Villager photo by Toni Dalton
A Meat Market worker peruses the window of one of the district’s swank new fashion boutiques.
As rents climb, boutiques are bumping out bistros
By Joy Wiltermuth
Take a handful of restaurants, bars and two lounges, and sprinkle in a nightclub. Add luxury boutiques, an art gallery and jewelry designer, and you have the latest businesses adding to the mix in the Meatpacking District.
There is even talk of a Barneys. All this and more has taken shape over the past year as newcomers continue to transform this once-gritty commercial district.
“It is a retail boom,” said Annie Washburn, executive director of the Meatpacking District Initiative. “That is kind of the direction it is going right now.”
If retail is the direction, then the blazing-white insignia of the district’s new Apple Store is certainly a sign of the times.
Yohji Yamamoto, the Japanese clothing designer, opened two storefronts in the Meatpacking District this year. His high-end boutique sits at 1 Gansevoort St., while Y3, the upscale Adidas shoe collection of his design, can be found down the street.
Designer Adam Lippes struck out on his own three years ago, launching a basics luxury line. Earlier this year, the former creative director of Oscar de la Renta, opened ADAM, his flagship store and expanded collection, at 678 Hudson St.
With Hugo Boss, Moschino and Ports 1961 stores in the works for the Meat Market, more fashion boutiques will arrive within the year.
At 829 Washington St., painter-turned-jeweler James Colarusso has opened a store showcasing his creations. Steps away, the Leo Kesting Gallery also moved in, an expansion from its Williamsburg, Brooklyn, space.
“Whereas, two years ago, it was kind of mega-restaurants and lounges, now the price per square foot prohibits restaurants from coming in,” Washburn said of the Meatpacking District’s appeal to retailers.
Nevertheless, some restaurants are still continuing to migrate to the Meat Market. Scarpetta, at 355 W. 14th St., has been cooking up dishes of rustic Italian fare since this May; its intimate, 28-seat restaurant also features elegant outdoor-cafe seating. Another new, Italian eatery, Zampa Winebar + Kitchen, is just a few steps away at 306 W. 13th St.
Over on Ganesvoort St., Merkato 55 is serving African-style food with flair. Opened in January, it is the latest offering of the Swedish native and Ethiopian-born Marcus Samuelsson, the chef behind the popular Aquavit on the East Side. Shortly after Merkato 55 launched, the trendy Bijoux Lounge set up shop in the space just below it.
Meanwhile, young lovelies can be found reveling the night away at Kiss & Fly, the new club at 409 W. 13th.
“New businesses always change the character of a neighborhood,” Washburn said. “The Meatpacking District is one of the last commercial neighborhoods in the city.”