Scene and Herd

An Afternoon in the Meatpacking District

"I hope they don't paint over that sign," Coco sighs outside the Nyack Meat Co. at 16 Little West 12th, admiring a painting of a cow that looks like a flash card. Around the corner at 9 Ninth Avenue, virtually inside the Olympia Garage, is a tiny shop that Coco refers to as the bead store, though it's actually called Boucher Jewelry. Hanging drop earrings in turquoise and coral—this summer's big stones—are only $60, though prices ascend steeply from there.

"See that ivy?" Coco says suddenly, as we hit the street in search of still more shops. "There's a garden back there." Indeed, a door on Gansevoort Street is open and reveals a secret enclave, where, believe it or not, a flock of baby chickens is hanging out. Coco is nearly beside herself that this remnant of the neighborhood's eccentricity still exists. There's a spring in her step as we walk along Washington Street, where two gallery-like shops, Auto and Move Lab, share a backyard and the casual custodianship of two dogs, both named Lucy. At Auto there are $65 Pyrex rings and $15 Cosabella thongs and a $55 pink leather wrist cuff, the same color as McQueen's ballet dress; Move Lab offers $98 blue suede pillows and a weird seven-legged human-insect doll for $320. Coco isn't tempted by any of the merch; she's busy playing with the Lucys.

Three little pigs window-shopping at Destination on Little West 12th Street
photo: Sylvia Plachy
Three little pigs window-shopping at Destination on Little West 12th Street

Back outside, she points out the High Line, an abandoned elevated freight line that is the subject of a fierce fight between builders and preservationists. "You know, I walked the High Line!" she says, looking with affection at the corroded iron trestle bisecting the sunset over the Hudson. "I snuck on at 31st Street and walked down here. Oh my God—the view. I was afraid of being mistaken for a terrorist by sharpshooters. So I wore a skirt."

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