Meatpacking District: Up and Coming

Meatpacking District New York City

Two subway stops from the crowded center of Midtown Manhattan, the Meatpacking District is currently the hippest area in New York City. Calm but still fast-paced, industrial-looking but clean and modern, it will make you want to start writing that book you have been thinking about or taking that painting class you have been postponing for years now.

Get your glasses and coffee cup to go, for we are about to take you on a one-day trip around Meatpacking!

Coffee On-the-Go

The Think Coffee Shop stands for sustainability, and that is clear in their entire process: from fair-trade cropped coffee beans to recyclable cups and, most importantly, the impact on the local communities and social projects – like menstrual activism and clean water access, just to name a few. But how about the coffee? Besides conscious, we can assure you it is delicious, no matter how you like to take it. They have a few awarded treats for your sweet tooth, and vegan and gluten-free options as well. While the space is beautiful, with cashier in one point and the coffee-making in another with a display of coffees from around the world in the middle, hurry up because there is a lot to see and do and there are only so many hours in the day!

Morning: The Whitney Museum of Modern Art

People enjoying the terrace of the Whitney Museum of Modern Art at the Meatpacking District, New York
The Whitney Museum of Modern Art at the Meatpacking District

Modern Art has always been one of New York’s finest gems for visitors to marvel at. This Fall – and through most of Winter, the Whitney Museum, founded by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1930, presents a full slate of ambitious and richly layered exhibitions, that offer a multi-sensorial experience through the story of American Modern Art whilst pushing existing boundaries. We give you some highlights below, but strongly recommend taking time discovering each corner, and to explore the events calendar beforehand!

Jason Moran

Jason Moran exhibition at the Whitney Museum of Modern Art
Jason Moran, the iconic jazz musician from New York exhibits at the Whitney

One of the must-see exhibitions is Jason Moran’s inter-disciplinary display. In the hall, there are a few collection items from the musician, where we can get a glimpse into his creative process, and witness how a genius mind interacts with objects and elements – and the role they play in his art.

In the room, we enter an immersive experience, surrounded by different displays, like the two stages strategically placed across the room from each other, or the wondrous Savoy Ballroom 1 that will seduce you with its sounds and its overhang. All of them keep on interacting with each other, being animated through the exhibition with video, music, vocals, and live performances, all part of the collaborative universe of this New York Jazz icon. Check the schedule ahead, since you can actually catch a live jazz concert!

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and Vegetables by Darren Bader at the Whitney Museum of Modern Art
Fruits, Vegetables; Fruit and Vegetable Salad by Darren Bader

Don’t miss this exhibition by Darren Bader, that displays fruits and vegetables on pedestals, considering them to be “nature’s impeccable sculpture”. You may see them being removed, chopped and diced into a salad that is served to visitors, and then being replaced with fresh produce.

Rachel Harrison Life Hack

Installation view of Rachel Harrison Life Hack (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, October 25, 2019–January 12, 2020). From left to right: Voyage of the Beagle, 2007; One Box of Floor Tiles, Crosby St., 1994. Photograph by Ron Amstutz
Installation view of Rachel Harrison Life Hack (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, October 25, 2019–January 12, 2020). From left to right: Voyage of the Beagle, 2007; One Box of Floor Tiles, Crosby St., 1994. Photograph by Ron Amstutz

With around one hundred works, this exhibition is as complex as it is exciting. An assessment on the development on Rachel Harrison’s career over the last twenty-five years, it is composed by large-scale installations, photography and sculptures, that resonate through our own personal experience and perception of the world. Its embodiment of history, pop culture and politics is loud and clear, making us reflect on our collective memory, what we built and where we are at, and what our generation is going to be immortalized for.

Installation view of Rachel Harrison Life Hack (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, October 25, 2019–January 12, 2020). From left to right: Brownie, 2005; Sunset Series, 2000; Alexander the Great, 2007; Cindy, 2004; Valid Like Salad, 2012. Photograph by Ron Amstutz
Installation view of Rachel Harrison Life Hack (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, October 25, 2019–January 12, 2020). From left to right: Brownie, 2005; Sunset Series, 2000; Alexander the Great, 2007; Cindy, 2004; Valid Like Salad, 2012. Photograph by Ron Amstutz

Explore the other floors to see more of these wonderful private and public collections, and you will be able to spot a familiar friend here, too: Jackson Pollock, no less.  

Pro Tip: make sure to ride the big elevator for some more art inside!

Afternoon: Do Some Shopping

After all the intellectual activity, our blown minds are ready for some earthly pleasures, and the material girl in us would take us for a tour around the more alternative shops in the Meatpacking District. We fell in love with the innovative, Italian-made Marni, and went for a nice pair of jeans at rag+bone. In the area you will also find the unequivocal Hermès, Tory Burch and Diane von Furstenberg. If we have convinced you with the Millennial fashion approach, you can also go a block up to the Chelsea Market where you will find Anthropologie, and a few restaurants of around-the-world cuisine.

Take a Break

One of the beauties of the Meatpacking District – and they are more than a few – is the location. See the sunset over the Hudson, either from one of the rooftops in the neighbourhood or by the shore, where you can also find some more open galleries from the Whitney Museum spread around.

For this relaxing moment, you can also count on your drybar to be close to you right on West 13th Street. Get ready for the evening and pick your cocktail – ups, we mean blowout! – from the menu.


Evening: Enjoy a Nice Dinner

There are several options when it comes to dining in the Meatpacking District. La Bodega Negra, a Mexican restaurant you may be familiar with from its popularity also in London, is sure to make your Mondays a bit less blue – with live performances paired with mischievous cocktails and authentic Mexican cuisine.

The Coarse Restaurant at the Meatpacking District

If you are looking for a calmer, even sensuous ambience, the Coarse combines luxury dining with the artistic vibe of the District. Make sure to book in advance and to delve into the tasting menu of curated selection of ingredients for a gourmet experience. 

Get a Drink

The Common Ground Bar at Meatpacking District
The Common Ground Bar – 63 Gansevoort Street, Meatpacking District

You will find various places to have some evening fun, most located on Gansevoort Street and around it. One of the hippest places is the Common Ground Bar, located at 63 – you cannot miss the neon number sign and the probable line. However, it is worth visiting (at any time of the day) to enjoy the natural light and the ivy trimmed skylight and its façade curated by local street artists, all in good Meatpacking-fashion. During the day, you will be able to feel the District’s pulse by the meetings and gatherings in this place, and in the evening you may enjoy a crafted cocktail to the sound of music.

People having cocktails
Photo by Michael Discenza on Unsplash

If you are looking for a more exclusive affair, we have got you covered. Make sure to make an entrance when you arrive at Tao Downtown on 9th. A hidden gem separate from the restaurant – yes, another dining option – the Tao Nightclub is the jaw-dropping, design oasis of our dreams, sure to be the perfect setting for a memorable evening.

Stay in the Meatpacking District

There is no more relatable feeling than the dreading of leaving the Meatpacking District. If you need another day to explore this area, the Gansevoort Hotel in the street with the same name is right in the heart of the action.

Words by Rita Rodrigues

table lamp with gemstone by koket