This once-seedy area, where gay bondage clubs and drug dealing dens rubbed shoulders with slaughterhouses and meatpackaging plants, has been fully transformed into a high-end fashionista’s paradise. Designer boutiques line the streets, and at night the stylish hop in and out of cabs, expensive high heels clicking on cobblestones.
The main draw is the new Standard Hotel (848 Washington St, tel: 212-645-4646), straddled over the southern end of the popular High Line park. If you can’t get into the Standard Grill restaurant, throw back a pint or play ping-pong in the ground-floor Biergarten, or sip a cocktail in the quiet lobby bar looking out over the street. Eighteen floors up is the (pricey) penthouse Boom Boom Bar, with panoramic views of the city and the Hudson River.
Still going strong after more than a decade is Keith McNally’s atmospheric Pastis (9 Ninth Ave, tel: 212 929-4844). Modeled after a French bistro circa 1958, it is full most nights. An equally successful themed restaurant is Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Spice Market (430 W. 13th St, tel: 212-675-2322), with its mouthwatering dishes inspired by Asian street food.
A more intimate atmosphere is a block away at Monte’s (97 Macdougal St, tel: 212-228-9194), a rustic Italian restaurant with outdoor tables in warm weather, or a fun place for an outdoor drink is the terrace of Batali (363 W. 16th St, tel: 212-243-8400), in the still-trendy Maritime Hotel (363 West 16th St, tel: 212-242-4300).