Now well-known for its pioneering food hall and market, the Chelsea Market building’s link to culinary history extends to its origins as a Nabisco factory where the Oreo cookie was invented and produced. Nabisco’s presence in the neighborhood extended to several buildings and included a purpose-built factory that extended over the High Line with a striking open porch through which trains could pass carrying flour from Toledo, Ohio and boxes from Beacon, New York (that factory is now home to the Dia: Beacon art museum). An art deco sky-bridge over 15th street connects the original factory to a building on 14th street, making Nabisco a sprawling presence that rivaled that of the meatpackers and canneries. Indeed, the cookie making business relied on the lard from the meatpackers, making the two industries mutually beneficial. Nabisco’s presence in the neighborhood began to decline in the 1950s when it moved operations to a modern facility in New Jersey.
Chelsea Market as we know it today was conceived in the late 1990s, with vibrant food and shopping offerings on the ground floor that drew visitors to the rapidly changing neighborhood and made the building attractive to office workers. The building’s interiors retain artifacts from the factory, including faded signage of the Oreo and a Nabisco plaque. Media and technology companies filled the upper floors, which today includes a large presence by Google.
Gansevoort Market Historic District: State and National Register of Historic Places Registration Form (2007).
Gansevoort Market Historic District: Designation Report. New York Landmarks Preservation Commission (2003).
The High Line website
Off the Grid. Village Preservation blog.