Thursday, April 14, 2011

Veal & Pumping

After being closed for the past several years, the former home of Premier Veal, also known as the Gansevoort Pumping Station, is being demolished to make room for the new Whitney Museum in the Meatpacking District. What's been lost is not just another meat warehouse.


my flickr: November 2010


my flickr: today

The building was originally intended to be a market house built circa 1906-1908. It was soon converted into a high-pressure fire service pumping station by the city. This Gansevoort station was used to fight the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.


from Industrial Progress, 1909


interior, The Edison Monthly, 1913

According to the 1914 World Almanac and Book of Facts, the pumping station was outfitted with "six electrically driven centrifugal pumps that are connected to the Croton Supply" and could "deliver 3,000 gallons a minute against a head of 300 pounds at the station."

At the time, firefighters believed that these high-pressure stations would "doom" fire engines.


my flickr: 2007

Oddly, as you can see in these before-and-after photos, the demolition crew has torn off the signs for the pumping station. Maybe they're being saved for posterity?


my flickr: today

Founded in 1972, Premier Veal moved into the building in 1984. In 2004, the city forced them out by requiring $1 million of extensive renovations without letting them buy the building. The city also increased the rent from $12,000 to $20,000.

Clearly, Premier Veal was no longer wanted in the new MePa. The Bloombergian developers had other plans.


my flickr: 2007

Reported the Villager at the time of Premier Veal's eviction: "The distinctive cow murals on the Premier building are by Chico, the Lower East Side graffiti artist. [Premier's president] Hirschorn, also an art collector, commissioned him to paint the building in 1996... some animal activists had shot paintballs at the murals."

But paintballs didn't doom these Chico cows to the dust heap of MePa--the rising of "progess" did. The High Line must be fed.


my flickr: 2007--with Standard Hotel rising

18 comments:

bitg said...

WoW :( That area is making us so sad and it keeps getting worst. More space, for more cloning mall stores :(

Soon you will have to go to Universal Studios to see what New York City use to look like :( Sad - Thank you for keeping it alive here at this great site! Hugs

Tricia said...

I've never been a proponent of piggybacking new buildings on top of old, as we sometimes see in Manhattan. The building across from Chelsea Market comes to mind. BUT...when a century-old building with a rich history like this one or Coney Island's Henderson Building is destroyed to make way for a new multi-story monstrosity, I have to wish the old was kept and incorporated into the new.

RE the signage being torn off, perhaps the demo co sold the signs to someone, possibly an architectural salvage dealer. That's what happened with the Henderson signage. Or do you suppose it will be incorporated into the future museum building?

Jeremiah Moss said...

good question, Tricia. not sure about the signs, but selling to a salvage dealer sounds right. everything is so pristine and fussy over there, i can't imagine the grubby old signs being used in the new building, but maybe...

JoeyC said...

My family used to own a restaurant in the theatre district called Delsomma. We bought all our veal Premier and our pork from Adolf Kusy. As a boy I loved to go with my uncle or brother to the meat packing district to buy the week's supply of meat. The place was wild and real and quite frankly smelled like hell. I liked watching the carcasses come in on the hooks and sometimes you could see them being skinned if the right door was open. I miss that New York. We need industry in this city or we are doomed.

Adrian said...

Sad to see it go, I always loved the building and its ornamentation , and I will miss the cows.

Ken Mac said...

I have taken so many shots of this great building over the years. And always wondered about that pumping station sign. Thanks for the explanation. Man, what an incredible bummer. It sucks. I think Tricia is right, they sold the sign for salvage. Its all about $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ in this town. This one really makes me sad

Ken Mac said...

It also had some very beautiful, detailed brass cornice work (if that's what you call it) around the entire line of the roof. It was bashed in in places but still mostly intact. Soon it will all be glass and steel on west 14th, as cold as ice

James Taylor said...

Damn, now I'm glad I took some great photos at dusk of this building a couple of summers ago.

Bowery Boogie said...

They should change the name of the neighborhood now...

glamma said...

"bloombergian developers." such an apt term.

Jeremiah Moss said...

hey Ken, do you have a link to your shots you can share?

Jeremiah Moss said...

james taylor, do you have a link to your shots, too?

Goggla said...

Damn, I loved this building and the cow murals. I haven't been in the MP area in about a year and this just makes me feel sad, as if I've just been told a tornado has wiped out my hometown and all my friends.

Anonymous said...

Have several PV hang tags which I collected during afternoon walks in the MPD for use in collages. Something said: collect what ephemera you can; this area will be destroyed. Sad.

Again, great write-up.

Anonymous said...

Premier Veal's parking area is filled with police cars. A young policewoman is sipping coffee and smoking a cigarette. Ask how she is? Reply: I've seen more today than you wanna see in a lifetime. Thanks for asking. Her face shows it. A lifetime, indeed

Journal entry
9/11/01 - mid-afternoon

Jeremiah Moss said...

anon 2:48, let's see those collages.

anon 6:40, only 10 years ago and a completely different world.

Ken Mac said...

Jeremiah, will post shortly. I think many others will too. There are a few shadows and corners left in the meatlacking district, visit while you can..

James Taylor said...

Jeremiah, I don't have them posted anywhere, but I could have a delve through the archive and email them to you if you'd like.