the left).

    Same area as above

    Retail on W 13, complete with historic pork.

    I don't think landmarking is the answer, but a large resident base may not be desirable either. The area may not look busy, but there are restaurants, shops, galleries, and clubs, and taxis looking for fares. The area is ideally located between Chelsea and the Village.

    The hotels are a good idea. City planning and the BSA should
    decide what they want this area to evolve into, and help it along.

  3. #3


    What the hell do I know! :roll:

  4. #4


    Hotel Gansevoort is a new boutique hotel located in the Meatpacking District. 21 February 2004.

    The view from under the High Line - same corner, same character.

  5. #5


    The building on the corner of Tenth Avenue and 15th Street. The building next to this one, to the left, is being demolished. Anyone knows what is being planned for the spot?

  6. #6


    June 27, 2004


    The Meatpacking District: Out of the Darkness, Into the Klieg Lights

    HIPSTER HEIGHTS A wave of restaurants and clothing stores, a club and a hotel, have drawn a hip new crowd to the meatpacking district, but the blood and grit have not completely been washed away.


    PLEASANTLY gentrified to some yet disappointingly sanitized to others who knew it when the hottest clubs along its cobblestone streets had names like Hellfire, the Manhole or the Anvil, New York's ever-heaving meatpacking district still has enough of that gritty je ne sais quoi to make it Manhattan's hottest 24/7 scene.

    Pretty much anything anybody could want can be found here, at all hours of the day or night. There are hip restaurants, pricey designer retail stores and the exclusive members-only Soho House, where each guest room has bathtubs big enough for two and a free copy of the Kama Sutra. There's an emporium for fancy food and drink, a big-box supermarket for the local rent-poor and a progressive school for the progeny of the intellectually privileged. Add the butchers in their bloody aprons and there you have it, the New York version of cutting edge.

    So spoiled for services in a service-spoiled town, this teeming little slice of Manhattan is also the place everybody who is anybody wants to call home. Brokers are overwhelmed with demand for space in a neighborhood that until relatively recently was more popular with transvestite prostitutes than apartment hunters.

    "To anyone who has been watching the change, it is astounding," said Debra Kameros, a real estate agent and principal in the Debra Kameros Company. "People used to think you fell off the earth at Gansevoort Street, and now it is location, location, location."

    The meatpacking district is loosely bordered by West 14th Street to the north, Hudson Street to the east, Gansevoort Street to the south and West Street to the west, and apartments are at a premium because, technically, no one is allowed to live there — not even Diane von Furstenberg, who is trading the two West 12th Street town houses she lives and works in for 25,000 square feet of industrial space on West 14th Street, across the road from the retailer Jeffrey Atlanta New York. The town houses fetched a reported $23 million.

    The district is zoned for commercial and industrial use only, with some exceptions made for fewer than a dozen grandfathered rental units like those at 675 Hudson Street, or the hip Hotel Gansevoort on Ninth Avenue, since hotels are allowed in commercial zones.

    People seeking apartments in the area are looking on the fringes of the meatpacking district, which has been called the Gansevoort Market Historic District since achieving hard-won landmark status last September. The closest apartments are actually in the northern reaches of the West Village, on such streets as Washington, Jane, Horatio, Greenwich and Hudson. Some early conversions here are also former meatpacking buildings.

    To the north, the fluid boundaries of the neighborhood go up to West 15th Street in Chelsea, where the upscale Chelsea Market and the new Maritime Hotel, formerly the Covenant House center for teenage runaways, stand in sharp contrast to the 945-unit Robert Fulton Houses, a public housing project that runs between 16th and 19th Streets.

    At the corner of Ninth Avenue and 15th Street, the condos in the 22-unit Porter House complex sold out in nine weeks, according to Michael Chapman, the Stribling and Associates broker handling the sales. The building is named for the cut of steak, which took its name from porter houses, 19th century coach stops that in turn took their names from the dark brown beer brewed from charred malt; its units ranged from $735,000 for a one bedroom to $4.15 million for a penthouse. Two-bedroom units were sold at $1.3 million.

    The building is a new construction sitting atop a Renaissance Revival warehouse built for Julius Wile, wine importers, in 1905. At 495 West Street, a 3,100-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bath condo that sold four years ago for $2.75 million is on the market again for $5.2 million, according to Jan Hashey, an executive vice president at Douglas Elliman.

    Prices per square foot of finished space within walking distance of the meatpackers are now reaching $2,500 — well above the $1,300 per square foot of raw space in the Richard Meier-designed buildings farther south along the Hudson River at Perry Street.

    Rental prices on the fringes of the meatpacking district are slowly starting to go up as more apartment owners cash out and demand for rentals goes up, according to Itzy Garay, office manager for the West Village office of Citi Habitats. She sees the soft rental market turning into a landlords' market once again.

    "January, February, March, you'd have 100 people at an open house and everyone was looking to buy," Ms. Garay said. "Now so many people are looking to rent and we just don't have the inventory. Prices are starting to creep up, but they are still not as insane as they were a few years ago."

    A one-bedroom garden apartment in a prime West Village location has been renting for $4,800, but the owner is now asking $5,400, according to the broker. "That's an enormous increase over a year," she said.

    The space acquired by Ms. von Furstenberg at 440 West 14th Street was occupied for 50 years by the Gachot & Gachot meatpacking company. It was built by John Jacob Astor in 1887 to house workers for nearby piers and what was then a new produce market. Meat, poultry and dairy products were added by 1887, but meat eventually took over.

    There were still about 100 meatpacking concerns operating in the area in the early 1970's, but now only about 25 remain, according to Jo Hamilton, a trustee of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Over the years, the butchers and packers co-existed with the other elements seduced by the charms of the seedy, anonymous, rough-and-tumble life that thrived under cover of darkness near the waterfront.

    The arrival of the restaurant Florent on Gansevoort Street in 1985 provided the first glimmer of change, and it has been an upscale sprint ever since. Restaurants like Pastis, Spice Market and Vento now occupy almost every available street-level space on the side streets as well as on 14th Street, where luxury retailers like Jeffrey and Stella McCartney are increasingly the shopping destination of choice for hip, well-heeled New Yorkers.

    New residents flocking to the environs come for the night life, but the area is also well-served by such traffic arteries as West Street and 14th Street, public transportation and schools. For grades K through 5, Public School 3 and P.S. 41 in the West Village and P.S. 11 in Chelsea have some of the best reading and math scores in the city. Local private schools include the 106-student Chelsea Day School, for children ages 2-5, and the Corlears School, whose 128 students range in grade from nursery school to fourth grade.

    On weekends, children of all sizes head to the Hudson River Park. It may soon be complemented by the restored High Line, a 22-block-long raised rail bed that locals hope to turn into a leafy pedestrians-only retreat. And à la Carrie Bradshaw, the lucky few will be sipping cosmopolitans on the sun decks of the roof-top swimming pools at Soho House and the Hotel Gansevoort.

    Preservationists heaved a collective sigh of relief last fall when landmark status was achieved for the area, protecting the remaining meatpackers and smoothing the way for the possible move to the Gansevoort Market of the commercial flower district currently on Seventh Avenue in the West 20's. But even landmark status is no guarantee that the Gansevoort Market will not see change of another sort.

    The hotelier André Balazs, who oversaw the reincarnation of the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles and turned a SoHo factory into the Mercer, has announced plans to build an outpost of his bargain Standard hotel chain on a much-fought-over lot bordered by West Street, West 13th, Washington and Little West 12th Streets. Little is known about the project except the price of the rooms — $100 compared with $350 at the Gansevoort.

    But as they wait to see the plans, locals are philosophical about the continuing kaleidoscope of changes over two decades from wild gay bar scene to playground for the wealthy glitterati.

    "I was fine when I was the only queen on the block and I'm fine now," said Florent Morellet, owner of Florent and a leading community advocate. "If you live in New York it is because you like change, and you had better embrace it or get out."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  7. #7


    I think the area looks like a friggin' dump, I dont know how it is "Trendy" or "Chic" :?

  8. #8
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Garden City, LI


    Quote Originally Posted by ILUVNYC
    I think the area looks like a friggin' dump, I dont know how it is "Trendy" or "Chic" :?
    Have you ever walked around here?

  9. #9


    No, becuase all the areas I have seen in the pictures look like a dump. Just my tastes, rather not go.

  10. #10


    Evolution from guys who wear leather pants because they ride, to guys who wear leather pants because of their wives... 8)

  11. #11


    Quote Originally Posted by ILUVNYC
    I think the area looks like a friggin' dump, I dont know how it is "Trendy" or "Chic" :?
    Hmmm. It seems that, from all your posts, you like New York's glitter, but not its grit. Anyone who knows New York will tell you they go hand in hand.

    Club PM
    Gansevoort St

    The Meet
    Washington & Gansevoort Sts

    Gansevoort St

    Gansevoort & Greenwich Sts

    9 Ave & Little W 12 St

    One Little West 12

    Washington & Little W 12 Sts

    W 14 St

    Spice Market
    9 Ave & Gansevoort St

    9 Ave & Hudson St

    9 Ave & W 14 St

    Noguchi footstools

    Little W 12 St

    Hotel Gansevoort

    What a dump!

  12. #12
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Manhattan - UWS


    Oh the smell of blood I cant take it any more!!! :x

    Cool pictures....Thanks for showing us that the city is not all like the Upper East Side (But it will one day I am afraid!) but a place where even the rats get to rule!

  13. #13


    OK OK OK :? Maybe it isnt such a dump, its actually okay. But the part of me likeing the glitter of new york more than its grit, is true, I like the upper east side far better than the lower east side. Just a matter of taste.

  14. #14

  15. #15


    Quote Originally Posted by Kris

    Oh yeah.
    :lol: Boys are so predictable.

    Isn't she a beauty:

    Thanks for all the pics, Zippy.

    I, for one, enjoy the grit just as much as the glitter. NY wouldn't be NY without the grit. It gives the city it's edge (that scares some away - which I believe is a good thing. )
    Last edited by Kris; January 25th, 2007 at 03:31 PM.

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