Every weekend night, the cobblestone streets of the Meatpacking District are transformed into a microcosm of sexual politics. The rules that govern the city during the day are suspended; the act of looking, concealed in the daytime, is brazenly celebrated. Women, navigating the jagged streets in high heels, are confident of their presentation but unsteady in their step. A barrage of compliments and whistles accompanies them as they make their way through the space.
This formerly gritty, working-class neighborhood once known for its dynamic gay nightlife and transgender sex workers, has more recently transformed into an ostentatious, high-gloss carnival for the young, single and heterosexual. The spectacle of the Meatpacking district uncannily echoes an imbalance of single women to men in New York City, with the former dramatically outnumbering the later. Emboldened by choice, the men are animated and vocal while the women are eager to put themselves on display. As the night progresses, outdoor courtship and social interactions become looser, fueled by alcohol and expectations.
While the Meatpacking District’s seedy history of fetish houses and leather bars may have been erased by fashionable nightclubs, the area remains a sexual playground, offering a fascinating glimpse of contemporary romance.