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Hudson North American Moving and Storage Company, A Place That Matters

Hudson North American moving and storage company, at 3229 Broadway (near 129th St.) in Manhattanville.

You would never guess that Hudson’s was once a stable; housing horses, wagons, and milk delivery paraphernalia for the milk bottler and distributor, Sheffield Farms-Slawson-Decker Company. Its distinguished appearance, with brick and terracotta façade, meant to convey an impression of hygiene and modernity in an era when tainted milk was a key cause of sickness and death for infants and children. Constructed in 1903, the building still retains features from its former life and was listed to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

Unlike last week, when we lamented a roller rink about to be replaced by a storage facility, this week we’re rooting for storage. Anne Whitman founded Hudson’s in 1992, and like her brother and sister-in-law (whose storage company Despatch is just a stone’s throw away), is carrying on the business started by her father. Whitman specializes in serving artists, architects, and designers, along with other small businesses that, characteristically for New York, are desperate for space. They use hers to extend their own – turning what might be considered “dead” storage into a beehive of constant activity.

Columbia University wants Whitman’s land for its proposed Manhattanville campus that will extend from 125th to 133rd St., and Broadway to 12th Ave. She refuses to sell. Despite the protests of Whitman and others, Columbia insists on one big campus and raises the possibility of using eminent domain to force condemnation. The local Community Board #9 has its own plan, developed before Columbia’s and already submitted to the Dept. of City Planning, and it puts forth a different vision.

To read more about Manhattanville itself, see the book Manhattanville: Old Heart of West Harlem by Eric K. Washington.