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manhattan guide part 2: the meatpacking district

by Grace Bonney

[image via time out new york]

when it comes to manhattan i go into the city mainly for three things: people-watching, great restaurants and visiting ac at work. manhattan is truly an incredible place but i’ve gotten really comfortable in brooklyn and it’s hard to drag me away from the great things we have going on in our borough. that said, if i’m going into the city, one of my favorite areas to visit is the meatpacking district. on the western part of town, the meatpacking district is home to some of the most glamorous people watching (ie: celebrities, designers and models) in the city and some of the coolest boutiques and shops (as well as ac’s office). it’s a pretty high-rent area so the stores are pricey, but if you’re in manhattan and want to check out what’s new (and grab a coffee while supermodels stroll by on their way to photoshoots at milk) it’s a definite must see.

what follows is a guide to my favorite shops, restaurants and hang-outs, if you have any favorites i left out please feel free to leave them below! click here for the full meatpacking district guide, or just click “read more” below.

[over the next two months we’ll be posting a weekly guide to manhattan, broken up by neighborhood. when we’ve finished i’ll create a single manhattan guide page with links to each area. click here for manhattan part one: harlem]

D*S Meatpacking District Guide

Fine Art and Design:

I’m sadly not a big gallery person. I always feel intimidated by their staff and the price tags so I avoid them like the plague. That said, there are plenty of great ones in the neighborhood. I’ve included a few of my favorites, but there is a big list right here if you’re interested.

Wooster Projects: An incredible gallery with world-class artwork by icons like Basquiat and Warhol. [418 W. 15th Street, (212) 871-6700]

-Heller Gallery: fine art in glass [420 West 14th, (212) 414-4014]

-Milk Studios/Gallery: great contemporary art shows [450 West 15th Street, (212) 645-2797]

Vitra: Vitra carries home furnishings by a wide range of designers like The Bouroullec Brothers and Ron Arad. (in the interest of full disclosure I worked for their freelance PR firm from 2004-2006) [29 Ninth Avenue, (212) 929-3626]

Establishment: Modern furniture from Thailand with an eco-friendly slant. [30 Gansevoort Street, (212) 242-6565]

Abingdon 12– This shop is an interesting mix of old and new, and though it’s a little on the pricey end, it’s definitely worth checking out. Abingdon 12 also carries artwork and an exclusive line of in-house stationery. [613 Hudson Street, (212) 206-6845]

-Imports from Marrakesh- If you’re looking for rugs, Moroccan ‘pouf’ seating, lighting or accessories, this is your one-stop shop. [79 Ninth Ave- in the back of the Chelsea Market, (212) 675-9700]

Apple– Most people are shocked to hear I’m not a Mac person (“I’m a blogger- and I’m a PC!”) but this Mac store is gorgeous. Worth checking out for the pretty spiral stairs. [401 West 14th Street]

Auto– I reference this store’s online shop on D*S constantly. I love their well-edited collection of home design and jewelry. A great, great shop for fun gifts and pretty home goods. [803-805 Washington Street, (212) 229-2292]

Yoya– Everything you could need for your design-conscious children (or parents). [646 Hudson Street, (646) 336-6844]

Yoya Mart– This shop is basically more of Yoya, in a different location. Clothing, accessories, toys and interesting design objects for kids abound. [15 Gansevoort Street, (212) 242-5511]

-Destination: Destination is an interesting art space slash fashion and accessories shop. I’ve been to a few art shows here and they’re always interesting, with a real focus on artists that we haven’t heard a lot from yet. [32 Little West 12th Street, (212) 727-2031]

Space 107– Furniture, lighting and accessories from the 20th century. [107 Horatio Street, (212) 206-7599]


Ok, let’s get this out of the way, these high-end fashion stores are mega pricey but fun to look at if you need some Vogue-style window shopping. They’re big national and international names so I’ll skip descriptions.

-Diane Von Furstenburg [874 Washington Street]
-Stella Macartney [429 West 14th Street]
-La Perla [425 West 14th Street]
-Scoop [875 Washington Street] *this shop isn’t as expensive as others but it’s still pretty pricey
-Jeffrey [449 West 14th Street]
-Yigal Azrouel [408 West 14th Street]
-Carlos Miele [408 West 14th Street]
-Alexander McQueen [417 West 14th Street]
-Catherine Malandrino [652 Hudson Street]
-Helmut Lang [819 Washington Street]
-Yohji Yamamoto [1 Gansevoort Street]

Ten Thousand Things: If you have a few hundred (or thousand) dollars burning a hole in your pocket this is the place to spend it.. Designers David Rees and Ron Anderson create what I think is hands down the most beautiful jewelry I’ve ever seen. I’m saving my pennies to buy a tiny tiny piece to wear in my wedding. It’s a must-see, just for the beautiful minimalist jewel-box shop itself. [423 W 14th St (212) 352-1333]

Theory– I love Theory. Plain and simple. Their clothes are vaguely affordable (compared to everything else in the neighborhood) and are great pieces to invest in- you can build a great foundation for your wardrobe here with quality basics. [38 Gansevoort Street, (212) 524-6790]

Earnest Sewn: AC likes their jeans, and he’s a jeans person so I don’t argue with him about the shop being cool. They’re big on “honoring denim’s past” and some of their vintage styles are pretty darn awesome. [821 Washington Street, (212) 242-3414]

-Jean Shop- Ditto above. If you like jeans, this is your shop/mecca. [435 West 14th, (212) 366- 5326]

Darling– this shops carries ultra girly dresses. They always visit it on “What Not to Wear”. [1 Horatio Street, (646) 336-6966]

Adam– I love Adam’s gorgeous selection of men’s and women’s clothing. High-end but really nice quality, simple pieces you can invest in and keep for years. [678 Hudson Street, (212) 229-2838]

Tracy Reese– colorful, fun, feminine clothing. What’s not to love? I would be a very happy girl if my closet was stocked with her dresses. [641 Hudson Street, (212) 807-0505]

Iris Shoes– Expensive? Yes. Heaven for a shoe-lover? Definitely. Stop in this beautiful shoe shop to check out collections from a few special design houses like Chloe, Marc Jacobs, Paul Smith and John Galliano. [827 Washington Street, (212) 645-0950]

Trina Turk– Everything I said about Tracy Reese above applies here. I love Trina Turk’s colorful clothing. [67 Gansevoort Street, (212) 206-7383]

-Matthew Williamson- I love his clothes- they’re colorful, fun and always a nice way to spend some extra money if you’re lucky enough to have some. His store is opening soon so click here to stay up to date with his opening.

202 Nicole Farhi– located in the front of my favorite MePa building, the Chelsea Market (which is on the border where MePa becomes Chelsea), Nicole Farhi’s small shop is full of beautiful clothes, great antiques for the home and personal use, and a nifty little bar/cafe that’s great for a early evening drink. I had drinks here with AC the night before we got engaged and it will always remind me of that wonderful weekend. [75 Ninth Avenue]

Lars Bolander– designer Lars Bolander designs incredible interiors and his shop stocks some of the pieces that make up his great homes. Prices are high (obviously a theme of this neighborhood) but the antiques selection is incredible (and the accessories there are more do-able in terms of price). [72 Gansevoort Street, (212) 924-1000]

Jeffrey– Their website talks about emphasizing service, but I’ve yet to have great service at Jeffrey. if you can get past the snooty staff (sorry, but I’ve never been in without someone being totally snippy to me) the clothing is really fantastic. Great labels and occasionally you can find something that won’t cost as much as your rent. [449 West 14th Street (212) 206-3928]

James Colarusso– It might seem a little out of character, but I love James Colarusso’s jewelry. His background as a painter clearly informs the shapes he works with and I love his stacking rings and birds head cufflinks. Not for everyone, but it’s definitely worth checking out. [829 Washington Street , (212) 647-1313]

Food + Wine:

I’m a big eater, not bar-goer. If you’re looking for the big fancy clubs in the hood, try this site. They’ve got em all.

The Chelsea Market: No trip to the Meat Packing District would be complete without a visit to The Chelsea Market. Though it’s name suggests it’s in Chelsea, it sits right on the border between the MePa and Chelsea so I decided to include it in both guides. In addition to being home for the Food Network (you can watch shows being filmed here and often catch Bobby Flay having a coffee at the western end of the building), the Chelsea Market is home to mind-blowing food shops ranging from fish markets and Italian imports to baked goods, kitchen supplies and wine. Go hungry because you won’t want to leave without a snack (or two or three). [79 Ninth Avenue]

Fat Witch Bakery and Eleni‘s: Pick up some delicious sweets in these two bakeries located inside the Chelsea Market. Sometimes the Fat Witch has free samples…what more could you ask for? [79 Ninth Avenue]

Ronnybrook Dairy: located inside the Chelsea Market this great NY area milk provider has a SUPER cool little room covered in milk crates. Get some ice cream, a milk shake or grab a PB&J with a nice cold glass of milk. It’s a pretty cool spot to to grab a snack. [79 Ninth Avenue]

Morimoto: if you’re looking for a nice Japanese restaurant and happen to be a fan of Iron Chef, check of Chef Morimoto’s Meatpacking favorite- Morimoto. It can get a little pricey but if you like good sushi, it’s a must. [88 10th Avenue, (212) 989-8883]

Del Posto– Mario Batali. For me, enough said. This is an incredible Italian restaurant that’s gotten a little bit of flack for trying to be too fancy. That said, Batali’s food is almost always delicious. [85 10th Avenue, (212) 497-8090]

-The Diner- Diner food with a little bit of a modern spin- it’s a great place for a casual lunch if you’re shopping in the area. [44 9th Avenue, (212) 627-2230]

Buddakan: fans of the Sex and the City movie might recognize this as the spot where Big and Carrie have their engagement party. It’s definitely a big “scene” so if you’re looking for a real party spot, this is it. I’m not much of a clubber or scene girl so I haven’t eaten here but I popped my head in once and it looks gorgeous inside. [75 Ninth Avenue, (212) 989-6612]

The Green Table: this local/seasonal/sustainable restaurant inside the Chelsea market is the perfect combination of simple and rustic. A great spot for a quiet dinner out.

Old Homestead Steak House– I don’t eat a lot of red meat, but if you have a boyfriend like mine he’ll love this restaurant. In the tradition of Peter Luger, it’s all about the meat here. [56 Ninth Avenue, (212) 242-9040]

Craftsteak– Ditto above- it’s not old school like Old Homestead, but if you love steak, this is a really great place for special events or birthdays. Tom Colicchio can do no wrong in my book. [85 Tenth Avenue, (212) 400-6699]

Tenjune– another swanky, celebrity-filled drink spot. But I’ve heard from good friends who’ve been that it’s a great spot for a late night drink. [26 Little West 12th, (646) 624-2410]

Barbuto– I haven’t been to this Italian restaurant yet but have wanted to go for ages. If Frank Bruni likes it, that’s a very good sign. [775 Washington Street, (212) 924-9700]

5Ninth– This is a beautiful restaurant is a little bit of a “scene” but the food is delicious (it’s a mix of American and Asian-Fusion). [5 Ninth Avenue, (212) 929-9460]

Bagatelle– a delicious french bistro with great roasted chicken. [409 W 13th Street, (212) 675-2400]

-Popburger- finally, something a little bit affordable! A favorite of my friends who love burgers on the small side. [58 Ninth Avenue, (212) 414-8686]

The Maritime Hotel Bar/La Bottega/Matsuri: The Maritime Hotel is a chic nautically-themed hotel located on the border of Chelsea and the Meatpacking District. AC and I love the hotel bar and La Bottega for great drinks outside in the spring and delicious Italian food. On a pretty night grab a table under the paper lanterns outside and eat delicious pizzas while you sip Italian beers. Not a bad way to spend an evening. Matsuri is a Japanese restaurant in the hotel- we haven’t tried it but have heard good reviews from friends that have. [363 West 16th Street, (212) 242-4300]

Spice Market: Jean George Vongerichten’s take on Thai food is a feast for the stomach and eyes. This restaurant is incredible in the summer when they open the windows to eat open-air style, but is equally beautiful in the winter. Grab a shared lunch if you’re on a budget, it’s definitely worth checking out.
[403 West 13th, (212) 675-2322]

The Garden at ONO– outdoor Japanese dining at the Hotel Gansevoort [18 9th Avenue, (212) 660-676]

APT– want a super swanky place to grab a drink? head to apt and enjoy the people watching. [419 West 13th Street, (212) 414-4245]

Brass Monkey– this is ac’s official after-work bar and it has a soft spot in my heart because of that. want to grab a beer and some nachos and relax (and watch a game or two on the tv) after work? head over here and try to avoid the crowds who’ll no doubt flock to brass monkey now that it was on “the city“. [55 Little West 12th Street, (212) 675-6686]

-Gaslight- another spot I know because of AC. in the summer they open huge walls of french doors and it’s a fun spot for an after-work beer. [400 West 14th Street, (212) 807-8444]

Balducci’s– This is a gourmet market I love to grab simple things in to make a picnic lunch. They have great baguettes, chocolate and cheese- what more could you need? [81 8th Avenue, (212) 741-3700]

Patsis: I wince adding this to the guide because I think the food is overrated and the staff can be beyond rude, but Pastis is a MePa institution. Want to see celebrities eat lunch? Hang out in the front and just wait for the black Escalades to roll up. You’re sure to see “someone” eating there at all hours. The only thing I’ve eaten that wasn’t botched the second time I ordered it were the french fries. So have a glass of wine, some fries and watch the famous people go by… [9 Ninth Avenue, (212) 929-4844)

The Inn at Little West 12th– a Canadian gastro pub. Yum. [7 Ninth Avenue, (212) 206-0300]

Vento Trattoria: I love to grab a glass of wine and a nice thin-crust pizza here in the summer. It’s a fun spot to people-watch (I see a trend here…) and enjoy a breezy summer day. [675 Hudson Street, (212) 699-2400]

Little Pie Company: Delicious pies in all sizes. Yum. [424 West 43 Street, (212) 736-4780]


The Standard: This west coast hotel chain is opening in NYC very soon. I just got an email about the first rooms being available soon so check their website for official fully-open dates (it’s listed as “open-ish” right now). Their location on top of the High Line is pretty amazing. [848 Washington Street, (212) 645-4646]

The Maritime Hotel: Groovy nautical themed hotel with port-hole style windows. I love the Josef Frank Manhattan-print fabric on the sofas in the lobby. [363 West 16th Street, (212) 242-4300]

Hotel Gansevoort: This is a mega-scene. I mean, MEGA. Celebrities, crazy roofttop parties, it’s nuts. You always read about Lindsey Lohan stumbling out of the back entrance so be prepared for a little madness. Other than that, it’s a stunning hotel with a fantastic rooftop bar. [18 Ninth Avenue, (212) 206-6700]


Banchet Flowers– Gorgeous flowers, and I love to browse their “flower bar” in the front window. [807 Washington Street, (212) 989-1088]

The High Line: this elevated railway is destined to become a fantastic new public park. Stay tuned and click here for more information…

Bumble and Bumble: I got my hair cut here once and couldn’t stop staring at the incredible building. If you want a fancy ‘do and want to check out an awesome space with a great view of the city and water, look no further. [415 West 13th Street, (212) 521-6500]

-Dubspot- pastries and DJ/music mixing lessons, all in one spot. [348 West 14th, (877) 382-7768]

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  • MePa is one of my fav places in NYC – love the cobblestone streets and the history! My hubbie and I visited the MePa late summer and ate outside at One – had an awesome special salad with grilled peaches. It is right across the street from Pastis so we were able to sip some wine, dine and watch all the craziness across the street – great service!

  • Too much deliciousness. I adore Little Pie and Co. and was happy to see some delicious new places I haven’t tried too!

  • Barbuto is so yummy! We went with a chef friend,his recommendation, and he always has the skinny on the food scene. I wouldn’t miss it. It’s just one of those places that’s always good and will not disappoint.

  • Love your site & have been finding inspiration here for the better part of two years. Just wanted to say that I used to work as a server at Pastis and am bummed that you didn’t have a good experience there. I would have *never* been rude to you.

  • what perfect timing – i’m visiting manhattan from LA for the week and needed a few new places to check out tomorrow! thanks as always design sponge.

  • have fun guys! i haven’t done other neighborhoods yet but be sure to check out hable construction on perry street (my favorite shop in the city) and abc home. :)

  • I want to move there!! You’re so lucky to live in NY, Grace! I was in NY in October spent one evening in the meat packing district. I fell in love with DVF! These guides are wonderful, I have so many more places to check out next time I go!!

  • I respectfully object.

    I grew up in that area– on Jane St., at the border of the West Village and the Meatpacking District, and it’s sad for me to visit home now that the neighborhood has changed so much. Not in a good way.

    The gentrifying forces of designer boutiques, expensive hotels and fancy restaurants that cater to visitors has displaced virtually all the native businesses, owned by locals, that were there when I grew up– the most recent casualty being the amazing French diner Florent, where my parents used to go to in the wee hours when they were residents at St. Vincent’s and where I used to go on my home from parties. But also lost are the hardware stores, bakeries, delis, family restaurants and supermarkets that catered to locals. Now that most everyone but the wealthiest residents has been displaced by speculative real estate prices of the last decade, there is painfully little business left that caters to the needs of the community.

  • I, like Joanna, also lived on Jane Street right on the border of the Meat Packing District. I haven’t been back to the city since 2002 and won’t even recognize my old neighborhood when I visit this year. It will be sad to see the small Mom and Pop places closed. And I will especially miss Florent where I spent a lot of time. A photo of that wonderful French diner has been my desktop wallpaper since I found out about it’s closing due to the steep rent prices. I remember when that was one of the only places to eat on those beautiful tiny streets.

  • Hi Grace
    I hope your wedding has been a wonderful and beautiful celebration with your loved ones. Congratulations!
    I’m heading to New York next weekend (from Australia) and was wondering if the other Manhattan guides you mention in this post are still being developed? (You suggest they might be arriving early this year…)
    No problem if not, you’ve given me so much inspiration already!
    All the best

  • There are a lot of hidden secrets in the meatpacking disctrict. One of my favorite buildings is 424 west 13th street where Lutz and Patmos for sweaters, Rag and Bone for clothing and ChesterfieldNYC for oroginal hand made and dyed Chesterfield Sofas are hosting during the year their samples sales. You can visit all the websites by adding a dot com at the end of their company name.