Sunday, May 17, 2009

Meatpacking District




The Meatpacking District in NYC reminds me of SoHo twenty years ago. What was once an industrial outskirts has become one of the hottest addresses, especially its nightlife. The neighborhood has many great bars, lounges, restaurants, and clubs including Cielo, apt, Lotus, and the rooftop lounge at Hotel Gansvoort, seen here. Now that the good weather has finally arrived, the neighborhood is getting lots of daytime hipster traffic as well. Jazz trumpet player Jesse Neuman took me around his old haunts, having lived on 14th and 9th when a student at NYU, and is seen here lounging in an outdoor patio set up in the cobblestone crossroads of 13th Street and 9th Ave. The last pic, a new condominium development on 14th and 8th, is touting its green technologies as an enticing sales pitch. All this growth takes place in the shadows of NYC's inability to protect its historical buildings. The West Village, for instance, is razing some of its traditional buildings on Bleeker Street, a street that is as iconic to New York as the Left Bank is to Paris. My fear is that as each neighborhood gets 'hot', it abandons the very essence of itself, taking on a homogenized architecture in the name of progress. The damage is often permanent. One need look no further than the abysmal Penn Station, which was once a fantastic representation of a turn of the century railroad station, and was demolished to make way for a bleak 1970s excuse of a building. Let's hope the Meatpacking District develops while maintaining its industrial edginess.

4 comments:

Ann R. said...

I love that area of the city too. As always, I'm torn between the subtle charm of the way it used to be and the inevitable hipster glass condo invasion in the works (really, doesn't anyone use bricks anymore?). It will be interesting to see how much of the mom and pop stores remain (the fantastic Sweetheart coffee shop is still there--8th ave just south of 14th--and smells like the heavenly inside of a pre-diabetic angel's cabinet), while a "Shoegasm" outlet has replaced what once was a great florist shop. Se la meatpacking vie.

Nadine @ BDG said...

so true, so well said-- and bricks are sooo last century.

parisapartment said...

I love the way the meatpacking is developing. I agree about the bricks (what about cobblestone streets while we're at it)? but love to see the change. It used to be so gross to go down there and really see the meat getting packed. Now it's one great place after another!

vicki archer said...

So true - progress is so important but not at the expense of the past. The fabulous thing about NYC is the different neighbourhoods and the way they flow into each other but retain their own personalities at the same time. xv