Wednesday, October 17, 2012

13th & Washington

At 837-843 Washington Street, on the corner of 13th, demolition has begun on what once held the last working meatpacking house in the center of the Meatpacking District. The space will soon command rents of $600 a square foot.

today: the plywood is up

2011: No signs, street art + small-wheel cyclist

2007: Signs on the awning for active business

837 Washington was sold back in 2008 by GOP leader James Ortenzio, after he pleaded guilty to tax evasion. He had been renting out the refrigerated warehouses here to meat businesses for well below market rate, keeping them alive.

Not very long ago, you could still see the movement of meat from the building's open doors, through which men labored at stainless steel tables.

2007: Wooden palettes, a sign of work being done

2011: Graffiti replaced by street art

today: workers bust a hole through the bricks

GVSP published a history of the building and images of its future. It was built in 1938 and housed throughout its lifetime almost nothing but meat. Among its last tenants were the Ottomanelli Co., Lamb Unlimited, and Diamond Meat Packer.

In these photos I took in 2007, you can still see the meatpackers' signage, bent and swinging under the corrugated awning.



There were once 250 meatpacking companies in the neighborhood. In 2003 there were only 35, and another 9 meatpackers moved out in 2009 alone, including the big Interstate Foods, which was demolished earlier this year to make room for a glass tower. Now that Weichsel's is being pushed out, what's left remains in the city-owned Gansevoort Meat Market Cooperative.

The red- and yellow-brick shell of 837 will remain, hollowed out to hold something very new.

There was a brief battle over the future of the building and what will stand on top of it--a giant glass box or a Niketown-style plan. The "twisty Mepa tower" won this past summer.



the future


Katrink said...

I have developed a deep and abiding hatred of plywood, thanks to Thor Equities and other douchebag "developers". Can we please stop calling them developers and name them what they really are - destroyers?

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting companion piece to the previous post (Meatpacking 1980s) which, together, seem to lament the decline of decline, and begs an interesting question: what would those who actually worked on the highline as part of productive industrial enterprise in the 1940s & 50s make of how it had become by the 1980s? How would they view that change (ie 1950s to 1980s) relative to the neighborhood's commercial viability, for meatpackers as well as anyone else? And what would their appraisal be of the influx of money and people into this 'hood that arguably they had the greatest hand in constructing? One suspects they'd see a modern addition on top of an old brick meat locker as insane but for a different reason: the forces that built the original highline would have been disgusted to see the old meat locker remain.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely sickening. How can anybody w/ a conscious not feel guilt about tansforming this space into a another soulless icebox? In just slightly over a year, we'll have a new mayor. Hopefully one that will force the rich to pay higher taxes. I still have faith that manhattan can be affordable again l, if we get a mayor that will sever ties with developers.

Joe Blow said...

what is in all those briefcases?

JAZ said...

Disregard this comment if that last photo was just some sort of joke, but if not:

Is that last photo some sort of fucking joke!? Did they all brainstorm to come up with a structure that would most humiliate and slap the face of anyone who appreciated the legacy of the neighborhood? Again, it is another case of placing the head of the vanquished on a stick and parading it about.

Absolutely nauseating.

Jeremiah Moss said...

sadly, JAZ, it's no joke.

esquared™ said...

I paid $600/month for my first apt. (SRO) in the EV (at St. Mark's). With Bloomberg's proposed 300 sq. ft. micro apartments, it'd be $180,000 here. I wouldn't even be able to afford that, should that come into fruition.

@ anon. 12:09 pm
Unfortunately, the next mayor is Bloomberg's protégé. Much like the Putin/Medvedev collusion, the next mayor will just hold the seat for Bloomberg for 4 yrs. and afterwards, Bloomberg will take rein again. He will be mayor for life.

Anonymous said...

I'm sick of these twisty, undulating ode-to-me-and-my-creativity building designs. Maybe I'm just a simpleton but in my mind Frank Gehry is a retard.

Anonymous said...

I have lived in Chelsea since 1986 so obviously seen a lot of change. But I echo an earlier post, I knew some old timers in the 80s who owned a business on West 16th (betwen 9-10th) and they were completely disgusted with the deterioration of the neigboorhood from the 50s.

Everyone eventually becomes a curmudgeon I guess.