The Meatpacking District in New York
The Meatpacking District in New York is a district in Manhattan, which runs roughly from West 14th Street to Gansevoort Street and the Hudson River to Hudson Street. Although the part to the north of this, up to West 16th Street, and a part to the east of Hudson Street, is often considered Meatpacking as well. In 1900, the Meatpacking District was the home of 250 slaughterhouses and packing plants, giving the district its name. Meanwhile, there are only five left in the district. The neighbourhood is now known especially for its vibrant, glamorous nightlife.
History of the Meatpacking District
Meatpacking District’s history is a lot less chic than its current image. In the 60s the decline set in, reaching an all time low in the 80s. The Meatpacking district was a raw, industrial area at the time, the epicentre of drug trafficking and prostitution. Just a few years later in the late 90s, things were looking bright again. This transformation started when trendy boutiques and nightlife came to the area, setting the tone for the neighbourhoods new character. They’re still the main pillars of Meatpacking District as we know it today: nightlife and fashion.
Highlights of the Meatpacking District
You shouldn’t skip Meatpacking during your visit to New York. It is a relatively small neighborhood, but it has its own atmosphere. Meatpacking also has a number of interesting sights. It is a nice starting place for a pleasant day of shopping and eating, or for a fun night out.
High Line Park
A special highlight of Meatpacking District is High Line Park. This park built on an old, elevated railroad offers unusual city views from above, with beautiful plants and artwork all around. You shouldn’t miss this highlight, especially in the summer when everything is in bloom and you can sunbathe or even watch the stars. You’ll see special details everywhere from street level too. For example, Meatpacking District is one of those neighbourhoods where all the alleys are cobblestone streets.
The Whitney Museum, in full the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, is a museum dedicated to 20th-century American art. The museum has more than 21,000 works of art and there is something for everyone: paintings, sculptures, drawings, photos and videos. It also has a nice roof terrace where you can relax in the summer with a drink and a nice view of the surrounding Meatpacking.
Chelsea Market is so big, it takes up a whole block. This former biscuit factory is filled to the brim with food stalls. It’s even one of the biggest ‘food markets’ in the world! Strolling around in the morning gathering goodies for breakfast is good fun. You can also compose a picnic basket and eat the delicacies on one of the lawns of Little Island. This park on piles is only a few minutes walking distance.
Where to eat in the Meatpacking District
Meatpacking District is a nice area to go out and there are all kinds of stylish restaurants to start your night out with. STK in Meatpacking District is their flagship location with a very luxurious and brilliant atmosphere. Steak lovers will enjoy it here: they have steaks in all sizes and price ranges. Personally, I always choose the ‘filet’, a steak with little fat (you can order it either small or medium size). The ‘Little Big Mac’ is a good choice for a starter. You’ll get two small hamburgers (called ‘sliders’) for $20. The extra advantage is that they’re easy to share and above all, I think they’re one of the best (small) burgers in New York. STK is very popular, so making a reservation is strongly recommended.
Head to Dos Caminos if you crave Mexican food. It’s a popular Mexican restaurant in New York and there’s a good reason for that: the food is delicious. They have many locations but the one in the Meatpacking District is one of the nicest. Another nice place for a bite or drink is RH Rooftop Restaurant. This special restaurant is located on the roof of a furniture store. It is even possible to drink a glass of wine between the furniture and immediately choose a new sofa. But here you mainly come to enjoy a rosé in the sun on the roof terrace.
Hotels in the Meatpacking District
There is not much choice of hotels in Meatpacking, but two good options are The Standard, High Line and Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC. Both have trendy rooftop bars and are therefore also great places to go out. Below the Standard Hotel, next to the hot spot The Standard Biergarten, you find The Standard Grill. Nothing standard here though, as this restaurant has a hip atmosphere, like you’re going out (but without the DJ). The Standard Grill offers tasty steaks and fish dishes. In the summer they have a nice terrace so you can enjoy the New York street life while sipping on your cocktail.
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