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Theory’s Andrew Rosen Is On A Mission

The fashion mogul discusses his plans to help improve New York City’s ever-changing neighborhood: the Meatpacking District

Andrew Rosen knows a thing or two about the Meatpacking District. In 2006, the Theory CEO opened the brand’s flagship store – as well as its corporate headquarters  – on Gansevoort Street, in the heart of the cobblestone-street neighborhood. Since then, he’s seen the area blossom into a retail mecca and become the home to attractions like The Standard Hotel, the High Line and the new Whitney Museum. To celebrate the district and raise money for the nonprofit Meatpacking District Improvement Association (MPIA), Rosen and his pal Diane von Furstenberg are hosting a “mini-Meatpacking District” Open Market gala.  
The “mini-Meatpacking District” event, which will take place at the High Line Stages, includes a Standard Hotel beer garden, sample sale booths from brands including Helmut Lang and Tory Burch and 16 restaurants, including Buddakan and Pastis, all under one roof. Proceeds from the event will be used to maintain the Meatpacking District’s seven public plazas and fund future programs to be determined in cooperation with residents.
In anticipation of the event, Rosen spoke with DuJour about what the neighborhood means to him and the hot spots he frequents
How long have you been involved with the MPIA, and in what capacity? How have you seen the district transform and improve?
I’ve been on the Board of Directors of the MPIA since the initiative first launched in 2010. I believe the work the MPIA carries out is crucial. We are custodians of the neighborhood, charged with preserving its integrity and heritage as well as evolving it responsibly. The district is really in the beginning stages of transformation – we still have a long way to go.
What do you love about working and spending time in the Meatpacking District?
There is a sense of community here; the shorter buildings and cobblestone roads almost feel like a campus. In a way, the charm of the neighborhood is rooted in its architecture, and I find it very appropriate that these industrial buildings are experiencing a rebirth as new homes for modern fashion labels – Theory, Helmut Lang, Rag & Bone, Theyskens’ Theory, DVF and others.         
What are your favorite neighborhood haunts?
My go-tos are Macelleria, Pastis and Catch. I always stop in at Jeffrey to see what’s new. And, of course, one can always find me with my team in the Theory store.
What do you love about the High Line?
It feels like a country setting in an urban environment; the juxtaposition provides a unique energy.
What new, cultural institutions are you excited for in the neighborhood?
I’m watching the Whitney be constructed from my office window as we speak!
What sort of visitors/customers does the district attract?
The Meatpacking District has become a cultural and retail destination for New Yorkers as well as tourists from all over the world. It’s a young, vibrant crowd. The district is eclectic; that’s part of its appeal.    
How do you think the Meatpacking District can be improved upon and beautified?
We as a community want to ensure that we are proactive regarding future change, while being mindful of the area’s charm and history. At the MPIA, the board hopes to be a conduit for any beautification along with other maintenance and security needs. We might work towards fixing the cobbles, or lining 14th Street with trees, for example. Nothing has been decided at this time but whatever it is, we will work together to ensure it’s a decision made with much input and in the best interest of the area.