The area that became the Meatpacking District on the lower west side of Manhattan was originally the site of Fort Gansevoort, a fortification used to defend the Hudson River. Over the years, the area became a vacation spot for city residents until it was overtaken by residential development from Greenwich Village in the mid-19th century. The Greek revival row houses were joined by freight yards and industrial buildings. By the turn of the 20th century, the area was home to more than 250 slaughterhouses. During that time, the neighborhood switched from mixed-use to one focused primarily in the meat packing industry.
With the advent of supermarkets, refrigerated trucks and frozen food, the local meatpacking facilities began to close. The area started to decline substantially in the 1960s along with its connected waterfront. The neighborhood saw the genesis of a renaissance in the 1970s when entertainment venues and nightclubs began to open in the area. Several of these infamous clubs were forcibly closed. Today, the neighborhood is witnessing another transformation as high-end boutiques, hotels and residences are once again flourishing in the area.
The Meatpacking District is considered one of New York’s most fashionable up-and-coming neighborhoods. The Whitney Museum of American Art is constructing a new facility on Gansevoort Street. Another example of the area’s transformation is that there’s an Apple Store located within the district.