The Real Deal New York

Step back 25 years into a grittier Meatpacking District

Check out images of the bad old days after the jump

May 31, 2015 12:00PM
By Business Insider

Old images of the Meatpacking District

Old images of the Meatpacking District

It’s almost hard to conceive how much New York City has changed over the past 25 years. Derelict industrial zones and abandoned buildings have been transformed into a hub of industry; what was once a wasteland now is a clean, safe, and very expensive city. Photographer Grégoire Alessandrini remembers the old days, though, before all that gentrification. He recently began posting images he shot of Manhattan during the early and mid-nineties on his blog, and they create a fantastic window into another time.

We put together a slideshow of old photos of Chelsea and the Meatpacking District, two neighborhoods that have seen extensive growth and change over the years. You can see many more images of New York on Alessandrini’s blog, where you can also buy prints of his work.

Since the 1900s, the Meatpacking District was used for just that…packing meat and shipping it off to retailers.


However, by the time Alessandrini got there, times had gotten rough.


Starting in the late 1970s, supermarkets began changing ways in which they dealt with suppliers of produce and meat, creating a downturn in the industry in places like the Meatpacking District.


Graffiti was everywhere, including these early pieces by the now-famous artist Shepard Fairey.


Starting in the late 1990s, however, the area began to see a change as high-end retailers and hip stores moved in and transformed the neighborhood. Held up as a prime example of gentrification, the neighborhood went from dangerous to blue-collar to “the most fashionable neighborhood in New York,” according to New York Magazine.


Today, the Meatpacking District is completely different than it was less than 25 years ago. Only 35 of the once 250 slaughterhouses and packing plants still exist.