New York Songlines: Gansevoort Street

West St | Washington St | 9th Ave/Greenwich St | Hudson St | W 4th St | W 13 St

Once known as Great Kiln Street, after a lime kiln, it was renamed for Peter Gansevoort, a Revolutionary War general who first flew the Stars and Stripes in battle (at Fort Stanwix, near Rome, N.Y.). His grandson was the novelist Herman Melville.




HUDSON RIVER



Gansevoort Peninsula

Though often called a pier, this is actually landfill, the remains of a western fringe of Manhattan that was mostly returned to the river to allow longer ships to dock. The remains of the island's lost 13th Avenue can be seen here, which once stretched all the way to 23rd Street.
The Department of Sanitation has long made use of the remaining peninsula, but it's supposed to be turned into a park--with a beach!

S <===           WEST STREET           ===> N

South:

300: Sex in the City's Samantha moved to this imaginary address, signifying the emergence of the Meat Market as Manhattan's trendiest neighborhood.

Block (521 West): West Coast Apartments were a conversion of the Manhattan Refrigeration Company Building.






































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North:

Corner (559 West): Premier Veal, one of a dwindling number of businesses that give the Meat Market its name, is in a city-owned building, formerly a Fire Department high-pressure pump house. The Dia Center for the Arts is planning to move here from Chelsea, either replacing this building or adapting it into a 2nd-story art gallery. The meat business is supposed to stay on the ground floor here either way.

81 (corner): The building formerly used by Maggio Beef is water-damaged from being under the High Line and is scheduled to be demolished. The current plan is for the new building here to house the Dia Center for the Arts, and connect the art facility to the High Line.

High Line Park

Here is the terminus of a disused elevated railroad that was used to transport freight along the Westside waterfront, replacing the street-level tracks at 10th and 11th avenues that earned those roads the nickname "Death Avenue."

Built in 1929 at a cost of $150 million (more than $2 billion in today's dollars), it originally stretched from 35th Street to St. John's Park Terminal, now the Holland Tunnel rotary. Partially torn down in 1960 and abandoned in 1980, it now ends here--at the end of a block, unusually; through most of its length, it runs mid-block to avoid dominating an avenue with an elevated platform.

In its abandonment, the High Line became something of a natural wonder, overgrown with weeds and even trees, accessible only to those who risk trespassing on CSX Railroad property. Activists saved the tracks from demolition and successfully advocated for it to be turned into a park, on the model of Paris' Promenade Plantée. Opened in 2009, the rail line was largely relandscaped using seeds from the wild plants that had colonized the tracks on their own.

There are stairs leading to the park from street level here, the beginning or end of a walk along the full length of the tracks.


S <===             WASHINGTON STREET             ===> N

South:

72: Lars Bolander New York, an interior designer's antique furniture store.

60-68: Originally built in the 1880s as five-story tenements, they had their top three floors lopped off in 1940 to be turned into market buildings.

50: Chinghalle, Italian

48: Macelleria, meat-oriented Italian

46: Nero D'Avola was Le Gans restaurant










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North:

71 (corner): MPD, clubby French whose initials stand for "Mon Petit Dejeneur"--"My Breakfast"--though "Meat Packing District" is no doubt implied. Owned by the Koch brothers--not the ones behind the Tea Party, but another set known for their riotous Champagne-soaked brunch parties. The space used to be Meet, a stylish restaurant in a former meat locker where Carrie got stood up by a blind date on Sex and the City.

69: Gansevoort 69 was Florent, a noted for people-watching and French fries. Miranda met a boyfriend here on Sex and the City. From 1938-84, it was the R & L, a 24-hour restaurant known to longshoremen as the Eatem and Beatem.

63: Rhone, trendy French

53-61: This odd-shaped building was built in 1887 by the Goelet family as a wholesale grocery warehouse, and later used by the New England Biscuit Co. From 1999-2003 this was Hell, hot dance club. Now houses the Bijoux Lounge.


          LITTLE WEST 12TH STREET           ===> W


S <===           GREENWICH ST / NINTH AVE           ===> N

South:

40: Theory

38: Helmut Lang

34: Rebecca Taylor

32: Corinth Films

30: Charles Nolan





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S <===           HUDSON STREET           ===> N

Near this interesection was Sapohannikan, an Lenape Indian community whose name meant "Tobacco Field" or "Farm in the Woods." It's said that this was the village that gives The Village its name.

South:

Corner: Corporal John A. Seravalli Playground, named for a young man of the neighborhood killed in Vietnam in 1967.

Corner (320 W 13th): White Columns, founded in 1970, calls itself "New York's oldest alternative art space." Moved to this location in 1998. The organization has given early exposure to artists like David Wojnarowicz, Andres Serrano and William Wegman.


S <===         WEST 4TH

Point (308 W 13th): Thomas Heinz NY, hair

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North:

Block (652 Hudson): Catherine Malandrino, fashion designer. This is the address given for Glenn Close's loft in Fatal Attraction.

















S <===           WEST 13TH ST           ===> N









Is your favorite Gansevoort Street spot missing? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell him about it.

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