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16 The Meat Packing District

The Meat Packing District

The Meat Packing District
We're in the middle of the Meatpacking District here, which runs from Gansevoort, just down there, up to 14th Street and then right out to the Hudson River. But originally, it was a Native American trading area here. Then it became a Dutch tobacco plantation and then farmland for the British. Back in those days, the Hudson River was much closer. It ran all the way up to Washington Street just a block away here. And then, in the 19th century, they extended the shoreline out into the Hudson. The railroad came in. By the early 1900s, they created an underground cooling system here. That enabled them to create a variety of factories dealing with meat like slaughterhouses and packing plants - hence the name, Meatpacking District. In the 1960s and 1970s, the meatpacking businesses pretty much died out, mainly because of container shipping, supermarkets, and refrigerated trucks. And into this then, sort of uninhabited industrial area came the BDSM community, and they opened up several clubs here. Right behind me in that building there at 835 Washington used to be the Mineshaft, and you could go in there and explore a maze of rooms of various apparatus and dungeons. And then over on Hudson, you’ve had a few other famous ones like the wonderfully named, Manhole. Then there was also the Vault, where celebrities and regular people alike would go, get naked, and give each other a good spanking. Unfortunately, with the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, and gentrification, of course, the BDSM community went the same way as the Meatpacking District and where you could get a good spanking back in the day. Today, you can get a chocolate brownie instead.
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