Chelsea Travel Guide
Chelsea is a historic district that evolved from a commercial hub into a hot spot for nightlife, recreation and entertainment. This hip district has experienced significant gentrification and redevelopment since the 1980’s. Some of the neighborhood’s notable attractions include the Rubin Museum of Art and a massive sports complex along several piers on the Hudson River.
Attractions and Points of Interest
Chelsea boasts more than a dozen waterfront blocks along the Hudson River. The Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex is one of New York City’s premier indoor recreational venues. Built in 1995 for more than 120 million dollars, this multi-purpose complex attracts huge crowds seeking fun activities.
Some notable facilities at the Chelsea Piers include the Golf Club, Sky Rink, Field House and PIER SIXTY. Indoor swimming pools and state-of-the-art exercise equipment are installed in the Chelsea Piers Fitness Center. Additionally, the Chelsea Waterside Park near Pier 63 offers great opportunities for outdoor play.
Another notable installation in Chelsea is the High Line, which consists of historic rail tracks that were converted into a public space. Running for more than one mile, the High Line includes beautiful gardens and sculptures that add aesthetic appeal to the dense neighborhood. The elevated rail tracks also offer some great views of the Hudson River and the skyline of Jersey City and Hoboken.
Perhaps the most impressive cultural attraction in Chelsea is the Rubin Museum of Art. This museum has an extensive collection of art from the Himalayan region. Established by a husband and wife with a passion for Oriental culture, this organization possesses ancient artefacts relating to Buddhism and other religions and spiritual beliefs of Tibet and the neighbouring areas. The Rubin Museum of Art is housed in an elegant property that once served as the flagship location of a department store.
Some of New York City’s top attractions are situated right on the border with Chelsea. For example, the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center marks the boundary between this district and Hell’s Kitchen. The Whitney Museum of American Art also sits near the southern end of Chelsea.
Chelsea Manhattan Tour
New York’s Chelsea area has had a facelift. Off the tourist route for a long time, it is now definitely a place to be explored. It’s not that long ago that Chelsea was one of Manhattan’s more rough-and-tumble neighborhoods but in recent times it has slowly been rejuvenated. This is largely due to the city’s gay community seeking an alternative to the high rents in Greenwich Village. Art galleries have flourished and the restaurant scene has expanded.
West Chelsea has the greatest galleries in the world and is the heart of the club scene. But, also have The Ohm, which is a new luxury rental development at 312 Eleventh Avenue in West Chelsea; Chelsea Park at 260 West 26th Street, a new rental apartment building, with a club that features one of downtown’s largest green landscaped and fully furnished roof deck areas with panoramic views of New York City. In addition, The Capitol at Chelsea, which is at 55 West 26th Street, is another rental apartment building that offers a full-service concierge, fitness center, spectacular sundeck, and laundry room, and is pet-friendly.
The Empire Diner
If you want to see what an all-American diner looked like in the good old days, wander over to 210 10th Avenue. The Empire Diner is not just any old diner, but a gleaming black and white Art Deco train car built in 1946, You don’t come here for haute cuisine but it’s probably the most beautiful all-American diner you will ever step foot in.
Chelsea Historic District
A quiet residential area of leafy streets running from 9th to about 10th Ave between 20th and 21st street. There are some lovely houses built in the Greek Revival style and also many examples of New York’s famous terraces of brownstones. Many of these houses were built in the 19th century and are decorated with wrought iron window grilles and staircases. There are guided walks around the area.
St. Peter’s Church
The General Theological Seminary, the oldest Seminary of the Episcopal Church, was founded in 1817 and has been a New York City landmark since 1826. A cool rest in a beautiful garden. A great place to relax and breathe in some fresh air.
St. Peter’s Church at 346 West 20th Street also provides a leafy resting place. If you are there on certain Sunday afternoons at 4 pm there is a varied and dynamic music series called Music in Chelsea, featuring classical chamber music, jazz, and folk.
222 W. 23rd St., between 7th and 8th Avenues
This famous hotel has boasted the likes of Janis Joplin, William S. Burroughs, Dylan Thomas, Jimi Hendrix, O. Henry, and Joni Mitchell (who wrote her song “Chelsea Morning” here) as guests. The hotel has always been a haven for the artsy, folksy, creative types, and many people stay here just to experience a bit of the hotel’s colorful history.
The Birth of Chelsea
The Chelsea area was named by a British Army Captain, Thomas Clarke, who, after the French and Indian Wars ended in 1763, purchased a piece of land on the west side of Manhattan and named it Chelsea after London’s Royal Chelsea Hospital for Soldiers. By the 1850s the land was divided into lots and developed.
Here was born New York’s first cooperative apartment complex – the tallest building in the city until 1902 when more affluent people began to move into the area. Eventually, in 1905, the residential nature of the building folded and it was turned into a hotel – which eventually became the Chelsea Hotel – the haunt of famous writers and musicians.
The Chelsea Hotel
The hotel accommodated world-famous writers like Eugene O’Neil, Thomas Wolfe, and Arthur C. Clarke who wrote ‘2001: A Space Odyssey. While in residence, Dylan Thomas died of alcohol poisoning in 1953. Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols stabbed his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, to death on October 12, 1978. Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and the Grateful Dead all found their way to Chelsea in the 1960s. On a more constructive level, Thomas Wolfe assembled ‘You Can’t Go Home Again from the thousands of pages of manuscript stacked in his room
Leonard Cohen wrote his song ‘Chelsea Hotel’ in the bar for Janis Joplin. It’s not the kindest of compliments. The last verse goes:
don’t mean to suggest that I loved you the best,
I can’t keep track of each fallen robin.
I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
that’s all, I don’t even think of you that often.
Maybe the Chelsea Hotel brought out the worst in people?
In Chelsea, what do rich people and celebrities do?
Well, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban enjoy the luxury of a “sky garage” that whisks residents’ cars right up to their front door. In Chelsea, people like nightlife and entertainment at Amnesia, which is a 7,000-square-foot Vegas-like club featuring celebrity DJs, fire performers, and aerialists. But, as a resident, you can enjoy the nightlife at the bars and clubs the scene is cool and hip, the energy is palpable and the pulse is rapid, right outside of your front door.
Living in Chelsea
New York City rental markets continue to command high rents. The average rent in Chelsea is $4,468.00 per month, which is a year-over-year percentage change, increased by 5.1, in accordance with Citi Habitats data from November 2012. Moreover, in accordance with the Douglas Elliman market report, the median rental price of a Manhattan apartment in April 2013 was $3,195 per month, up 6.5 percent. Chelsea is a great place to live in a luxury rental apartment. In accordance with Citi Habitats, the median rent of a Manhattan luxury unit is $8,400.00 per month.
Location and Transit
The northeastern corner of Chelsea is roughly identified by Madison Square Garden. This indoor arena stands above an underground rail hub that’s known as Penn Station New York. NJ Transit, Amtrak and New York City subway trains serve this massive transportation centre.
Served by the 7 line, the 34th Street-Hudson Yards Subway Station is another important transit hub in the neighborhood. Subway and PATH services are also available at various underground stops on 23rd Street, which is one of the district’s main commercial roads. The southern part of Chelsea is home to several other subway stops, including the 14th Street/8th Avenue station.
Running along the western flank of Manhattan, 11th Avenue offers convenient access to any point in Chelsea. This busy highway facilitates car travel between the George Washington Bridge and Lower Manhattan.