These images were donated by John T. Krawchuk, who photodocumented the Meatpacking District, Far West Village, and Hudson River waterfront in the early 1990s as part of his Columbia University graduate thesis in Historic Preservation completed in 1995. The full thesis, entitled “On Edge: The West Village Waterfront”, can be viewed here.

This project took place at a pivotal time in the neighborhood’s history. The contemporary removal of disused sections of the High Line south of Gansevoort Street and the conversion of the abandoned Hudson River piers and waterfront to parkland coincided with and helped spur dramatic gentrification and development in the area, which had been a gritty backwater for decades. That process accelerated greatly in the years that followed those captured in these pictures, which show buildings and scenes which have since disappeared or been utterly transformed.

John’s thesis, along with the earlier work of Regina Kellerman, helped document and highlight the architecture and history of the waterfront blocks initially left out of the 1969 Greenwich Village Historic District. Their work helped contribute to renewed interest in these historic yet undervalued and undesignated blocks, resulting in the establishment of the Gansevoort Market Historic District in 2003.

John is a registered landscape architect and practicing historic preservationist in NYC for over 30 years and has been a resident of the West Village since 2005. He served as the Director of Historic Preservation for NYC Parks from 2002 to 2016 and as the Executive Director of the Historic House Trust of NYC until 2022.

Originally born and raised in San Dimas, California, he traveled east to pursue a Master’s Degree in Historic Preservation from Columbia University and remained in NYC following graduation in 1995. His thesis topic developed from a childhood fascination with the local historic citrus packing house in San Dimas, formerly known as the “Lemon Capital of the World” and that shipped produce to the fruit pier once located on the West Village Waterfront.

Early 1990s