Monday, December 17, 2012

Meatpacking 1985

A couple of months ago we got to see some wonderful photos of the Meatpacking District in the 1980s, thanks to Yvonne B. Now, photographer and author Brian Rose sends in a link to his amazing collection of photos featuring the Meatpacking District in 1985.


The desolate industrial neighborhood of the past stands in stark contrast to today's center of consumerism and luxury. In most of the photos there are no people, just shuttered meatpacking warehouses. The streets are quiet. No girls in Manolos. No cupcake eaters. No High Line tourists.

Today, in the view seen above, condos rise and rise.


Brian's photos are all in daylight, so you won't see any transgender prostitutes or leather men on the prowl. But there is evidence of their presence, like the hot-sheets Liberty Hotel, which still stands, and a rare shot of the entrance to the Mineshaft, the gay leather club featured in the Pacino movie Cruising. (Check out "Back in the Gays" for an insider's memory of the Mineshaft.)


There's also this lovely shot, which I include here because the corner also turned up in Yvonne B's collection--17th Street and 10th Avenue. Something attracted both photographers to the spot. Maybe it was that rusted-out LIQUORS sign, or the colorful mural, or the ghost sign for KIPS BAY BEER. All of it has vanished.

Visit Brian Rose's blog for much more of the Meatpacking District in the winter of 1985. And while you're at it, buy a copy of Brian's must-have book Time & Space on the Lower East Side.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I moved to Chelsea in 1986 and was fascinated by weekend walks west of 9th avenue. This brings back memories. However, during the weekday there was quite a lot of activity both food related and small business/watrehouses.

Anonymous said...

Wow who would have thought. Now some of the people who owned these ugly dreary warehouses back in the day are now making so much money renting or selling!

Ashley Shepherd said...

Thank you for posting the link to the Meatpacking 1985 photos. How an are can change in such a short time! I remember the area but find much meaning in these images. It was so quiet then and now there is so much renewal and growth.

G Christopher said...

I remember it all so well and am happy to still be alive! The nights from Meat Packing all the way up the West Side Highway to The Spike. That was a wild time and I'm so grateful I was here to enjoy its debauchery...and peeling from the pack...I'm glad I'm here today to enjoy what it has become. There are only so many late nights you can yank your wanky with poppers in a Meat Packing club and then wind your way through prostitutes being hassled by the fuzz. MPD isn't so bad - neither is the HIgh LIne and the surrounding growth. That's the thing about NYC that every generation seems to enjoy yanking their wankies over - sobbing about the change. The thing that MAKES NYC, NYC IS THE CHANGE. We aren't some museum charicature of Central Paris or London - we are a loud, pushy, city of constant change. That's what has always brought people here...and the day we stop changing is the day we die as a city.

Marty Wombacher said...

Love those photos, I'm going to go check out his blog now, thanks for the linkage!

Anonymous said...

My father had a studio there. It was an odd interesting place. We would wander around there and Hell's Kitchen. I never found it scary, just super interesting. No one bothered us. We used to prowl around the abandoned docks and warehouses. I found it so weird and interesting. Since I was a kid, I did not know why all those guys were just hanging out! When I lived near Washington Square, I was bothered a whole lot more!

James C. Taylor said...

Great photos. There was a Western Beef supermarket on 14th & Ninth as recently as 2006, maybe even more recently than that. Amazing how much has changed in such a short time.

laura said...

i stayed one block from the meat pack district in 1989 for several months. we have florent & pastis. so tranquil, so private. i returned one sunday in the summer 2006 or 7, around 6:60pm. overun w/screaming frat types, didnt reconize where i was. got out fast. what a shock, cant imagine it now!! where is thier a nice quiet eclave for interesting people to go, to eat to talk, to walk??

Gregoire Alessandrini said...

Great shots.
I captured the same kind of atmosphere of the Meat Market in the 1990's:
http://galessandrini.blogspot.fr/2012/08/meat-market-meat-packing-district-90s.html
I miss dearly this gone NY and all the great memories that go with it...

GA
galessandrini.blogspot.fr