Michele Herman’s Talking Point (The Villager February 25) is incisive in presenting changes over the decades of the Meat Market’s architecture, but puzzling nevertheless.
The article reports that the area along Gansevoort Street was predominantly five stories high. This is born out by the 1911 Bromley Atlas of the City of New York, which also indicates 100% lot coverage, which coincidentally is the maximum floor area permitted there in this M1-5 Manufacturing District which governs the Meat Market Area. What is puzzling is why three stories were “lopped off ” during the Depression to avoid foreclosure. What supports the claim that the buildings were residential tenements without windows onto non-existent rear yards and not warehouses and factories?
At any rate Ms. Herman’s piece makes clear the manufacturing/wholesale history of the Meat Market and the relatively recent his-tory of the two story buildings.
On the positive side of the developers’ proposals is the possibility of green roofs with resident penthouses to keep them that way and more green livable open space on the ground, thus reducing storm water runoff overloading the sewers. The scale of the proposals is generally with the parameters of the historic district, though perhaps a story or two too high for some buildings. Historic districts are best defined and protected by sympathetic uses and architecture to extend their vitality into the future.