Neighborhoods

 

Chelsea

Chelsea Over the course of its history, the neighborhood of Chelsea has definitely had its fair share of ups and downs. Currently, however, the area is seeing a revitalization unlike any other in its history. Clement Clarke Moore, a clergyman and poet, is considered the founding father of the district. Realizing that downtown Manhattan was poised to launch itself uptown, Moore began to sell off his land in lots. The guidelines he set for building residences on the lots are still in force in much of the district. For an encore, Moore later composed the well-known poem 'A Visit from St. Nicholas.' As the area grew, passenger liners began using the piers on the Hudson as passenger terminals. When the liners began making their home further uptown, the piers were taken over by freight companies. Warehouses and slaughterhouses sprung up nearby, and working-class people moved to the area to be near their jobs. When the piers ultimately fell into disuse, so did the region around it. Perhaps it is fitting that one of the reasons for Chelsea's current upswing is once again the piers. The Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex recently opened on the newly renovated waterfront that spans the area between 17th and 23rd Streets. Located within the complex are basketball courts, a golf driving range, and a microbrewery. Because of its variety of amenities, the spot has become popular with residents of many nearby neighborhoods. A Different Light, is located on 19th Street near Sixth Avenue. Sixth Avenue itself plays a very large part in today's Chelsea. Walk uptown from 14th Street and you'll find another sign of this section's upswing. Many of the large buildings that were unoccupied for years have been utilized as large retail spaces. Everything from bookstores to clothing store to home accessories shops have opened up within a ten block stretch. If you want to find real bargains, keep heading north until you reach the parking lots on 26th Street. Every weekend, the city's largest antiques market takes over this space, much to the pleasure of local residents. Need to find that special lamp for your living room? Most likely you'll find it here-at a great price. Also located in Chelsea's upper reaches is the center of the Flower District. Most of the city uses these stores around 28th Street to fill their horticulture needs, but you needn't worry about having to find them in the phone book. Simply take a stroll past any day of the week, and you'll find anything from Chrysanthemums to Cacti displayed right on the sidewalk. The most famous landmark in all of Chelsea, however, has to be the Chelsea Hotel. This unassuming redbrick building has been a haven to artists almost since it opened in 1884. Its long list of distinguished guests includes Mark Twain, Arthur Miller, Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd. And yes, you can still reserve a room here. With all the recent activity that's been centered on the area, it's pretty clear that a new chapter in Chelsea's history is being written. Now more so than in the past 50 years, this is a neighborhood on the move.