In early 2003, a Brit named Nick Jones stumbled upon the cobblestone streets of the Meatpacking District, an area still just dirty enough to give the impression of "authenticity." It was here that he decided to create an outpost of his private London club, Soho House. In its beginnings, the members-only venue was actually a desirable place to be. From a May, 2003 piece in the Guardian's travel section focusing on the Meatpacking District, which is described as the place where — and it all seems quaint now — "grit meets glamour":
Now that we've given you an overview and a history as part of our weeklong tirade versus New York's Meatpacking District, we'll spend a little time focusing on a few of the worst local offenders. Let's begin with a trio of establishments that have each contributed substantially to the Meatpacking's rise, for good or ill. And by good, of course we mean more ill. The venues in question are French diner-bistro Florent (established 1985), Romper Room dive bar Hogs & Heifers (1992), and infinitely repeatable/exportable brasserie prototype Pastis (2002). After the jump, comparison, contrast, and condemnation.
And because we couldn't make the case just with boring old words, enjoy the above teaser for forthcoming video clips of Meatpacking District inhabitants, exhibiting natural behavior in their normal, reprehensible environment. Much more later, but this should give you an idea of the pain and suffering we endured to bring you this exclusive material.
No one in New York needs to be told to stay away from the Meatpacking District, that little slice o' damnation by the Hudson just below 14th Street. Why, then, does the place continue to pulse like Sodom, Gomorrah, and the Las Vegas Strip all rolled into a giant distasteful enchilada? The obvious answer — especially if you spend time there — is that the Meatpacking District is increasingly populated by tourists hailing not just from outside Manhattan, but outside New York, or even outside New Jersey. Of course, there's still plenty of local lookie-loos and eager guidos who call the Meatpacking District their second home most every weekend night. They don't even realize that most of their brethren have already moved eastward to befoul what's left of Rivington Street. Therefore, as a public service, we're passing along the only message worth hearing about the Meatpacking District: Stay away. Get out. Don't go. It's that simple. All this week, we'll beat this drum till it carries beyond Manhattan, to the ears that most need to hear the warning.