Volume 76, Number 47 | April 18 - 24, 2007

A map showing the existing Gansevoort Market District with an overlay of the new State Register of Historic Places boundaries.

New designations beef up Meat Market protections

By Lincoln Anderson

Last Wednesday, State Parks Commissioner Carol Ash approved the listing of the entire Meatpacking District on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The district, known as the Gansevoort Market District, was nominated by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which also succeeded in getting much of the neighborhood landmarked by New York City in 2003. One of the city’s last surviving market neighborhoods, the Meat Market contains an array of commercial and other buildings from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

While landmark designation protects some of the neighborhood’s historic buildings from being demolished, listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places entitles property owners to tax breaks and grants for preserving their historic buildings. Since the State and National Register District is significantly larger than the New York City landmark district, the listing brings incentives for preserving historic buildings to unprotected areas of the Meatpacking District, while offering owners in landmarked areas financial assistance for complying with city Landmarks Preservation Commission requirements.

The State and National Registers of Historic Places are the official lists of buildings, structures, districts, objects and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture of New York and the nation.

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation began the process of nominating the Meatpacking District for listing on the State and National Register of Historic Places in 2001. In 2000, G.V.S.H.P.’s Save Gansevoort Market Task Force was formed to advocate for preservation of the district through landmarking, State and National Register listing and other means.

“This is a new and important tool in our ongoing fight to preserve the history and character of the Meatpacking District,” said Andrew Berman, G.V.S.H.P. executive director. “Four years ago, our successful efforts to landmark much of this neighborhood prevented the wholesale demolition of the Meatpacking District. Now, State and National Register listing will provide opportunities for tax breaks and grants to owners to preserve and restore their historic buildings. Since this covers a much larger area than the city’s landmark district, it will go even further in helping to ensure the preservation of this vital neighborhood’s history.”

State Senator Tom Duane had supported the district’s nomination to the New York State Historic Preservation Board. 

“The addition of the Gansevoort District to the State and National Historic Registries highlights what local residents and businesses already know: This neighborhood thrives on its unique and historic character,” Duane said. “Furthermore, I am thrilled that this designation will provide incentives for rehabilitation work done in the area, so that the historic character can be maintained for years to come.” 

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