Hudson Street

Rhapsody In Red: New York's Meatpacking District

Morning comes fast and filthy in the meatpacking district.

“No one beats our meat,” leers the cheeky hand-lettered tagline on a local butchery truck.

It's parked on the reeking edge of 1980s New York civilization, waiting for the goods under cover of predawn murk.

A lightening sky reveals new atrocities, like the cobble stoned gutters of Gansevoort Street where chicken feathers float gracefully on chartreuse anti-freeze.

At the corner of Little West Twelfth, a chunky, sueded ham-bone is jostled from an overloaded Dumpster!

Whispers and grunts.

Local loft residents commuting to art school, publishing work, the fashion biz avert eyes as transvestite prostitutes and teenage runaways service seedy clientele between refrigerated 6-wheelers.

From vans emblazoned with waving Porky Pig counterfeits, gutted hogs bled grey swing in suspended unison on rails toward the cinderblock Pork-and-Pack plant. That’s all for these folks.

Late morning, leather-clad bikers stumble out of Jay’s BDSM bar at Hudson and 14th, blinded, sated, heading home.


The end of workday whistle blows and meat packers emerge, steel-stomached servants of a carnivorous society, from chilled caverns through dense polyvinyl climate-control curtains.

Brutal job well-done, in blood-stained lab coats and heavy rubber boots they stroll down the sunny avenue, pockets full of fifths.

+++ This appeared in Versal, an international literary magazine published in Amsterdam