Yeah, yeah, yeah… this is delayed but it’s HERE!
Week Three: Chelsea, Manhattan
Where is that exactly?
On the West Side of Manhattan, Chelsea is just below Hell’s Kitchen and the Garment District, and just above Greenwich Village and the Meatpacking District. The neighborhood stretches from the Hudson River across to Sixth Avenue. Both the A-C-E and 1-2-3 subway lines run through Chelsea, but I decided to stretch out my walk and get off the 7 train at 5th Avenue/Bryant Park (nearest cross-street 42nd).
Chelsea was named for the the Moore family’s Federal-style house of the same name, which took its name from the manor of Chelsea, near London. “Chelsea” occupied a full block between Ninth and Tenth Avenues south of 23rd Street, but was later replaced by high quality row houses in the mid-19th century. By 1900, the neighborhood was primarily Irish, and was home to the many workers of the Piers. The borders of Chelsea had also expanded from Eighth Avenue all the way to Sixth Avenue. Before World War I, Chelsea was an early center for the motion picture industry. Today, the neighborhood is mostly residential, with a good mix of tenements, apartments, and rehabilitated warehousing. A large gay population thrives here, as well as an increasing number of art galleries, excellent nightlife, and diverse restaurants.
And what did you do?
Well, as I mentioned, I started my walk from Bryant Park near Times Square, and headed down Sixth Avenue (the Eastern-most border of Chelsea). Along this stretch, one can find multitudes of craft stores and whole-sale priced bags and shoes. I happened to come across a row of Bead shops, where I spotted this amazing seating area outside “for husbands.” (You might have to click on the picture to get a better view.) I then cut in West on 37th to walk by the infamous fabric store “Mood” – if you watch Project Runway, you know exactly what I’m talking about. This area of NYC was particularly inspiring for me, as I have lately been thinking that I’d like to start some sewing projects. It has been sew long. [Insert obligatory laugh to Ashley’s pun here.] I was a little intimidated to actually step inside Mood, so I resolved to instead stand from across the street and stare. Maybe I can work up the courage for next time… Next, I headed down 7th Avenue, or the aptly-named “Fashion Avenue” and continued to gawk at the beautiful fabrics in shop windows – though it should not be withheld that there were MANY horrendous-looking displays down Fashion Avenue. Satisfied with my findings in this part of the neighborhood, I headed further West and then down 10th Avenue to end up in the Gallery District of Chelsea. Walking West on 24th Street, I popped into a number of exquisite galleries – my favorite of which was the Yigal Ozeri collection at the Mike Weiss Gallery. Filling full of culture, I realized that my belly was devoid of food, so I continued down 10th and over to the teens. I was surrounded by some beautiful architecture here, and even came across a church which offers its services in German! I must add here that… I want to live in Chelsea sooooooo bad. Sew bad. It’s the neighborhood that houses the UCB Theater, it’s just below the Theater District of Times Square, walking distance to great art/culture/dining/nightlife. What more could you ask for? Anyhow… around the corner, I found myself at Room Service at 18th Street and 8th Avenue. This Thai restaurant is a self-proclaimed “Bangkok Contemporary Kitchen” and boasts an extensive menu plus a lavish and creative dining-room concept. The idea is that you should feel like you are in a fancy hotel dining by, you guessed it- Room Service. I ordered the $6 lunch special, which included Pad Thai and a green salad with peanut dressing – a great deal for some fantastic service! $6.00 + $1.50 = $7.50 spent. Chelsea Market, on 9th Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets. This “industrial-chic hotspot” resides in the historic Nabisco factory, which now houses gourmet restaurants and stores, bakeries, coffee shops, and live music. I immediately walked into Eleni’s a bakery studded with multi-colored cup cakes. I decided upon a chocolate cupcake with butter-cream frosting and shredded coconut. The perfect dessert! $2.00 spent. >As I strolled around enjoying my cupcake, I notice the Chelsea Wine Vault and decided to check it out. I sampled some gin and some Argentinean wines and decided on a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc as a birthday gift for Natalie. (Not a part of my $10 budget!) Well, my day seemed to be winding down, and I knew that I needed to get home to get ready for Natalie’s birthday evening. With 50 cents left to spare, I headed into Chelsea Market Baskets, and blew the rest of my budget on some candies! $0.50 spent. A day well “spent!”