15. A District Defined: Streets, Sex, and Survival in the Meatpacking District

Photograph from A District Defined exhibit
Photo by Catherine McGann

As a collaboration between the Meatpacking Business Improvement District and human rights activist, election reformer, and producer, Tim Hayes, A District Defined: Streets, Sex, and Survival is a photography exhibit that aims to shed light on the history of the historically vibrant district. A District Defined is a collection of dozens of never-before-seen photographs surrounding the queer nightclubs of the Meatpacking District in the late 1980s and 1990s. All photographs come from a group of eight different artists who each uniquely documented different aspects of the District at the time, including Lynsey Addario, Lola Flash, Jill Freedman, Efrain Gonzalez, T.L. Litt, Catherine McGann, Katsu Naito, and Joseph Rodríguez. Within the exhibit there will also be one work by Richard Young: a photograph of Freddie Mercury wearing a Mineshaft t-shirt, a shoutout to the infamous gay BDSM and leather bar located in the District. 

A District Defined pays homage to all aspects of what defined the Meatpacking District, from the colorful nightlife to the hardships and struggles that shaped the lives of the community. The photographs examine the evolution of the Meatpacking District over time and aim to honor and celebrate its LGBTQ+ history, artists, and community. The exhibition can be found between June 22 and July 9 at 401, located at 401 West 14th Street in Manhattan.