Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chelsea Market, Manhattan

In the 1990s, a syndicate of investors bought the National Biscuit Company ("Nabisco") buildings between 15th and 16th Streets bordered by 9th and 11th Avenues and very cleverly converted the ground floor of the 6-story bakery complex between 9th and 11th Aves into Chelsea Market, now with two upscale anchor restaurants Morimoto and Buddakan. The owners have done a spectacular job of decorating the long central hall with historic photos and artifacts, including machine equipment (supporting glass tables), torches, gears, an illuminated waterfall, etc.
A sliver of the original New York Biscuit Company's 1890 Romanesque facade (see dappled-light photo showing upper level columns gracing arched windows) exists midway on 16th St., designed by Romeyn & Stever. In 1898, several competing companies merged to form what would become Nabisco (animal crackers, oreos, fig newtons, saltines, etc.). The 15th St. side entrances have the "NBC" logo in the floor tiles and the logo also appears prominently on the taller 1913 building at 85 of 10th Ave. By the way, that building has a spectacular lobby with portholes, and a bank of TVs, plus other industrial archaeological detritus, but is off limits to visitors. Two architecturally significant walkways across 14th St. and 10th Ave. connect the buildings. An entrance to the High Line, the levated walkway is near the 10th Ave. entrance.

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