24 Hours in the Meatpacking District


Published: Febrary 14, 2008

The Meatpacking District, roughly defined as the area from West 16th Street south to Jane Street and from the Hudson River east to Hudson Street, has transformed dramatically from the home of Manhattan’s largest concentration of slaughterhouses to “New York’s most fashionable neighborhood,” according to a 2004 issue of New York Magazine. With the introduction of high-end designer boutiques and a host of clubs, restaurants and lounges in the 1990s, the cobble-stoned streets of the Meatpacking have become some of the city’s trendiest destinations for tourists, locals and celebrities.

Check out the coffeeshop’s original brews, like the Alphabet City Blend espresso. (Jonathan Armenti/The Observer)

Start your day in the Meatpacking District with a trip to the Chelsea Market, located at 75 Ninth Ave. between 15th and 16th Streets. Home to 24 shops that offer dining of all varieties and shopping ranging from food stuffs to kitschy knick-knacks, the Market is a perfect one-stop spot for a leisurely morning.

At Ninth Street Espresso, an innovative coffeeshop known for its in-house concoctions, grab some Alphabet City Blend espresso, described on the shop’s Web site as “super sweet with notes of almond, dark chocolate and fruit.” Complement your coffee with fresh baked bread or a selection of pastries from Amy’s Bread, an old-fashioned bakery that makes all of their products from scratch every morning, and allows customers to watch them do so through the storefront window.

The Market also houses the Food Network. Fans of “Iron Chef America” or “Emeril Live” can obtain tickets to attend a taping of the program at the venue from FoodTV.com.

Slicker than your average diner, this spot serves up burgers and salads with an upscale twist. (Jonathan Armenti /The Observer)

The Ivy Brown Gallery, located at 675 Hudson St., number 4N between 13th and 14th Streets, is worth visiting for its structure alone: the building is shaped like a red triangle. Featuring photography, paintings, mixed media and glass, the Ivy Brown is currently exhibiting Aaron Hobson’s “Cinemascapes,” a collection of vivid photographs that capture snapshots of the American landscape as movie stills. The gallery is open Monday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For a midday bite to eat, give The Diner (44 Ninth Ave. at West 14th Street) a visit. It sounds pointless to travel all the way to the Meatpacking District just to eat at a diner, but this take on the classic American eatery does not disappoint. Offering slightly more upscale fare than your typical diner, this reasonably-priced locale (all items on the lunch menu are in the $9 to $14 range) serves up turkey burgers with sautéed mushrooms and seared yellowfin tuna nicoise salad in a clean, retro-inspired space.

No trip to the Meatpacking District would be complete without some window shopping (or actual shopping for those so financially blessed). Along 14th Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, are the shops of Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Diane von Furstenberg. In the same walk are also the Puma Black Store, where Puma tests its new creations before selling them nationwide, and Jean Shop, voted “best jeans store in New York” by New York Magazine. The Christian Louboutin boutique is also just a few blocks away on the corner of Horatio and Greenwich Streets.

This multi-level club has delicious signature cocktails and music provided by well-known DJs. (Jonathan Armenti /The Observer)

When it comes to hotspots in the city, the Meatpacking District is the place to be. Begin the night with a taste of the inventive cuisine scattered throughout the area by eating at the ONO Restaurant inside Hotel Gansevoort (18 Ninth Ave.). The traditional and modern Japanese fare served at the ONO is on the pricey side (small plates and sushi options average to about $15 per dish; larger plates begin at $22, but can be as expensive as $62), but dining in ONO’s neo-Japanese-styled accommodations is well worth the price-tag. In addition to the interior seating of the restaurant, ONO also allows diners to eat on the hotel’s terrace, in the Garden of ONO, or around a reflection pool surrounded by cabanas.

From the Japanese-inspired ONO, travel to the Urban Asian ambiance of Lotus, located at 409 West 14th St. and Ninth Avenue. This New York nightlife staple has three levels of dance floors, each scored by the stylings of renowned DJs such as Mark Ronson and DJ AM. While there, make sure to try Lotus’ signature cocktails, including the Lotus Flower martini, a sweet mix of muddled watermelon and peach puree.

Finish off your time in the Meatpacking District with a trip to Pop Burger (58-60 Ninth Avenue), a popular hangout for partiers ending their nights. This seemingly unimpressive burger joint actually doubles as an ultra-hip bar and lounge where you can casually play pool or down some milkshakes until it’s time to head home.