New York City, NY, USA

The Transformation of the Meatpacking District — in Photographs

Photographer Brian Rose captures the hopping neighborhood before and after gentrification.

Photo by: Brian Rose Brian Rose photographed the Meatpacking District in the winter of 1985. Here we see 14th Street when it was populated by meat purveyors.

Who doesn't love dramatic before-and-after shots of New York City neighborhoods pre- and post-gentrification? We recently came across the work of Brian Rose, a photographer who documented the streets of the Meatpacking District back in 1985. "For a week or so in late winter of 1985, I wandered around the west side of Manhattan and documented the profoundly empty streets, like a stage set with the actors on break," he writes on his blog. Twenty-eight years later, those very same streets are rarely empty. At the request of fans, Rose ventured back to the neighborhood to photograph just how much it's changed.

Photo by: Brian Rose This year, Rose photographed the exact same 14th Street spot as shown in the photo above. The chicken liver and turkey leg vendor has been replaced by Moschino and Hugo Boss.

Though the transformation of the Meatpacking District is nothing new, Rose's photos are an affecting testimony to the evolution of a New York City neighborhood. His photos show how no-frills meat shops have given way to trendy restaurants and fashion boutiques. (As Vanishing New York points out, the neighborhood was once home to 160 meat purveyors.) Faded, neglected building facades have been rejuvenated. In some cases, entire structures have disappeared entirely. A lot has changed — and yet, as Rose points out, some details remain the same. For example, the neighborhood's industrial roots are still very much present, and the cobblestones remain a signature look.

Visit Rose's website to check out more photos of NYC and beyond.


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