A visit to the Meat Packing District can feel like a step into a parallel universe, removed from the New York City we know. Cobblestone streets and plaza’s make the area feel like…. well, Europe.
The Meat Packing District (MPD) started as an outdoor food market named the Gansevoort Market in 1884. Today, according to meatpacking-district.com the district is the “quintessential 24-hour neighborhood.” The district covers a 20 square block, with Gansevoort St. marking its southern most boundary.
The NYC DOT has been working on redeveloping the MPD since 2007. Balmori Associates, a New York based urban and landscape design firm established in 1990, has been contracted to find a “temporary solution for public space” at Gansevoort Plaza, on 9th Ave. between 13street and Gansevoort. The company was hired to make the space compatible with the changes being implemented by the NYC Department of Transportation such as bike lanes, and new traffic alignments.
Balmori Associates is the design team for the NYC 2012 Equestrian Olympics, happening at the Greenbelt park in Staten Island. The firm is also part of the team working on the High Line, and played a role in developing the viewing wall at Ground Zero.
Diana Balmori, founder of the company, in an article titled “Making Public Spaces: Building an Urban Living Room” explains that 40 Dutch Design students and their professor have been incorporated on to the redesign team. The company has also opened up a Twitter forum, and is gathering ideas from there.