The Meatpacking district is sandwiched between Chelsea and Greenwich village. The area is roughly situated between Horatio Street in the south and 16th Street in the north. Compared to the orderly grid system of most of Manhattan, this area is a rather confusing mix street names, numbers and no avenues. For first time visitors just getting used to the relative ease of the grid, google maps on your phone is essential. The Meatpacking district takes its name from the hundreds of meatpacking plants and slaughterhouses that used to do business supplying meat to Manhattan. The meat came in via the railway line that is now the High Line. It was once a major hub for meat wholesalers, these days only a few remain. The very rough area known for raw meat, seedy bars, prostitution and drugs in the early 1990s started to get clean by upmarket designer brands moving in during the later parts of that decade. Like so many of the other seedy old Manhattan districts the Meatpacking district was gentrified and cleaned up and got very expensive. Since our first visit to the area more than 20 years ago it has changed immensely and they have cleaned up almost every corner and street, and maybe lost a little of that dangerous vibe that hung over some of the backstreets and bars like the legendary Hogs and Heiffers bar – one of the last true dive bars in Manhattan.
The first luxury hotel to open in the area was the very upscale Gansevoort hotel that boasts a very cool and very expensive rooftop bar complete with pool. The luxury boutique hotel The Standard High Line opened in 2009 and actually straddles the High Line, it also has a great rooftop bar with views to die for. And on street level they have a great biergarten open in the summer.
Behind the hotel lies another Meatpacking institution, the Brass Monkey bar has been serving libations since 2004. If you just need that caffeine kick, we highly recommend the brilliant Kobrick coffee on the corner of 9th and 13th Street. If you want to visit one of the longest continually running restaurants in the US, and feel like eating some quality meat, head over to Old Homestead Steakhouse (look for the giant cow over the entryway) – they have been serving guests since 1868. On 9th Avenue between 15th and 16th Street lies Chelsea Market, a true New York landmark. Occupying an entire block, it is filled with food and retail marketplaces with a global perspective. A must visit in the area and you will for sure get lost in the maze of shops, restaurants, take away joints and artists selling their wares.
Towards 10th street the High Line has its own spur running through the building since it was originally built and occupied by the company that invented and produced the Oreo cookie. If you have a hankering for visiting a great museum, The Whitney Museum of American Art “The Whitney” opened at its new location in 99 Gansevoort Street in 2015. It boasts great works of American artists like Andy Warhol, Man Ray and George Bellows. The Meatpacking district walk is easily combined with the Bleecker Street walk, then continuing on the High Line for a full day of great New York walking. The Meatpacking district changes into a hub of food and drinks in the evening, there are plenty of cool restaurants, trendy bars, and cool nightclubs in the area.