New York City is ever changing. Years ago the Meat Packing Area (MEPA) was a location filled with transvestites and butchers. Little did anyone know, or at least it wasn't publically written about, a man named William Gottlieb slowly bought up many of the buildings in the meat packing area. He had a vision. The vision started with Pastis. Then he died.
What has happened since then has been a mixed bag. The area has changed dramatically as there are maybe one or two butchers left but the community board has not done a great job (IMHO) of not letting the area become a shop of chain stores. Perhaps the owners of many of the buildings are happy to get the most they can for the rent and those type of chains are the only ones that can afford those rents. Even the restaurants are all mediocre. It is beginning to remind me of Columbus Avenue in the 80's. What happened there is eventually the store fronts ended up going empty because there was nothing unique about the area anymore and the big stores could care less about pulling out and leaving the leases.
Certainly there are a few special stores that you can't find anywhere else in MEPA but I just saw a huge sign that Patagonia is opening on 14th Street. Regardless, currently next to the Standard there is an open air marketplace with attached kiosks of food and retail. They did a great job. It isn't claustrophobic. There is open spaces to sit and walk. They did a nice job.
Supposedly there will eventually become a two story farmers market on Gansevoort. Fingers crossed. Happy to see something good happening in the area...