Washington Street Contrast

The nostalgia that many people hold for the old, crime-ridden, “gritty”  New York, is, well, STUPID.  We are so much better off now that the city is safer and cleaner than it was before Giuliani’s mayoral terms.

Still, what has happened to the meatpacking district is just weird.  I haven’t been down there in at least a decade, and recently visited a couple of times: first, passing through to visit the High Line, and again to photograph the area around the High Line, which starts in the meatpacking district and runs up into Chelsea.  Basically the district has been almost completely overtaken by very high end boutiques and restaurants.  I can understand why – the area is visually arresting and any fashion designer or other higher end retail shop would love to have such a setting.  But the intersection sometimes does not work.  I actually avoided shooting those scenes – the ones where an old structure like the one in the left of this picture is left unaltered, with a decaying overhead, but has a glossy interior.  The interplay fails.

This street works much better.  The Standard Grill is an upscale eatery affiliated with the Standard Hotel that rises above it and also over the High Line.  I don’t know whether the building in which the restaurant sits is a repurposed old structure or a new building designed to fit within its surroundings, but either way it works.  It’s clean and not crumbling, but otherwise fits within its context.  It contrasts its surroundings, but in a complementary fashion.

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