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September 22, 2015 |  170 Views
Neighborhood Roundup: The Meatpacking District
By Evan Kanarakis

 

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The Meatpacking District spans from around West 16th Street south to Gansevoort Street, and roughly from Hudson Street out to the Hudson River. Today, the neighborhood is a far cry from the early 1900’s when it was home to hundreds of slaughterhouses and packing plants. A handful still remain, but most of the work boots that once walked these famous cobblestones have been replaced in recent years by expensive high heels shopping designer boutiques or vying to gain entry into exclusive nightclubs.

 

True enough, the area has been home to clubs since the 70’s, but the premium bottle service and revolving roster of international DJ’s at exclusive venues like Cielo and Tenjune (both on W. 12th St.) bare little resemblance to the down-and-dirty BDSM clubs that were notorious here during that era. In the 1990’s, high-end retail moved in and, within years, so too came the tourists, many of them looking to emulate Sex In The City-inspired jaunts at notable boutiques like Jeffrey and Diane von Furstenberg (both located, conveniently, on W. 14th St.).

 

www.gansevoorthotelgroup.com

 

Celebrities and celebrity-spotters alike hover amid the exclusivity and flamboyance on offer at the (members-only) Soho House (29-25 Ninth Ave. nr. 13th St.), as well as The Standard (848 Washington St nr. 12th St.) and Hotel Gansevoort (18 Ninth Ave. nr. 13th St.). The latter two swank boutique hotels are relatively recent additions to the neighborhood and, depending upon your take, either architectural masterpieces or unwelcome, over-shiny missteps that merely serve to permanently tick-off local residents.

 

Fine dining is in plentiful supply in the Meatpacking District (as is late-night dining, given the proximity of so many nightclubs). Crowds flock to the ‘American bistro’ dishes of The Standard Grill (at the aforementioned hotel) or the exotic South-East Asian flavors of Spice Market (403 W. 13th St). That said, if you’re spending the money, our preference would be for the hearty Provençal offerings at Paradou (8 Little W. 12th St.) or –dare we say it- a visit to that cow-bedecked neighborhood mainstay, The Old Homestead Steakhouse (56 Ninth Ave. nr. 15th St.), still serving up steaks over a century since they first opened.

 

 

But for activities that pose little threat to one’s credit card, take a walk along the High Line, an overhead park born from the old, disused elevated railway and running from Gansevoort Street all the way up through Chelsea and into Hell’s Kitchen. It’s an impeccably designed and landscaped experience, and an altogether unique, highly recommended means to see the neighborhood. Afterward, continue exploring on foot through one of the many emerging galleries in the area, or spend a few hours people-watching over drinks from the inviting confines of Gaslight (400 W. 14th St at Ninth Ave.). Finally, when late-night hunger pangs strike, take in a low-key meal of steak and eggs or gravy-laden meatloaf alongside equally tired club-goers and construction workers at Hector’s Café (44 Little W. 12th St). This is a no-frills joint that has been in the neighborhood seemingly forever, but at 3am their diner fare will get the job done.

 

 

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Evan Kanarakis is an Australian writer whose fiction and non-fiction work has been published around the world. He is also founder of the skateboard design company Devil Street Decks.

 

Evan Kanarakis

 

evan kanarakis

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