Exploring the Meatpacking District

By Samantha Nicholson

The Meatpacking District was once home to hundreds of slaughterhouses and packing plants. It was about as unglamorous as it gets. Today, the Meatpacking District is home to some of the world’s most exclusive clubs and best stores. The cobblestoned streets turn into runways at night as fashion models head to the best hotspots, and you are likely to have a celebrity sighting on any given night. Here is your guide to the best of the Meatpacking District.

The restaurants here are some of the priciest in New York City. However, you’re not only paying for the food, you’re paying for an amazing ambiance and a cool crowd. One favorite is Pastis (9 9th Avenue). Pastis, a French bistro, is named after a drink most Americans wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. However, plenty of New Yorkers and tourists vie to get reservations to this popular restaurant. Visually, the restaurant is perfection. Diners eat in a beautiful setting that you would expect to see on the streets of Paris. The food is just as authentic. This is one place you must visit if you venture to the MPD.

Another reknowned restaurant is STK. STK is an elegant steakhouse that houses hip club Tenjune underneath. If the Zagat.com reviews aren’t enough to sell you on this place (“I proposed marriage to my plate of kode sliders with foie gras!”) then maybe the constant celebrity sightings that appear on Page Six will convince you. The inside of the restaurant has a classy punk-rock feel plastered  with faux black leather and lined with rows of silver studs. There is a lot of selection with the food here and it isn’t a bad price. But beware, the somewhat weak cocktails are all $12 and up. However, this is standard in the Meatpacking District.

The Meatpacking District attracts an upscale clientele to its shops, which sell everything from designer apparel to fine furniture. One fashionista favorite is Stella McCartney (429 W 14th St).McCartney’s first boutique features everything from ultra-feminine (and expensive) silks to impossibly high platform pumps. There are plenty of comfortable, understated sofas throughout the store for those who get dragged along on a significant other’s shopping trip. The ambiance of this store will guarantee you a great shopping experience. Its proximity to Jeffrey and Alexander McQueen doesn’t hurt, either.

You’ll also want to visit Yigal Azrouel (408 W. 14th St). This store offers a sophisticated collection of evening and office wear that will never go out of style. This bare-brick store carries luxurious silk blouses, carefully-cut slacks, stylish knits, and sexy dresses. You can find the designer’s pieces in high-end department stores across America. But the pieces in this boutique are Azrouel’s experimental designs and are only sold in this 14th Street outpost. The pieces are pricey, but will last several seasons.

There are tons of great places to grab a drink in the Meatpacking District. A good way to start off your night is to head to the Plunge Bar at the Hotel Gansevoort (18 9th Avenue). This rooftop bar offers impressive views of Lower Manhattan and delicious cocktails. The Gansevoort becomes a hard-to-get-into hotspot during the summer when the pool is open. After you leave the Gansevoort, you’ll find yourself surrounded by exclusive nightclubs and hip bars. Some Meatpacking District favorites are Tenjune (26 Little W. 12th St), RDV (409 W. 13th St), Kiss and Fly (409 W. 13th St), Griffin (50 Gansevoort St), and the newly opened Provocateur at the Hotel Gansevoort. You’ll find the same arrogant doormen and $18 cocktails at all of these clubs, but the atmosphere at these spots makes the trouble worth it.

You’ll definitely want to spend some time in the Meatpacking District during your visit to New York City. Whether you are looking for trendy clothes or a chic nightclub, the District has a lot to offer.

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