City Living: Meatpacking District
The Meatpacking District earns its glitzy reputation from a wide selection of designer boutiques, swanky restaurants, and upscale bars and lounges, but its art community and numerous public spaces are also increasingly popular.
The neighborhood, also called the Gansevoort Market Historic District, was granted historical status in 2003. In recent years the nabe benefitted from the successful Chelsea Market shopping center and the popularity of the High Line.
A public park located on the elevated tracks of what used to be the New York Central Railroad, the High Line incorporates garden areas, art exhibits and paved pathways in an innovative approach to public spaces. The park has an extremely low crime rate, helping MePa to move away from its less than wholesome past.
In the early 1900s, the area was home to around 250 meat markets and slaughterhouses. A century later, five remain, according to area experts, including Weichsel Beef Co. and DeBragga & Spitler. They are all housed in the Gansevoort Meat Market co-op, built in 1949.
The nightlife scene exploded here in the 1970s. However, the industrial area also became a hotbed for illicit activity at (now closed) clubs like Hellfire Club and the Mineshaft.
Despite or perhaps because of MePas past, the neighborhood saw a major transformation from seedy to splashy in the 1990s when young designers began opening boutiques.
Nowadays, the district is a shopaholics dream. Popular retail spots include the New York flagship stores of high-end international designers like Diane von Furstenberg and Alexander McQueen as well as smaller boutiques such as Owen, Elizabeth Charles, and Carlos Miele.
Design studios and art galleries are abound as well, fostering the areas growing artsy feel.
The Heller Gallery and Milk Studios will be joined by a major museum come 2015 when the Whitney Museum moves to its new headquarters at the south entrance to the High Line.
In addition, nary a night owl could complain about the Meatpacking Districts proffering. Come sundown, the glamorously dressed can be seen headed for a bite to eat at Del Posto or SEA followed by a night of dancing at Le Bain, STK, or Cielo. -- BY KATHARINE ULRICH
The Meatpacking District can be found between West 16th Street to the north and Horatio Street to the south. Eleventh Avenue is its westernmost boundary and Eighth Avenue is the eastern border. To make it easier, think the area between Chelsea Market, the High Line, Jackson Square and Horatio Street. More »
Trains: Though no trains run directly into the Meatpacking District, the neighborhood is not that large. All of the fun of the Meatpacking District is just a quick walk from the 8th Avenue L and 14th Street A/C/E stops. Buses: M11, M14A, M14D, M20 (some walking involved) More »
Jefferson Market Library, 425 Avenue of the Americas More »
Corlears School, 324 W. 15th St.; Notre Dame School, 327 W. 13th St. More »
76 Ninth Ave. (between 15th and 16th streets) More »
Thanks to the efforts of the 6th Precinct, which covers the area, overall crime in the district has declined. However, while the area is a far cry from the seedy ’60s, the Meatpacking District still ranks high for sexual assault charges. According to the NYPD CompStat report, from 1990 to 2012 the precinct saw an 85.7% decline in murder and 89.7% decline in robbery, while reported rapes increased 40%, from 10 to 14 incidents. More »
The group Foods of New York Tours walks you through Chelsea Market and the High Line and ends with a tour of the streets and some restaurants of the Meatpacking District. For more information on the three-hour tour, call ticketing company Zerve at 212-913-9964. More »