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Featured Story

Features, GVSHP, History, Meatpacking District, photography, West Village 

Rare photos of the High Line being demolished in the 1960s tell the story of a changing West Village

By Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Thu, October 26, 2017

Crane with wrecking ball mounted on the trestle. Photo by Peter H. Fritsch (1962). Photo courtesy of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation/Fritsch Family Collection.

Few structures have had a more far-reaching impact upon the West Village and Chelsea than the High Line. Its construction in 1934, then partial demolition in the early ’60s, and final preservation and conversion into a park a decade ago have profoundly shaped the way these neighborhoods have changed over the last 85 years. And while photos of its heyday and those of it today as an internationally recognized public space are plenty, few exist of those interim years. But GVSHP recently acquired some wonderful images of the High Line being demolished in 1962 at Perry Street, donated by the Fritsch Family who lived nearby at 141 Perry Street.

The Fritschs’ photos say a lot about how the High Line, and its demolition, changed the West Village. It’s apparent from the images just how much more industrial, and gritty the Far West Village was in those days. But it also shows how the demolition of the High Line left a huge gap in this unpretentious neighborhood, which housed both disappearing industry and a diverse and vital residential community.

See the other photos and learn the whole history

Meatpacking District, Policy, Urban Design

BARRY DILLER, DOUGLAS DURST, GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, HUDSON RIVER PARK TRUST, PIER 55

Photo: Pier 55, Inc./Heatherwick Studio.

In September, 6sqft reported that billionaire IAC Chairman Barry Diller was giving up on the $250 million project that promised to bring a futuristic offshore park and cultural destination to the Hudson River’s dilapidated Pier 54. Since its beginnings in 2014, the seemingly ill-fated project, known as Pier 55 (or sometimes “Diller Park”), was beleaguered by opposing factions–eventually revealed to be funded by prominent New York real estate developer Douglas Durst–that blocked its progress at every turn. Diller, who had imagined the project as a new Manhattan waterfront icon to rival the nearby High Line, had had enough. In a cautiously optimistic turnaround, it was announced Wednesday that the media mogul–now backed by his recent legal foes and Durst in addition to Governor Andrew Cuomo–was renewing his commitment to move ahead with the project, according to Crain’s. Diller said in a statement, “I have had countless people tell me how much they were looking forward to having this new pier, and how unfortunate were the circumstances of its cancellation.”

So what happened?

Meatpacking District, Policy, Urban Design

Barry Diller pulls the plug on $250M Pier 55 offshore park

By Michelle Cohen, Thu, September 14, 2017

Photo: Pier 55, Inc./Heatherwick Studio.

Barry Diller, the billionaire chairman of IAC, announced he’s killing the $250 million project that promised to bring a futuristic offshore park and cultural site to the Hudson River’s dilapidated Pier 54. 6sqft previously covered the unfolding saga of the ill-fated project, known as Pier 55 (or sometimes as “Diller Park”), as opposing factions continually blocked its progress and were eventually revealed to be funded by prominent New York real estate developer Douglas Durst. According to the New York Times, Diller said Wednesday that his commitment to build the undulating pier would be coming to an end—an inglorious one for a bold plan that some, and certainly Diller himself, saw as a new Manhattan waterfront icon to rival the nearby High Line.

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History, maps, Meatpacking District

13th avenue, 13th avenue manhattan, meatpacking district

1885 map showing 13th Avenue, via the New York Public Library

You may be scratching your head at the mention of the 13th Avenue in Manhattan, but it does exist–and it’s the shortest avenue in the whole city with a fascinating history behind it. The minuscule stretch covers prime Meatpacking District real estate, just west of 11th Avenue and between Little West 12th Street and Gansevoort Street. The single block across the West Side Highway is unmarked, but officially known as Gansevoort Peninsula. The avenue was created by the city in 1837, and in no way was intended to be so short. In fact, by the mid-1800s 13th Avenue encompassed nearly 15 blocks and was planned to stretch all the way up to 135th Street. But the block never left Chelsea and was mostly destroyed by the city at the turn of the century.

Read all about the life and death of the Avenue

Landscape Architecture, Meatpacking District, Policy, Urban Design

Photo via Pier 55 Inc.

6sqft reported in March on the latest developments in the on-again-off-again status of the $200 million Barry Diller-funded offshore park/performing arts center proposed for Pier 55 on the Hudson River; though construction began last November, opponents of the project, led by the City Club of New York, gained a victory in the form of a ruling by Judge Lorna G. Schofield that agreed with group’s claim that the Army Corps of Engineers had not conducted a sufficient environmental review on how the 2.4-acre park would affect fish and wildlife. The judge ordered that work stop at the site and called for a review of alternatives for building along Hudson River Park, a maritime sanctuary. Now, the New York Times reports that the Corps of Engineers, with the project’s sponsor, the Hudson River Park Trust, has filed an appeal of the decision.

And what about that Diller-Durst feud

Featured Story

Features, History, Meatpacking District, photography, The urban lens

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation shares archival images of the gritty Meatpacking District from the 1980s to early 2000s. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

“Few parts of New York City have transformed as dramatically in the last decade or so as the Meatpacking District. Changes in the area are physical as well as spiritual. What was once a deserted ghost town by day, nightlife, sex club, and prostitution hub by night, and bustling workaday center of the Meatpacking industry from early morning to noon is now a glitzy, glamorized center of shopping, dining, tourism, strolling, and arts consumption,” says Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. The organization recently released a collection of archival photos of the neighborhood’s post-industrial grit, “before the Whitney, before the High Line, before Apple and Diane von Furstenberg, even before Sex and the City discovered the neighborhood.” Ahead, 6sqft shares these images, from the 1980s to the mid-2000s, which document the major transformation that’s taken place in just the past decade.

See all the photos here

Featured Story

Features, History, Meatpacking District

Image courtesy of Chelsea Market

Today it seems like there’s a new food hall popping up every day, but one of the first incarnations of this trend was at Chelsea Market, when Irwin Cohen and Vandenberg Architects transformed the former Nabisco factory in the 1990s into an office building, television production facility, and food-related retail hub. New York City history buffs likely know that this is where a certain famous cookie was invented, but there are plenty of other fun facts about the location that are much less well known. Therefore, 6sqft has rounded up the top 10 most intriguing secrets of Chelsea Market.

Find out everything here

Landscape Architecture, Meatpacking District, Policy, Urban Design

If you thought the roller coaster that is Pier 55 was over since construction began in November, you may not want to step off the ride just yet. Just yesterday, a federal judge ruled in favor of the City Club of New York, who took legal action against the $200 million Barry Diller-funded offshore park way back in the summer of 2015. As reported by the Times, Judge Lorna G. Schofield agreed with the group’s claim that the Army Corps of Engineers had not conducted a sufficient environmental review on how the 2.4-acre park would affect fish and wildlife. She ordered that work stop at the site and called for a review of alternatives for building along Hudson River Park, a maritime sanctuary.

Get the whole legal saga

Architecture, Green Design, Meatpacking District, New Developments, Starchitecture

Renderings © Neoscape for Studio Gang Architects

Just yesterday, 6sqft shared the news that Jeanne Gang‘s first ground-up project in NYC–the Solar Carve Tower at 40 Tenth Avenue–had begun construction along the High Line. Now, the Post shares new renderings of the jewel-like, glassy structure, which is so named for its employment of the firm’s strategy that uses the sun’s angles to shape a building. Along with these views of its chiseled edges, connection to the park, terraces, and interior spaces, comes word that developers Aurora Capital and William Gottlieb Real Estate have tapped Bruce Mosler of Cushman & Wakefield to begin leasing the 139,000-square-foot, 12-story boutique office building in anticipation of its 2019 opening.

Lots more details and renderings ahead

Architecture, Construction Update, Green Design, Meatpacking District, Starchitecture

For an architect who had yet to break into the NYC scene, Jeanne Gang is now moving full steam ahead. Her firm, Studio Gang, received LPC approvals back in October for their much-hyped, $340 million Museum of Natural History expansion, and now, CityRealty tells us that construction has begun on their razor-edged glass tower along the High Line. Dubbed “Solar Carve Tower” for the firm’s strategy that “uses the incident angles of the sun’s ray to form the gem-like shape,” the 12-story office building will be Gang’s first ground-up project when completed.

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