Volume 73, Number 46 | March 17 -23, 2004

Blue moon over Meat Market as a new hotel opens

Villager photo by Lincoln Anderson

An overflow crowd tried to get into an art show at the Hotel Gansevoort on opening night.

A mob scene greeted the opening of the new 13-story Hotel Gansevoort in the Meat Market last Friday evening. The hotel, which sports eye-catching colored lights at its top and on columns around its entrance, was hosting the Scope Art show, for which rooms on the hotel’s third through sixth floors were each given to a separate gallery to display art.

The event was promoted through newspapers and magazines and too many people arrived, causing a rock-concert-like jam at the front door. A party had also been promised at the hotel’s rooftop bar, but was canceled by the chilly weather, forcing people inside, exacerbating the jam-up.

“Back up, please!” yelled a doorman, trying to control the crowd.

In addition to its sheer size, dwarfing the rest of the Meat Market, the 187-room hotel’s other main distinguishing feature are the lights underneath its arced roof and on the vertical posts around its front. According to Meat Market nightclub and restaurant doormen and managers, the lights have also been green and yellow on occasion. The colored lights are mainly on the hotel’s west side, facing the Market, with a few on its north and south sides, but none at all on its east side, which faces most of the Village. But, they certainly haven’t gone unnoticed by Villagers.

“I would say it’s yet another example of the inappropriate visual intrusion that the Hotel Gansevoort is,” said Andrew Berman, executive director of Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. “I’ve both seen them and heard from many, many people who were not happy about them. It sort of looked like a spaceship. They made it very clear when they built this that they wanted the hotel to contrast with its surroundings. I think that’s a nice way to put it — but it certainly does.”

Florent Morellet, owner of Florent restaurant on Gansevoort St. and co-chairperson of Save Gansevoort Market, the group that led the three-year fight to designate the Meat Market as a historic district, said the hotel lights are symptomatic of a trend.

“The Meat Market used to be a neighborhood that was dark and mysterious that you came to explore and discover,” he said. “But more and more, it’s becoming like the rest of the city.”

The Meat Market continues to morph from red meat to red velvet ropes. Just south of the hotel, people were waiting to get into a private party at the new restaurant, One, while on Gansevoort St., Club PM, a lounge, has replaced the restaurant Chingalle.


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