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Men in bloodied white coveralls grappled with the carcasses.

By mid morning the hubbub of the city’s meat market subsided and the cobblestone streets took on a look of abandonment, astonishing in the heart of such a great metropolis.

As evening approached another kind of meat market took over–this one human trade–as prostitutes prowled the empty streets, many of them transvestites, overly tall females tottering about on high heels, while men in black leather sought the anonymous doors of sex clubs.

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For years it was a late night destination for the downtown social set, gay and straight alike.

It was hard to find, and took a certain fortitude to navigate the urban hell/paradise surrounding it.

It was not expensive, but for me, blowing all my money on 4×5 film, on a whole other plane of existence.

Washington Street — © Brian Rose It was the winter of 1985, and I was casting about for something new to photograph.

I had completed projects on the Lower East Side and Central Park, and later that summer I would begin shooting the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall, a project that would continue to occupy me up to the present.

For reasons I cannot recall, I walked over to the west side with my camera and spent several days photographing the meatpacking district.

I began from the West Village, the scene above relatively unchanged today.

The yellow and black sign warning illegal parkers that the air will be let out of their tires remains attached to the wall of the building almost 28 years later.

In 1985, David Dinkins was running for Borough President–he would later become mayor.

Washington and Gansevoort Street — © Brian Rose In the morning the meat packing district was a vast open air scene of carnage.

Sides of beef were hung from hooks that slid along overhead conveyors.