Meatpacking District


Photo: Thomas Rafael

Once known as the Gansevoort Market (and once owned by John Jacob Astor, the first American millionaire), the Meatpacking District reaches across about a dozen city blocks, from West 14th Street to Gansevoort Street. The area served as a wholesale market for over 150 years, trading incarnations as a farmers' market, a produce market, and a meat market. Many remnants of the area's previous gritty, blue-collar, working neighborhood remain for today's eye to appreciate - butchers' advertisements on the sides of buildings, old awnings, and original warehouse buildings make it easy to imagine the former life of the area. Today, while a few meat industry businesses remain, most have moved to the Bronx, where modern refrigerated buildings have replaced the concepts of market neighborhoods. In 2003, the area was designated a Landmark area, for being the last of the market neighborhoods which once dominated New York City.

As the meatpackers moved out of the area, the area took on a whole new identity, one far removed from its humble beginnings. Retailers, restaurants, and art galleries have all sprung up in the neighborhood, appreciating the vast spaces and low rents that the warehouses provided. Most notably, the area has become known for exclusive clubs and celebrity hangouts, and a ever-hotter nightlife. Nearly every week, a new club opens up. If you're looking for New York's young, hip "scene," you're likely to find it here - you can indulge your inner art critic, dine in some of the most talked-about restaurants (if you can get a seat!) and dance and drink until tomorrow morning!

Molly O'Neill