Rendering of 860 Washington Street, via James Carpenter Design Associates
We tend to think of the Meatpacking District as more of an after-hours or weekend destination for cocktails and shopping, but a piece in the Times today looks at the “influx of office space and more” moving into the neighborhood.
In addition to the much-anticipated opening on May 1st of Renzo Piano’s new Whitney Museum along the High Line, a James Carpenter-designed 10-story glass commercial tower and Samsung’s six-story flagship building are taking shape across from the Standard Hotel. And let’s not forget about Pier 55, the $130 million futuristic floating park that is expected to break ground in 2016 off West 14th Street. With all of these new cultural attractions that will undoubtedly attract tourists, coupled with big-name companies joining the likes of Google in the area, is the Meatpacking District the new Midtown?
As we all await the opening of the new building of the Whitney Museum for American Art in May, it might be interesting to see what’s underneath it—or was.
There’s an old saying, “To create, you must first destroy,” and so long as it doesn’t specify how much of one and how good the other, the statement generally slips by without challenge. So it was with the Whitney’s new site along the High Line in the Meatpacking District. There wasn’t a lot that needed to be destroyed. There was, however, this little building, the Gansevoort Pumping Station, a small, classically inspired edifice with arches separated by pilasters. It was designed by Michael and Mitchell Bernstein, brothers who were widely known for turn of the twentieth-century tenements. Designed in 1906 and completed in 1908, it was built as a pumphouse for high-pressure fire service by the City of New York and later served as one of the area’s quintessential meat markets.
Read the entire history of the site here
Why is it called the Meatpacking District when there are only six meat packers there, down from about 250? Inertia, most likely. The area has seen so many different uses over time, and they’re so often mercantile ones that Gansevoort Market would probably be a better name for it.
Located on the shore of the Hudson River, it’s a relatively small district in Manhattan stretching from Gansevoort Street at the foot of the High Line north to and including West 14th Street and from the river three blocks east to Hudson Street. Until its recent life as a go-to high fashion mecca, it was for almost 150 years a working market: dirty, gritty, and blood-stained.
Read the full history here
Last we heard about Pier55–the 2.4-acre futuristic floating park and performance space proposed by billionaire media mogul Barry Diller that would jut 186 feet into the Hudson at 13th Street–Community Board 2 had mixed feelings about the project. They liked Thomas Heatherwick’s design, but cited concern over the lack of transparency from Diller and the Hudson River Park Trust.
Despite these feelings, though, we’ve learned today from the Times that the Trust approved a lease agreement with Pier 55 Inc., a nonprofit group controlled by Diller, to help develop the $130 million public space. Diller has already pledged $113 million toward the project through the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation (his wife is fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg). So, what’s next?
What’s to come for Pier 55
It’s been relatively quiet over the past six weeks or so as far as news about the proposed offshore park and performance space in the Hudson River known as Pier55. But this week, Community Board 2’s Parks and Waterfront Committee reviewed the project, and though they liked Thomas Heatherwick’s design overall, they cited their main concern as transparency.
The board’s issue stems from the fact that billionaire media mogul Barry Diller, who committed $130 million to the 2.7-acre park, and the Hudson River Park Trust had been working secretively for two years on the plans. According to Curbed, committee member Arthur Schwartz said, “Probably the main public critique of this project has been the way that so much of the design was developed in infinite detail before it even became a matter of public knowledge.”
More on the outcome of the public meeting
Last week, news broke that billionaire media mogul Barry Diller had been working with the Hudson River Park Trust for the past two years on an idea for an offshore park and performance space in the Hudson River. And though it seemed far-fetched at first, the fact that Diller had personally committed $130 million to the project and that detailed renderings had been created made it see much more plausible.
And now Thomas Heatherwick, the British designer behind the Pier 55 floating park, is opening up about how the decrepit West Side piers inspired his vision for the undulating, landscaped “aquatic High Line.”
Hear what Heatherwick has to say
The city was abuzz on Monday when news broke of media mogul Barry Diller’s $130 million pledge to build a $170 million, 2.7-acre floating park off the shore of 14th Street in the Hudson River. The planning and design process had been kept under wraps for over two years, and though the undulating, amoeba-shaped public space seems like a pretty out-there idea, the fact that a prominent billionaire (the single largest private donor to the High Line and husband of Diane von Furstenberg, no less) has committed so much money to the project makes it much more realistic. The media seems divided on whether or not the park, known as Pier 55, will come to fruition, so tell us what you think.
Rendering via Pier55 Inc. and Heatherwick Studio
Floating space in New York’s waterways is not a new concept. Take the +Pool, for example, the public pool proposed for the East River that was recently supported by Kanye West. But a new offshore park proposed for the Hudson River off 14th Street seems exceedingly ambitious, as it would cost $170 million, be located 186 feet off land, and contain wooded nooks and three performance venues including an amphitheater.
Barry Diller, sponsor-to-be of this ambitious plan, gives the project a much more realistic outlook. The billionaire chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp, former head of Paramount Pictures and Fox–and husband to Diane von Furstenberg–was the single largest donor to the High Line. He’s pledged $130 million from the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation to make the 2.7-acre park a realty, as well as agreed to run the outdoor space and cover operating expenses for 20 years. He and his wife have starchitect-designed offices in the Meatpacking District and are clearly becoming king and queen of the neighborhood.
More on the futuristic park ahead
, Sun, September 21, 2014
The third and final section of the High Line will officially open to the public today at 11 A.M., marking the final chapter of a 15-year journey to transform a once abandoned rail road track into an elevated park for the city. The new section has been christened ‘High Line at the Railyards‘ and follows the original train tracks from 30th to 34th Streets to the north and south, and from 10th to 12th Avenues east and west, exposing High Line-goers to expansive and unobstructed views of the Hudson River and New Jersey. Unlike the two sections that preceded it, the path that makes up The Railyards is far less manicured. With its organized but “wild” greenery, the design of this final leg instead asks visitors to contemplate the railway’s past and the surrounding landscape as it stands and as it will change with the introduction of Hudson Yards.
More of the new section and the ribbon cutting here
, Thu, September 11, 2014
If you’re already making Oktoberfest plans to hit up the Standard, High Line‘s beer garden, you might want to think about imbibing a bit earlier, as the new Light Cave art installation is only on view until the end of September.
Presented by FriendsWithYou and commissioned by the Standard Hotel and the Art Production Fund, this public art project “is a symbol of light and connectivity in an architectural form.” The inflatable work, which evokes a prehistoric figure and a cavern, spans the entire outdoor plaza in front of the hotel and pulsates with energy and light, creating a sensory rich experience.
More on the fun installation here