Check out the photo above. This is looking east into New York City from Pier 57 on the Hudson. Pier 57 sits at the end of West 15th Street. See the big National Biscuit Company building above? There is is below in the current photo. (The middle of the three buildings, sort of set back.)
What's so cool about these photos is how some things right in front of you can have very long interesting histories. First, this ship you see in the older photo was the Champlain. In the 1930's she was an Atlantic luxury ocean liner. She was one of the first ocean liners to have a clean open upper deck to be used by passengers for sports, sunning and strolling. Sadly, in June of 1940 she struck a mine at La Pallice, France & sank.
Back to that National Biscuit Company building. Think about that name, quickly think about it. Kinda sounds a bit like....Nabisco doesn't it? Bingo! Same company. The company has moved on to other locations but know what is in their former building today? Rachel Ray, Bobby Flay, Alton Brown + all the others at The Food Network.
Yup, today that building is Chelsea Market, a fantastic food hall and home to The Food Network studios.
Ok, one last piece of odd information - know why the National Biscuit Company would want to build their big plant right in the middle of what was until quite recently New York City's meat packing district? Gross but because of lard. To make biscuits, breads, crackers at the time you need a shortening. It was cheapest to work right at the source's neighborhood, the meat packing plants all around there.
So on that very gross but historical note, thanks for reading this.
Sarah Rothschild, Realtor & Architectural History Nerd.