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Happy Birthday, Gansevoort Market Historic District

On September 9, 2003, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Gansevoort Market Historic District. GVSHP led the fight to protect the important historically significant buildings in this neighborhood, and continues to fight today when those protections are threatened.

The original Gansevoort Market in the 1880s
The original Gansevoort Market in the 1880s [photo source: gansmarket.com]
In its designation report (read the two parts here and here), the LPC noted that the “research by Regina M. Kellerman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which culminated in the publication The Architecture of the Greenwich Village Waterfront (1989), formed a basis for the initial construction history of the building entries.”

The report also points out that the neighborhood “is distinctive for its architectural character which reflects the area’s long history of continuous, varied use as a place of dwelling, industry, and commerce, particularly as a marketplace, and its urban layout. The buildings, most dating from the 1840s through the 1940s, represent four major phases of development, and include both purpose-built structures, designed in then-fashionable styles, and those later adapted for market use. The architecture of the district tells the story of an important era in New York City’s history when it became the financial center of the country and when its markets were expanding to serve the metropolitan region and beyond. Visual cohesion is provided to the streetscapes by the predominance of brick as a facade material; the one- to six-story scale; the presence of buildings designed by the same architects, a number of them prominent, including specialists in market-related structures; the existence of metal canopies originally installed for market purposes; and the Belgian block paving still visible on most streets. The street layout is shaped by the transition between the irregular pattern of northwestern Greenwich Village (as far north as Gansevoort Street) and the grid of the 1811 Commissioner’s Plan. Unusually large and open intersections contribute to the area’s unique quality, particularly where Ninth Avenue meets West 14th Street and Gansevoort Street (which was widened in 1887), and provide sweeping vistas that showcase the unusual building typology and mixed-use quality of the district. Aside from Tribeca, the Gansevoort Market Historic District is the only remaining marketplace district that served the once-flourishing Hudson River commercial waterfront.”

A common misconception is that no architectural changes can ever happen in an historic district. This is not true, but those changes must be approved by the LPC.

photo source: meatpacking-district.com
Historic buildings at 3, 5, & 7 9th Avenue are protected so far. [photo source: meatpacking-district.com]
GVSHP opposes a plan for new construction in this historic district on Gansevoort Street. You can read more about this and how you can help fight it here.

Today, Gansevoort Market/Meatpacking District is no longer a sleepy enclave, but a vibrant and active neighborhood for all New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy with much of its original historic architecture and low-rise scale still intact. Let’s keep it that way.

photo source: meatpacking-district.com
photo source: meatpacking-district.com

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