Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Atlas Meats & Interstate

Plywood, scaffolding, and an official death shroud have just gone up around 437 West 13th Street. Despite controversy and a landmarking battle, the longtime home of Atlas Meats and Interstate Foods is coming down.


I've taken a lot of photos of this building over the last few years--you might say too many photos. But when you know something's about to vanish, you can't help yourself.

I loved its crumbling beauty, its sidewalks slippery with animal fat, its meatpackers in bloodstained smocks.

undated, via GVSHP



Meatpacking stopped here in 2009
, at the same time that the High Line opened and the Standard Hotel went up next door, casting its giant shadow on the plant's swinging slabs of beef and buckets of inedibles.

We knew it couldn't last. The powers that be would never permit it to survive--the blood! the fat! the smell! When Diane von Furstenberg moved in next door, she pumped perfume into the street from her flagship boutique, making passersby "dizzy."




After the plant shuttered, Meatpacking cats still lurked in the doorways and the brick walls were taken over by street artists and graffitists. Details magazine caught on and took the walls for their own "Details Guild" urban artvertising campaign. (The building also became a billboard for iced tea and Adult Swim.)

Walking by, there was always something new to see.



Now the old bricks will be demolished so a 175-foot glass tower can rise--and what's left for us to look at?

Interstate Foods
Details Guild
Meatpacking Cats
71 flickr shots
Meat on Hooks
Life in the Triangle


Bowery Boogie said...

Always loved your coverage of this vanishing gem. She'll be missed.

Anonymous said...

How much is that Yunnie in the window?

Anonymous said...

The battle to preserve this building centered on the fact that this was an important Art Deco design. Which the average person couldn't possible detect from its appearance. So while that argument was lame, its height will change the feel of this corner and make it feel more confined and less airy and open. Too bad that this tall tower will be going up.

Anonymous said...

I moved from Queens (Jamaica Hills)to the burbs in 1993.

Since then my grandfather's home (approx. built in 1920) was demolished replaced by a tacky building. At the corner of 165th Street and Chapin Parkway. Parkway? nothing more than a little street.

Lisanne! said...

I was quite awed for years at the continued survival of the businesses at this location. I thought in 1990 that the building's days were numbered. But proud and stubborn buildings don't go away quietly.

The meat processing industry, like so many in NYC, used to be significant. My father worked in it for over 40 years. The first two companies he worked for are long defunct, the last one amazingly still survives in Jamaica Queens.But over the years they had been pushed furthe and further east by "progress".

Willow said...

That building is fascism in architecture form. Horrifying.