The Meatpacking District is officially designated by the city as the “Gansevoort Market Historic District”. This district is one of the smallest neighborhoods in Manhattan: there are only 104 buildings in the entire district. Yet this small collection features some of the most variety in all of New York City. Mixed-use is the Meatpacking District’s middle name; despite its small size, it features a plethora of shops, restaurants, clubs, hotels, and more. JACOBS Because the neighborhood is largely nonresidential, demographics-related statistics about the community are either difficult to find or nonexistent. Instead, the community of the Meatpacking District is built around its attractiveness as a destination: for both tourists and New Yorkers alike, it is a place to go rather than a place to stay. And for the most part, this has always been the case.
Meatpacking District Community
Although the historic Meatpacking District is typically associated with its slaughterhouse industry, such work was not the main community aspect of the area. Rather, the community of the early Meatpacking District began in the late 1800s with the start of two notable and important markets: the Gansevoort Market for fruits and vegetables (otherwise known as the Farmer’s Market) and the West Washington Market for meat and poultry. This, of course, is where the Meatpacking District gets its official name (“the Gansevoort Market”). By the 1920s, these markets had grown so much that they became the primary forces that brought people to the neighborhood, helped along by advances in transportation that made it easier and more practical for people to come to the markets. Although the industrial workers in slaughterhouses and other factories were what gave the area its flourishing bustle, it was these markets that established the neighborhood as a point on the map — a destination to go to. The Gansevoort and West Washington Markets represented an important hub of central activity for the Meatpacking District; by the 1940s, after new refrigeration technology allowed meat from the slaughterhouses to be distributed and sold there along with the produce, the Gansevoort Market had become “one of the largest meat distribution centers in the world”(“2013 District Report”). There is no doubt that the community of the neighborhood in the early 20th Century was centered around the Meatpacking District’s markets.
Although the community in the neighborhood is now much more dispersed among all of the Meatpacking District’s attractions, the Meatpacking District is still a destination, a place to go to rather than a place to stay. similar to the way the markets brought people to the neighborhood in the past In fact, this is probably truer in the Meatpacking District of today. Still, if there is one place that could be called the central community location of the neighborhood, it would be the Gansevoort Plaza.
The Gansevoort Plaza is a public space that was recently constructed in 2008. The Meatpacking District was designated as an historic district back in 2003. By protecting the neighborhood’s historic buildings from destruction, the historic feel of the neighborhood lingers among the modernized “chic” of today.The Meatpacking District Improvement Association (MPIA) is the main driving force behind the community of the Meatpacking District today. The MPIA organizes community events at Gansevoort Plaza and other places around the neighborhood; examples of these events include concerts, festivals, and exercise days. The MPIA also allows outside commercial brands to use the plaza; in the past, such recognizable names as Puma, Samsung, Ford, and Maybelline have graced the plaza with their presence. The MPIA is also responsible for cleaning up the neighborhood, and it takes great pride in statistics of its success.
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“A Bit About Us.” MPIA: Meatpacking District Improvement Association. Meatpacking District Improvement Association, 2011. Web.
Brick, Michael. “Blood on the Street, and It’s Chic; Landmark Status for a Meatpacking District.” The New York Times. 11 Sept. 2003. Web.
“Gansevoort Plaza.” New York City Department of Transportation. City of New York, 2013. Web.
Naparstek, Aaron. “Meat Market Plaza is Open for Business.” Streets Blog. 27 Sept. 2007. Web.
“Neighborhood History.” MPIA: Meatpacking District Improvement Association. Meatpacking District Improvement Association, 2011. Web.
Shockley, Jay. “Gansevoort Market Historic District Designation Report.” New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. 2003. Web.
“9th Avenue Public Plazas.” MPIA: Meatpacking District Improvement Association. Meatpacking District Improvement Association, 2011. Web.
“2013 District Report.” MPIA: Meatpacking District Improvement Association. Meatpacking District Improvement Association, 2013. Web.