The Gansevoort Pumping Station in 1935 with “High Pressure Fire Service” engraved over the entrance, via MCNY
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
Gansevoort Market in 1905, via MCNY
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
The headquarters of the “Queen of the Wrap Dress” (ladies, you know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever stood in line for one of these sample sales!) is well known for the big, geometric glass structure that sits perched atop the traditional Meatpacking District building. Not so well known, though, is that inside this rooftop crystal is Ms. von Furstenberg’s penthouse apartment. And just as you’d expect, the space is full of all of the sleek, yet glamorous style that the designer expresses in her clothing.
Conceptualized by Work Architecture, the Diane von Furstenberg headquarters was adapted from this landmarked meat market building to house the firm’s flagship store, administrative offices, and production space. The re-imagined rooftop is not only an apartment, but a garden oasis. The staircase, dubbed the “stairdelier” by the architects since it is lined with Swarovski crystals, ties the live/work space together and is its crowning jewel. Descending diagonally through the building’s six stories, it reflects light throughout the entire interior.
More about the sparkling staircase and all of the interior eye candy this way