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A walk through NYC’s Meatpacking District today gives only the hint of the gritty, industrial place it once was. Like any successful repurposing of space, local architectural elements were retained but “less-desirable” elements that prevented investment were removed. We previously featured photographer
Gregoire Alessandrini in the Vintage Photo column for his images of Times Square and the iconic diners of NYC in the 1990s. Today, we’re showcasing his photographs of the Meatpacking in the 1990s.

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Atlas Meats  was located across from what is now The Standard Hotel. It was demolished in 2011.

Of the neighborhood then, Alessandrini writes:

In the mid-nineties, this area was dark and desolate with the semi-abandoned warehouses of meat purveyors. In the early morning, the butchers going to work were crossing night creatures finishing their shifts. There were a few clubs, hidden on the meat market’s dark corners. Jackie 60 and of course the infamous Vault and Manhole in the Triangle Building. After going to the clubs like Nell’s on 14th street, Florent on Gansevoort was a real treat. A fun coffee shop with crazy drag waitresses and other strangers of the night. And also great burgers and breakfast for hungry nightclubbers crashing in the morning light.

This building is now the restaurant SEA with outdoor seating, located across from the Standard Biergarten. The beams were retained but painted in a more innocuous gray:

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The Hellfire Club was a BDSM sex club located in the basement of the building on the triangular plot at Ninth Avenue, Hudson Street and West 14th Street which houses Dos Caminos and 675 Bar:

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Hogs & Heifers, closed in 2015, at 859 Washington Street:

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Walmir Meats at 839 Washington Street, next to SEA and across from The Standard, is finally being converted into this twisty office and retail building:

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See more from our Vintage Photography column. See more from Gregoire Alessandrini.

6 thoughts on “Vintage Photos: NYC’s Meatpacking District in the 1990s

  1. There was something tragically beautiful about Meat Packing back then; the rancid smell from the meat processing plants mixing with the odor of rotting garbage and then the sudden breeze from the river as you reached the highway. I was young and terrified of the plague but full of excitement at being out and in the city. I loved the piers and the erotic aspects, even if I was too wary to enjoy them I thrilled at the knowledge. There was that chaotic energy that only certain types of neighborhoods had back then – one day I saw Linda Evangelista sitting atop a limousine in a bright green Chanel suit, a photo shoot, and I stopped and yelled I love you Linda! And she yelled back that she loved me too. I then bounced down to the pier, stripped and lay in the sun, thrilled with the absurdities of life.

  2. Damn….these photos bring back memories of Manhole…Mineshaft
    hard to believe it was so long ago

    Thanks for posting

  3. Not to mention, the Mine Shaft. S & M clubs were all over NYC in the 80s
    Thanks for posting

  4. Thank you for posting. So many memories came flooding back. This is how I remember it, not what it is today.

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