Sunday, May 17, 2009
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.