The Meatpacking District is a small industrial area between the West Village and Chelsea. The area takes its name from the many meat factories that used to be located there. By 1900 it was home to 250 slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants. Today only about 35 of them remain, as most have been squeezed out by high rents. By the 1980s the Meatpacking District became the choice haunt for prostitutes, many of them transsexuals. Simultaneously with the rise in illicit sexual activity, the neighborhood also attracted the gay bondage and S&M subculture.
Today, graphic designers, fashion designers, architects, artists and photographers have created a destination for design, fashion and luxury boutiques. Restaurants, bars and clubs now dramatically outnumber meatpacking plants, and on the weekends, the neighborhood is overrun with crowds eager to party.