One hundred years after the introduction of the Oreo, an expansion plan at the iconic cookie's New York City birthplace has left a bitter taste in the mouths of its neighbors.

Community activists say the two new towers that developer Jamestown Properties wants to affix to the historic factory known as Chelsea Market would be eyesores and would increase traffic and congestion.

But the company that bought a majority stake in Chelsea Market in 2003 says the block-long complex -- home to the Food Network, Google and a tourist-friendly ground-floor food mall -- must grow if it is to thrive.

Jamestown's plan to mount a new 250-foot box-like structure atop Chelsea Market's western section and a similar 150-foot structure on the eastern side is going through an approval process that will likely end with a City Council vote later this year.

Foodies outside New York may know Chelsea Market from shows like "Chopped" and "Food Network Stars" that are shot there. Its retail shops sell live lobsters, imported pasta and high-end cupcakes.

"This is the American epicenter of food culture," said Michael Phillips, chief operating officer for Jamestown.

The market draws an average of 15,000 daily visitors, many of them tourists aiming cellphone cameras at architectural details like massive pipes and corrugated metal that recall the building's industrial past.

Tenants include Google, the Food Network, and all-news TV station NY1.

In an interview in Jamestown's offices, Phillips suggested that by expanding Chelsea Market the developer can attract more of the high-tech companies that exemplify Mayor Michael Bloomberg's vision of a New York Silicon Alley challenging California for geek supremacy. "This is a perfect neighbor for people in this neighborhood," he said.

Preservationists disagree. "The complex, which is an icon of adaptive reuse, is wonderful and successful as it is," said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. "Plopping an office tower or a hotel on top of it will only take away from what makes it so successful and attractive to New Yorkers and tourists alike."

A few dozen foes attended a May 31 committee meeting of the local community board devoted to Chelsea Market, waving signs and cheering when board members criticized the proposal.

"I don't think it will be aesthetically pleasing," said retired teacher Carol Demech. Details of the proposal are in flux. Plans submitted earlier this year to the community board show 240,000 square feet of office space in a glass-and-steel box perched atop the existing structure's western side.

The community board voted June 6 to deny the zoning changes that the project requires unless a list of conditions are met, including construction of affordable housing elsewhere in the neighborhood.

The vote is advisory, and the project will now go to the Manhattan borough president, the Planning Commission and the City Council.

NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer.  Credit: Randee Daddona; Newsday / A.J. Singh

A taste of summer on Long Island NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer. 

NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer.  Credit: Randee Daddona; Newsday / A.J. Singh

A taste of summer on Long Island NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer. 

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