Meatpacking District, Manhattan

The Meatpacking District is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan that runs roughly from West 14th Street south to Gansevoort Street, and from the Hudson River east to Hudson Street.[2][3][4] The Meatpacking Business Improvement District extends further north to West 17th Street, east to Eighth Avenue, and south to Horatio Street.[5]

Gansevoort Market Historic District
Meatpacking District 4546163360 81d5f0f55b crop
An old meatpacking building converted into a boutique
Meatpacking District is located in Lower Manhattan
Meatpacking District
Meatpacking District
Meatpacking District is located in New York City
Meatpacking District
Meatpacking District
Meatpacking District is located in New York
Meatpacking District
Meatpacking District
Meatpacking District is located in the United States
Meatpacking District
Meatpacking District
LocationRoughly bounded by West 16th Street to the north; Ninth Avenue, and Hudson Street to the east; Gansevoort Street to the south; and West Street and 11th Avenue to the west
Manhattan, New York City
Coordinates40°44′25″N 74°00′25″W / 40.74028°N 74.00694°WCoordinates: 40°44′25″N 74°00′25″W / 40.74028°N 74.00694°W
Area44 acres (18 ha)
Architectural stylevarious
NRHP reference #07000487[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPMay 30, 2007
Designated NYCLSeptember 9, 2003



A Native American trading station called "Sapohanikan" was on the riverbank, which, accounting for landfill, was located about where Gansevoort Street meets Washington Street today.[6][7] The footpath that led from Sapohanikan inland to the east became the foundation for Gansevoort Street,[8] which by accident or design aligns, within one degree, to the spring and autumnal equinoxes.[9] In recognition of this history, petitions were made to call the 14th Street Park "Saphohanikan Park" although it appears no formal recognition was given.[10]

Initial development

The earliest development of the area now known as the Meatpacking District came in the mid-19th century. Before that it was the location of Fort Gansevoort[a] and of the upper extension of Greenwich Village, which had been a vacation spot until overtaken by the northward movement of New York City. The irregular street patterns in the area resulted from the clash of the Greenwich Village street system with that of the Commissioners' Plan of 1811, which sought to impose a regular grid on the undeveloped part of Manhattan island.[11]

Construction of residences in the neighborhood – primarily rowhouses and town houses, some of which were later converted into tenements – began around 1840, primarily in the Greek Revival style which was prominent at the time.[11] By mid-century, with Fort Gansevoort replaced by freight yards of the Hudson River Railroad, a neighborhood developed which was part heavy industry and part residential – a pattern which was more typical of an earlier period in the city's history but which was becoming less usual, as industry and residences began to be isolated in their own districts. In the western portion of the neighborhood, heavy industry such as iron works and a terra cotta manufacturer could be found, while lighter industry such as carpentry and woodworking, lumber yards, paint works, granite works and a plaster mill blended into the residential area.[11] At the time of the Civil War the part of the district west of Ninth Avenue and Greenwich Street and above 10th Street was the location of numerous distilleries making turpentine and camphene, a lamp fuel.[12]

After the Civil War

When development began again after the war in the 1870s, the tenor of the neighborhood changed. Since it was no longer considered a desirable area to live in, construction of single-family residences was replaced with the building of multiple-family dwellings, and the continued internal industrialization increased. In addition an elevated railroad line had been constructed through the neighborhood along Ninth Avenue and Greenwich Street, completed in 1869.[11] Additional development began in the 1880s when two new markets began operating in the area. On the old freight yards, the Gansevoort Market (originally the "Farmer's Market"), an open-air space for the buying and selling of regional produce started in 1879, and the West Washington Market, 10 brick buildings used for meat, poultry and dairy transactions, relocated to the river side of West Street in 1884.[11] By 1900 the area was home to 250 slaughterhouses and packing plants,[13] and by the 1920s what had been a neighborhood based on mixture of marketplaces became more tightly focused on meatpacking and related activities – although other industries continued to be located there, including cigar-making, transportation-related businesses such as automobile repair, express services and garages, import-export firms, marine supplies, cosmetics, printing and many others.[11] After decades of debate, the High Line elevated freight line was authorized in 1929 as part of the "West Side Improvement Plan", and the New York Central Railroad completed construction, passing through the neighborhood, in 1934.[11]

Decline and resurgence

The area's decline began around the 1960s as part of the general decline of the waterfront area. Containerization of freight; the advent of supermarkets which changed the distribution pattern for meat, dairy and produce from a locally or regionally based system to a more national one; and the development of frozen foods and refrigerated trucks to deliver them were all factors in this, but meatpacking continued to be the major activity in the neighborhood through the 1970s. At the same time a new "industry", nightclubs and other entertainment and leisure operations catering to a gay clientele, began to spring up in the area.[11]

In the 1980s, as the industrial activities in the area continued their downturn, it became known as a center for drug dealing and prostitution, particularly involving transsexuals. Concurrent with the rise in illicit sexual activity, the sparsely populated industrial area became the focus of the city's burgeoning BDSM subculture; over a dozen sex clubs – including such notable ones as The Anvil, The Manhole, the Mineshaft, and the heterosexual-friendly Hellfire Club – flourished in the area. Many of these establishments were under the direct control of the Mafia or subject to NYPD protection rackets. In 1985 The Mineshaft was forcibly shuttered by the city at the height of AIDS preventionism.[14]

Meatpacking District 001
Aerial view

Beginning in the late 1990s, the Meatpacking District went through a transformation. High-end boutiques catering to young professionals and hipsters opened, including Diane von Fürstenberg, Christian Louboutin, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Barbour, Rubin & Chapelle,[15] Theory, Ed Hardy, Puma, Moschino, ADAM by Adam Lippes, and an Apple Store; restaurants such as Pastis—which closed in 2014[16]—and 5 Ninth;[17] and nightclubs such as Tenjune. In 2004, New York magazine called the Meatpacking District "New York’s most fashionable neighborhood".[18]

A catalyst for even greater transformation of the area was the opening in June 2009 of the first segment of the High Line linear park. A former elevated freight railroad built under the aegis of Robert Moses, it opened to great reviews in the District (and in Chelsea to the north) as a greenway modeled after Paris's Promenade Plantée. Thirteen months earlier, the Whitney Museum of American Art had announced that it would build a second, Renzo Piano-designed home at 99 Gansevoort Street, just west of Washington Street and adjacent to the southernmost entrance to the High Line;[19] and on May 1, 2015, the museum opened at this site. These were turning points in the changes experienced by the neighborhood over the first two decades of the 21st century, transforming it from a gritty manufacturing district into a bustling high-end retail, dining, and residential area, as documented by photographer Brian Rose in his 2014 book “Metamorphosis.”[20]


By 2003, out of 250 twentieth-century slaughterhouses and packing plants in the area, only 35 remained.[13]

In September 2003, after three years of lobbying by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) and its Save Gansevoort Market Task Force of neighbors and allies, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) established the Gansevoort Market Historic District.[21] The LPC granted only part of the group's request: the new district excluded the neighborhood's waterfront, and the restrictions associated with the designation did not apply to the 14-story luxury hotel (the Hotel Gansevoort) which opened in April 2004.[13] In 2007 New York State Parks Commissioner Carol Ash approved adding the entire Meatpacking District, not just the city-designated Gansevoort Market Historic District, to the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places.[22] The district was listed on the National Register on May 30, 2007 with 140 buildings, two structures, and one other site included.[1]

Since the historic district was designated, threats to the “sense of place” meant to be preserved have continued to crop up. In 2004, GVSHP led a successful fight against a 450-foot-high proposed tower at 848 Washington Street, just over the district's border, which would have been permitted by a change in Department of Buildings policy.[23] In 2009, developers proposed a glass-walled office tower and retail space for 437 West 13th Street that was larger than zoning allowed. GVSHP strongly opposed the project, as the sense of openness in the area would be diminished and the low-scale character of the neighborhood would be eroded.[24] In the end, the developers were not granted all of the variances that they had hoped for, but a glass tower will be built. In 2013 the New York City Council approved a plan to dramatically increase the size of the Chelsea Market complex — outside the Historic District, but within the National Register District — without sufficiently protecting its unique retail character, over the opposition of GVSHP and neighborhood allies.[25] In 2014, however — in line with the repeated requests of GVSHP and other advocates — the city's Board of Standards and Appeals denied a developer's application for zoning variances to make a planned large building at 40-56 Tenth Avenue (between 13th and 14th Streets) even larger.[24] One visible traditional feature that still remains are streets paved with Belgian blocks, often referred to, erroneously, as "cobblestones".


Meatpacking District 3 crop

Before gentrification, many meatpacking buildings had become derelict

Herring Safe & Lock Company Building

The Herring Safe & Lock Company Building (1849) at the intersection of Ninth Avenue and Hudson Street at 14th Street

Meatpacking District 4368286112 112f004733

The Apple Store at 14th Street and Ninth Avenue

Meatpacking District panoramic

Hotel Gansevoort (right) and Pastis (left) on Ninth Avenue

Highline NYC 4043997124 cbcac90545

The Standard Hotel above the High Line

Greenwich Village NYC Sunset 032415 Gansevoort Street 19-01 h

Gansevoort Street is almost perfectly aligned to the Spring equinox

See also


Explanatory notes

  1. ^ Named after Peter Gansevoort, a general in the Revolutionary War


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ McPherson, Coco (December 24, 2002). "Close-Up on: The Meatpacking District". Village Voice. Archived from the original on August 8, 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-28.
  3. ^ New York Times map of Meatpacking District
  4. ^ Mohney, Chris (September 25, 2006). "Close-Up on: The Meatpacking District". Gawker. Archived from the original on January 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-28.
  5. ^ "Neighborhood - Meatpacking District Official Website". Meatpacking District Official Website. Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  6. ^ Hudson River Park Trust
  7. ^ Letter from J. Lee Compton, Chair, City of New York Manhattan Community Board 4 to Kathy Howe (March 8, 2007)
  8. ^ Bolton, Reginald Pelham. Indian Paths in the Great Metropolis New York Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, 1922. pp58-59
  9. ^ Earth System Research Laboratory
  10. ^ "Folkies Sing a Different TuneFor Village’s Chapel Buildin [sic]" New York Observer (February 12, 2001)
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Shockley, Jay "Gansevoort Market Historic District Designation Report part 1", New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (September 9, 2003)
  12. ^ Johnson, Clint. "A Vast and Fiendish Plot" New York Archive (Winter 2012)
  13. ^ a b c New York City Names Gansevoort Market a Historic District, from the website of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
  14. ^ Gay, Tim (July 14–20, 2004). "Bring back the beefcake, and add some flowers too". The Villager. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
  15. ^ Renzi, Jen. "The raw and the cooked: From red light to limelight, New York's meatpacking district redesigns for fashion", Interior Design (4/1/2003)
  16. ^ Beth Landman (February 26, 2014). "NYC celebs remember iconic Meatpacking eatery Pastis". New York Post. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  17. ^ Platt, Adam (May 21, 2005). "Top 5". New York. Retrieved 2012-09-19.
  18. ^ Steinberg, Jon (August 18, 2004). "Meatpacking District Walking Tour". New York. Retrieved 2008-02-28.
  19. ^ second
  20. ^ "Brian Rose Photography". Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  21. ^ Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation Save Gansevoort Market
  22. ^ Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation Meatpacking District Approved for Listing on State and National Register of Historic Places (11 April 2007)
  23. ^ "Village Group Hails Reversal of City Ruling It Fought". Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  24. ^ a b "Final Vote on Zoning Variance". Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  25. ^ Gray, Billy (January 25, 2013). "Local Residents Fear Food Vendors Will Lose Out in Chelsea Market Expansion". Observer. Retrieved 20 August 2014.

External links

2015 in architecture

The year 2015 in architecture involved some significant architectural events and new buildings.

2015 in art

The year 2015 in art involves various significant events.

Anywhere (Rita Ora song)

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The song was chosen as The Guardian's track of the week. Commercially, "Anywhere" reached the top ten in twelve countries, including the United Kingdom where it peaked at number two (making it Ora's eleventh UK top-ten single). The music video, directed by Declan Whitebloom, shows Ora in various locations throughout New York City.


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Better Out Than In

Better Out Than In was a residency undertaken by pseudonymous graffiti artist and political activist Banksy in New York City during October 2013. Banksy unveiled at least one work of art daily, documenting it on both a dedicated website and an Instagram account. The majority of the works were stencil graffiti and chiefly political, a distinctive characteristic of Banksy. Other pieces and multimedia exhibits toyed with dark humor and satire.

The unpredictability of the show and Banksy's elusive nature stirred excitement amongst fans, while defacement from competing street artists and vandals became an imminent problem. While Banksy's works were inherently illegal, no official complaints were reported to the police; most property owners praised the art and some took measures to protect it. The month-long residency drew controversy amongst some locals for its more politically strong pieces, and received mixed reviews from critics.

An HBO documentary film covering this period and residency titled Banksy Does New York was released in 2014.

Borró Cassette

"Borró Cassette" (English: "Erased Cassette") is a song by Colombian singer Maluma taken from his second studio album Pretty Boy, Dirty Boy (2015). It was released as the album's second single on 29 June 2015 through Sony Music Latin. The song was critically well received, being nominated in various categories at Latin award ceremonies. Commercially, it was successful across countries of Latin America, topping the charts in Colombia and peaking within the top five on various Latin Billboard charts and Venezuela. A music video for the song was filmed at Meatpacking District, Manhattan under the direction of Ulysses Terrero. It premiered on Vevo on 28 August 2015 and it features Maluma at a party. In order to further promote "Borró Cassette", Maluma performed it live during his numerous appearances on Latin music award shows.

Cecily Brown

Cecily Brown (born 1969) is a British painter. Her style displays the influence of a variety of painters, from Francisco de Goya, Willem de Kooning, Francis Bacon and Joan Mitchell, to Old Masters like Rubens and Poussin, yet her works also present a distinctly female viewpoint. Brown lives and works in New York City.

Flatiron Building

The Flatiron Building, originally the Fuller Building, is a triangular 22-story, 285-foot (86.9 m) tall steel-framed landmarked building located at 175 Fifth Avenue in the Flatiron District neighborhood of borough of Manhattan, New York City. Upon completion in 1902, it was one of the tallest buildings in the city at 20 floors high and one of only two "skyscrapers" north of 14th Street – the other being the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, one block east. The building sits on a triangular block formed by Fifth Avenue, Broadway, and East 22nd Street – where the building's 87-foot (27 m) back end is located – with East 23rd Street grazing the triangle's northern (uptown) peak. As with numerous other wedge-shaped buildings, the name "Flatiron" derives from its resemblance to a cast-iron clothes iron.The building, which has been called "one of the world's most iconic skyscrapers and a quintessential symbol of New York City", anchors the south (downtown) end of Madison Square and the north (uptown) end of the Ladies' Mile Historic District. The neighborhood around it is called the Flatiron District after its signature building, which has become an icon of New York City. The Flatiron Building was designated a New York City landmark in 1966, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989.

High Line

The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long (2.33 km) elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail created on a former New York Central Railroad spur on the west side of Manhattan in New York City. The High Line’s design is a collaboration between James Corner Field Operations (Project Lead), Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Piet Oudolf. The abandoned spur has been redesigned as a "living system" drawing from multiple disciplines which include landscape architecture, urban design, and ecology. Since opening in 2009, the High Line has become an icon of contemporary landscape architecture.The park is built on a disused, southern viaduct section of the New York Central Railroad line known as the West Side Line. Originating in the Lower West Side of Manhattan, the park runs from Gansevoort Street – three blocks below 14th Street, in the Meatpacking District – through Chelsea to the northern edge of the West Side Yard on 34th Street near the Javits Center. The West Side Line formerly extended south to a railroad terminal at Spring Street, just north of Canal Street, and north to 35th Street at the site of the Javits Center. Most of the viaduct's southern section was demolished in 1960, and the section north of 34th Street was demolished and reconfigured in 1981. Another small portion was demolished in 1991. The High Line was inspired by the 3-mile-long (4.8 km) Promenade plantée (tree-lined walkway), a similar project in Paris which was completed in 1993.Because of declining usage, the railway viaduct was effectively abandoned in 1980. Repurposing the railway into an urban park began in 2006, with the first phase opening in 2009 and the second phase opening in 2011. The third and final phase opened to the public on September 21, 2014. A short stub above Tenth Avenue and 30th Street was scheduled to open by 2018, but did not open until March 15, 2019.The High Line's success has inspired cities throughout the United States to redevelop obsolete infrastructure as public space. The project has spurred real estate development in adjacent neighborhoods, increasing real-estate values and prices along the route in an example of the halo effect. As of September 2014, the park had nearly five million visitors annually.

Hudson River Park

Hudson River Park is a waterside park on the North River (Hudson River), and is the part of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway that extends from 59th Street south to Battery Park in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is a joint state and city collaboration, but is organized as a New York State public-benefit corporation. It is a 550-acre (2.2 km2) park stretching 4.5 miles (7.2 km), making it the second-biggest park in Manhattan after Central Park. The park arose as part of the West Side Highway replacement project in the wake of the abandoned Westway plan.

Bicycle and pedestrian paths, spanning the park north to south, open up the waterfront for recreational use. The park includes tennis and soccer fields, batting cages, children's playground, dog run, and many other features. The parkland also incorporates several rebuilt North River piers along its length, formerly used for shipping.

Hudson River Park connects many other recreational sites and landmarks. It runs through the Manhattan neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan (including Battery Park City, World Trade Center, and Tribeca), Greenwich Village (including the West Village and Meatpacking District), Chelsea, and Midtown West (which includes Hudson Yards and Hell's Kitchen/Clinton).

Hudson Street (Manhattan)

Hudson Street is a north-south oriented street in the New York City borough of Manhattan running from Tribeca to the south, through Hudson Square and Greenwich Village, to the Meatpacking District.

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The Standard, High Line

The Standard, High Line, formerly The Standard, is an 18-story luxury boutique hotel located at 848 Washington Street between West 13th and Little West 12th Streets in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan, New York City. It stands 57 feet (17 m) above street level, above the High Line, a former elevated railroad track reconstructed into a linear park. The hotel, which has 337 guest rooms, was designed by the architects Ennead Architects (formerly Polshek Partnership) and was completed in 2009. Architype Review, an online architecture publication, heralded the hotel as being "straightforward, [and] thoughtfully conceived, [something] that is all too rare in the City today."

Thirteenth Avenue (Manhattan)

Thirteenth Avenue was a street in the New York City borough of Manhattan, New York City. It was built in 1837 along the Hudson River. None of the avenue remains.

Washington Street (Manhattan)

Washington Street is a north-south street in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It runs in several distinct pieces, from its northernmost end at 14th Street in the Meatpacking District to its southern end at Battery Place in Battery Park City. Washington Street is, for most of its length, the westernmost street in lower Manhattan other than West Street. The exceptions are a one-block segment in the West Village where Weehawken Street lies between West and Washington Streets, and in Battery Park City).

Main east-west streets crossed include (from north to south) Christopher Street, Houston Street and Canal Street; neighborhoods traversed include the Meatpacking District, the West Village, Hudson Square and TriBeCa. At points north of Canal Street, traffic on Washington Street travels south; at points south of Canal Street, it travels north.

Whitney Museum of American Art

The Whitney Museum of American Art, known informally as the "Whitney", is an art museum in Manhattan. It was founded in 1930 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875–1942), a wealthy and prominent American socialite and art patron after whom it is named.

The Whitney focuses on 20th- and 21st-century American art. Its permanent collection comprises more than 23,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, films, videos, and artifacts of new media by more than 3,400 artists. It places particular emphasis on exhibiting the work of living artists as well as maintaining an extensive permanent collection of important pieces from the first half of the last century. The museum's Annual and Biennial exhibitions have long been a venue for younger and lesser-known artists whose work is showcased there.

From 1966 to 2014, the Whitney was at 945 Madison Avenue on Manhattan's Upper East Side. The museum closed in October 2014 to relocate to a new building designed by Renzo Piano at 99 Gansevoort Street in the West Village/Meatpacking District neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan; it reopened at the new location on May 1, 2015.

Lower Manhattan
below 14th St
(CB 1, 2, 3)
Midtown (CB 5)
West Side (CB 4, 7)
East Side (CB 6, 8)
Upper Manhattan
above 110th St
(CB 9, 10, 11, 12)

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