Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Meatpacking District, Gansevoort Street Between Greenwich and Washington Streets


Mary Sargent © 2009 …………………………………….. click to enlarge

My apologies for the non-post last night, an historic first for this blog. (Not counting vacations, of course.) I was just congratulating myself on that the other day. In almost three years, I've never missed a daily post, I said to Barbara. I'm impressed with myself, I said. See what happens when you say something like that out loud?

Last night I came home late, maybe just a touch looped, and realized this wasn't going to be like those other nights when I've come home late and just a touch looped, because tonight I needed to research the Meatpacking District and then write a coherent couple of paragraphs. Furthermore, it couldn't be put off because this was the only photo of historic buildings on this walk. Realizing all this took the last bit of brainpower I had left, so I said to myself, I'll just take a little nap and do this later. When I awoke at 10 a.m. this morning, it was clear that I couldn't call this last night.

But enough lamenting. Onward to the business at hand. I'm not going address the Meatpacking District as a whole, because another day, I will do a more District centered walk and talk about it then. (This one is more High Line centered.) But I came across the Gansevoort Market Historic District Designation Report of 2003 and found the detailed history of these buildings at 52-58 Gansevoort Street. You can imagine how thrilled I was. (The building at the left is Griffin Lounge as of April 2009, a more recent addition to the street, and not under discussion here.)

Nos. 54-56, the middle two of the building at the right, began life around 1850-54 as a carpenter shop and stable, and nos. 52 and 58 on the ends, were constructed as tenements in 1853. Yes, tenements are generally (always?) more than two stories, and these tenements were originally 3 and 4 stories tall. The carpenter shop and stable were operated by one family, William Hoe, his son James Hoe, and James's sons, William and George, from the beginning in 1853 until the company went bankrupt in 1933. In 1937, during the "last major phase of development of the district," according to the report, when new low rise buildings were built and other buildings altered and reduced in height for market uses, these buildings were reduced to two stories and connected to form a market building, with upstairs offices. The first tenants dealt in wholesale fruit and produce. In 1963, Ottman & Co. expanded its wholesale meat business into this space and the name is still visible on the end of the metal awning, but I can't find any evidence of the company's existence today.

The report concludes that this building contributes to the District, not only because of its market use, but because its brick and stone façade and metal canopy contributes to the visual cohesion of the district.

See map.

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