Located on the West Side of Manhattan, Chelsea is nestled between Sixth Avenue and the Hudson River and spans from 14th St to the upper 20's.
Manhattan’s Art district
While Chelsea is now considered a bougie, hip area of NYC similar to SoHo and the West Village, it wasn't always. One of the oldest neighborhoods in New York City to keep its original name, it was actually considered quite a dangerous area in the early 1900’s.
Now it’s known for its tourist attractions (The Highline, Chelsea Market, and the Piers) and one of the great centers of the art world. With over 200 galleries, it’s home to the Rubin Museum of Art, the Museum at FIT, Chelsea Art Museum, Agora Gallery, as well as performing arts centers such as the Joyce Theater.
If you’re looking for some quick food, Chelsea Market is the place to be. Check out Miznon, a fast-casual Israeli street food restaurant by Chef Eyal Shani, or Bar Suzette, a Crêperie serving sweet & savory crepes made fresh to order (Gluten Free and vegan available). Bar Suzette also sells French macarons, hot chocolates, beer, and wine. For dessert, stop by SEED + MILL, a sesame concept store making fresh artisanal halva in over 30 flavors, tahini, tahini soft-serve, and a range of sesame spices.
Chelsea has some great restaurants, including Peter McManus Cafe, one of the oldest family-owned-and-operated bars in the city, and The Empire Diner, a classic art deco restaurant designed by Fodero Dining Car Company. Keep an eye out next time you’re watching a movie set in NYC, it’s a favorite landmark for directors!
For more high-end dining, Chelsea offers some great sushi and Asian food at Buddakan NYC USHIWAKAMARU NEW YORK, Sushi Seki. Check out L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon for some modern French food or if you’re in the mood for a good steak, Smith & Wollensky has a great Weekend Wine Dinner.
Located between 9th and 11th avenue and between 15th and 16th streets, Chelsea Market takes up a full two blocks and includes 24 shops and restaurants on the ground level and hosts and hosts an artist's market. Keep an eye out if you wander around the lower level. Chelsea Market is located in a former National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) factory and you can still see some of their branding on the walls. Construction began in the late 1890’s and the buildings were home to Nabisco until they began to move operations to New Jersey in 1958.
In 2018, Alphabet Inc (parent company of Google) bought the building for more than $2.4 billion, making it one of the most expensive real estate transactions in NYC for a single building.
The High Line is the other big attraction of Chelsea. Built in the 1840s, it was originally the West Side Railroad. Originally meant to provide easy transportation between Hudson Valley and the factories and warehouses in Chelsea and the Meatpacking district, it fell into disuse and disrepair in the late 1900s (the last train to bring a shipment into Chelsea was carrying three carloads of frozen turkeys in 1980). In the early 2000’s plans to turn the now overgrown tracks into a public park were made, and the High Line was officially opened in 2009.
If you continue walking West towards the water, you’ll run into the Chelsea Piers. Designed by Warren and Wetmore in 1910 (who also designed Grand Central Terminal around the same time). At the time, NYC needed to build more and larger docks as shipping (and ship size) increased but regulations prevented them from building north of 23rd St and further into the river. The solution? Build inland.
While the Piers currently houses the Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex, it has quite a history, notably as the original destination of the RMS Titanic in 1912. Several years later in 1915, the RMS Lusitania departed from the piers, headed towards Liverpool only to be sunk off the southern coast of Ireland by a German U-Boat. The subsequent deaths of 128 American passengers fueled public support for America’s entry into the first World War.