By Allison Wright, Photography by Dina Litovsky
In New York, the neighborhoods evolve according to the generations that claim them. In the early nineteenth century, Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, bracketed by Chelsea to the north and the West Village to the south, included a military fort and then a mixed-use neighborhood. As the city grew, working-class tenements slowly gave way to produce markets that eventually expanded to serve larger appetites. By 1900, the district boasted at least 250 slaughterhouses and packing plants, which were replaced in turn by entrepreneurs catering to different appetites altogether: underground gay clubs, leather and fetish shops, followed by bottle-service lounges and couture retail. All the while, more than a touch of that ragged grittiness has remained.