In the past five years or so, something remarkable has happened to the world of butchering: The bone saws came back out, the hatchets were sharpened, and indie meat maestros began setting up shop all across the country. Those on the front lines are holding doggedly to an old-fashioned model of butchering while bringing some new-school swagger to the once venerable profession.

While the uniforms may have changed (skinny ties and cleaver tattoos weren’t part of the game back in the day), the goal remains the same: to break down the freshest, most naturally-raised animals available. NYC’s new-generation butchers—including Tom Mylan of The Meat Hook and Jessica and Joshua Applestone of Fleisher’s—are inflecting shops and cuts with their own inspired signature styles, as well as a passionate commitment to ideals culled from the locavore movement.

But let’s not make the mistake of thinking these next-generation meat maestros would be here if it weren’t for NYC’s old-school butcher shops; legendary spots like Florence Meat Market (home of the Newport steak) have maintained a staunch commitment to quality for decades—even centuries.

Here are our five favorite butcher shops in Manhattan.

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