A fierce competitor for the title of New York’s hippest neighbourhood, the Meatpacking District is famous for its exclusive nightlife, culinary pleasures and Belgian block stone streets that have a tendency to ravage Jimmy Choos. For those in search of New York City chic, visiting the Meatpacking District after dark is a must. By day, it’s easy to see why locals rallied so hard to earn the Gansevoort Market Historic District recognition from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Simply wandering the streets is a great way to soak up the unique place that has earned the Meatpacking District its coveted status.
Alternatively, some visitors take cues from the locals and brunch at the district’s ultra-trendy cafes, visit contemporary art galleries and unwind at the neighbourhood’s upscale wellness spas. For those that can snag an entry, the exclusive Hotel Gansevoort is a great place to spot celebrities. For something a little less showy, a stroll along the four-mile-long Hudson River Park is a relaxing way to enjoy Manhattan’s West.
Thanks to its location in West Manhattan, the Meatpacking District is easy to reach. It’s bordered by West 16th Street to the north, Ninth Avenue and Hudson Street to the east, Gansevoort Street to the south and West Street and 11th Avenue to the west. Both its borders and its interior are well linked by public transport, with the closest subway stops being 23rd St, 8th Ave and Christopher St - Sheridan Square.
While today the Meatpacking District is a mecca for party goers, it played a keynote role in the development of New York City’s rich historical narrative. In the early 1800s, it was a major commercial hub with its streets lined with open-air meat markets, packing plants, lumberyards and bargain tenement apartments. By the 1960s it was New York’s most avant-garde neighbourhood, attracting gay nightclubs, trendy leather boutiques, 24-hour diners, French bistros, luxe hotels and of course, a quirky subculture to match. Today, it’s an epicentre of urban activity, with an eclectic mix of NYC illuminati, independent fashion designers, modern artists, restaurateurs, global brands, corporate HQs and curious sightseers alike.