It's pricey, trendy, and rife with ready-made puns (all of which are too cheap, even for us). It s also dead on the inside and will steal your soul if you look directly at it. Few neighborhoods have undergone the type of unnatural beautification of the Meatpacking District, so horrific and faux that it would make Tara Reid's nipple blush. Join Gawker's Andrew Krucoff and photographer Nikola Tamindzic in a photo walking tour of a Friday night in the Meatpacking District, where they soak in the Gaslight and let everyone else show us how it all hangs it out.
Joined by NYC native John Carney, we start at the Highline Bar/Restaurant (835 Washington St. @ Little W. 12th St.) where the vibe is decidedly more future-mod than abandoned railroad tracks. Downstairs you'll find a lounge with the always angular Asians, DJs visible by a cubbyhole in the wall, and the club's three-story waterfall which ends here in a pool of floating white balls. This place only needed Jules Asner circa Wild On... to make it complete. Instead, you get a door man wearing a cowboy hat.
We then walked north on Washington St., quickly shuffling past the honks and tonks of Hogs & Heifers (859 Washington St. @ 13th St.) and trying not to look directly into the gaze of bachelorette parties.
Turning a right onto 14th St. we pass the McBoutiques of Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen before coming upon the night's first of many "time-outs" outside of the Lotus nightclub (409 W. 14th St.).
Crunch had their holiday party there on Friday and while we just missed the reported girls-kissing good times inside, we did see this young reveler out front working on a new ab exercise. Don't worry, she never left the careful observation of her personal trainer.
A couple doors down at Son Cubano (405 W. 14th St.) you don't need to hear the Ramones singing "This ain't Havana" to be reminded that you're neither in the swingin' 50's or Cuba. To demonstrate, this is patron Carla who is Portuguese and grew up in Queens. She designs her own bags, works for Victoria's Secret, and enjoys the Meatpacking District about every other weekend. The food looked good, but we d be damned if we touched it.
The corner of 14th St. and 9th Ave. is occupied by the Gaslight Lounge. If you're shut out of everywhere else you can fall back on this big living room. Pictured above is doorman Alex and he could be the next Vin Diesel.
We now interrupt this tour to show you some of the night's pretty faces.
The last couple of guys are Serbian celebrities, Sergej Trifunovic (left) and Gordan Kicic (right). Sergej is a big-name movie star in Serbia, imagine Tom Cruise with a dash of Crispin Glover psychotic danger. Gordan sports a family tree of Yugoslav television and film royalty. And we totally believed everything they told us.
Walking south on 9th Avenue, we hold our hands over ears and don't even look at members-only Soho House and attempt entry into Spice Market (403 W. 13th Street @ 9th Ave.) with a throng of Eurotrash. We say "attempt entry" not because they are exclusive, but their walk-up front door area has to be the worst point of access constructed by total amuse-douchebags. (When leaving we literally jumped the railing and nearly damaged the family Thai jewels as it was too crowded to take the steps down.) But inside the Southeast Asia shrine we met some lovely ladies from Manchester who come to New York every year for Christmas shopping. They used to hit the clubs of Greenwich Village and go to blues joints like Village Vanguard but the Meatpacking District is currently "the place to be." I guess all of Europe is just now getting the memo.
Look! Up in the air! It's a bird, a plane, no it's Billy Crudup on top of the Hotel Gansevoort's (18 9th Ave @ 13th St.) rooftop pool yelling, "I AM A GOLDEN GOD!" Sorry, I'm really drunk at this point.
We swing past Pastis (9 9th Ave. @ Little W. 12th St.) — overhear the bouncer say to someone, "you just missed Ice T" — and take pictures of people getting their picture taken.
Heading west now on Little W. 12th St we make our final stop at Cielo (18 Little W. 12th St) which has apparently been nominated and won awards for interior design. We wouldn't know what, exactly, these awards were for; while we were able to jump the queue on our good looks and cred, we weren't about to pay $10 to experience beats that inspire "spiritual tranquility." Having had our share of the ghastly experience, we call it a night.
Word of caution: the cobbled roads, while aesthically charming, are not forgiving to the drunk and wobbly in heels.