Posts Tagged ‘Meatpacking District’

Visiting the 1884 original Gansevoort Market

September 28, 2015

Gansevoort Street sure looked a lot different in 1884, the year the original Gansevoort Market made its official debut. This photo was taken a little later, dating to 1907.

Gansevoortmarket1910mcny

Opened after Washington Market in today’s Tribeca became too crowded, Gansevoort Market was an open-air produce market bound by Gansevoort, Little West 12th, West, and Greenwich Streets.

In other words, the heart of today’s ultra-trendy Meatpacking District.

Gansevoortmarket6m

The market was a big deal at the time; Harper’s Weekly even wrote about it in 1888.

“During the dark hours of early morning, as hundreds of wagons of all descriptions converge upon the market regions, pandemonium reigns as traffic chokes the thoroughfares for blocks around,” an article stated.

Gansevoortmarket1890sOver the next decade, the city built the West Washington Market, for dairy farmers and meat sellers. The WPA Guide to New York City described the scene this way in 1939.

“Activities begin at 4 a.m. Farmers in overalls and mud-caked shoes stand in trucks, shouting their wares. Commission merchants, pushcart vendors, and restaurant buyers trudge warily from one stand to another, digging arms into baskets of fruits or vegetables to ascertain quality.”

Gansevoortmarket1900

“Trucks move continually in and out among the piled crates of tomatoes, beans, cabbages, lettuce, and other greens in the street,” the Guide continues.

Gansevoortmarketkings1893“Hungry derelicts wander about in the hope of picking up a stray vegetable dropped from some truck, while patient nuns wait to receive leftover, unsalable goods for distribution among the destitute.”

Over the decades, produce moved out to the more accessible Hunts Point in the Bronx, and meat purveyors moved in.

West Washington Market burned down in a 1954 fire. The Gansevoort Meat Market building put up by the city in the 1940s remained in use.

Gansevoortmarkettoday

That is, until the Meatpacking District, as it was now known, emptied of meatpackers and began hosting fashion designers and faux French restaurants.

Today Gansevoort Market lives on in a very 2015 incarnation—as a trendy food hall.

Top photo: Museum of the City of New York; second image: 6sqft.com; third photo: nyhistorywalks.wordpress.com; fourth photo: MCNY; fifth photo: miracleoffeedingcities.com]

Faded food ads on Gansevoort Street

January 18, 2010

The ground floor of 53-61 Gansevoort Street has been scrubbed over and boutique-ized like so much of the rest of the Meatpacking District. 

So it’s a treat to see that the three-story faded ad on the side of the building is still mostly legible. “Clam Chowder Clam Bouillon” reads the letters across the top floor. The next ad is too difficult to make out, but the second-story one is “New England Biscuit Works.”

The company was an early tenant of the building, constructed on this triangular spot in 1887. At that time the Meatpacking District was known as Gansevoort Market, the city’s designated spot for open-air meat and vegetable markets.

Something about 53 Gansevoort Street caught photographer Berenice Abbott’s eye in 1936, prompting her to take this picture of the building. 

Though the ads appear to be different, the street scene, with men unloading trucks, looks the way the daytime Meatpacking District did up until the late 1990s—when the neighborhoof was still made up of, well, meatpackers.