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Project Extra

Exploring Spaces: Ofri Cnaani rediscovers the history of New York’s Meatpacking District

May 28, 2013
More Art

More Art is excited to be working with internationally acclaimed, multi-media artist Ofri Cnaani for our latest project. As a dimension of the project, Cnaani has been working with a group of talented students from the Chelsea LAB School. Together, they have been re-envisioning the history of the Meatpacking district through a series of interactive, research-driven workshops. The knowledge garnered from these efforts will ultimately lead to a public art installation by Ofri in the fall, commissioned and produced by More Art. To celebrate this effort, here are some extracts from what’s been discovered.

An illustration of an old fort with a horse and carriage in the front. Text says "Fort Ganesvoort, 1808".

Built in 1808 for defense during the War of 1812, Fort Gansevoort was the first large structure built in what is now known as the Meatpacking district.


A historic photo of a city street with a street rail car and old cars on the street. Sharing the street is a man on a horse.

In 1847, rail cars driven by horses are replaced by a street-level engine-driven railroad. 10th Avenue soon became nicknamed “Death Avenue,” due to the resultant pedestrian deaths. The West Side Cowboys—a group of men given the responsibility of riding horses preceding the trains—waved red flags during the day and red lanterns at night to keep pedestrians safe.


A historic photo of an ornate walkway bridge that connects two city buildings above a street down below.

In the 1890s, eight bakeries combined to become the New York Biscuit Company. This company merged with the American Biscuit and Manufacturing Company to become the National Biscuit Company—or, Nabisco (comprised of buildings which now host Chelsea Market and Milk Studios). The first Oreo was produced here in 1912.


A black and white photo of a building with an elevated railway build into the bottom floor.

In 1934, the High Line is built to transport refrigerated carts of meat, dairy, and vegetable products. The rail connects directly to warehouses and factories.


A black and white image of an old steam boat

Survivors of the RMS Titanic were dropped off at Pier 54 on 12th Street by the RMS Carpathia in 1954. The Titanic would have docked at the Chelsea Piers, had it not sank.


old high line

The High Line carries its last load—frozen turkey—in 1980.