A 1910 packing plant subsumed by Hudson Yards
For more than a century, the two-story building at 527-531 West 36th Street held its own with its neighbors in this once-industrial part of Manhattan—away from more traditional retail stores and apartment buildings in the far west 30s.
It’s an usual survivor that looks a lot older than records reveal.
Apparently constructed by 1910 (though one 1902 newspaper article said it was supposed to have five stories), the brick building has large arched windows and ornamental trim on the second floor.
One of its earliest occupants was a fruit packing plant; another business was Rohe and Brothers, a wholesale beef and pork provisions company.
It makes sense that Rohe operated here; West 36th Street is three blocks from what used to be known as Abattoir Place because of all the slaughterhouses that turned cattle brought to the West Side via rail or ferry into beef.
A milk distributor and pasteurization company operated here in the 1940s. Soon the food packers and distributors were replaced by auto body businesses, like Steven and Francine’s, whose sign hangs on the building’s boarded-up second floor.
Recently, this humble holdout in the shadow of Hudson Yards’ steel and glass luxury towers was sold to Tishman Speyer for $20 million. The real estate developer plans to turn the site into a park in exchange for air rights for another office tower going up next door.
It’s one of the last remaining vestiges of the far west 30s (at the recently named “Hudson Boulevard”) on the fringes of Manhattan. But it won’t be here much longer.
[Second image: 1940 Tax Photo NYC Department of Records]