Chelsea - Not For Tourists Guide to New York City - Not For Tourists

Not For Tourists Guide to New York City - Not For Tourists (2016)

Map 8. Chelsea



Neighborhood Overview


Map 8

Located due south of Midtown’s gazillion office buildings and due north of the West Village and the Financial District, Chelsea is a magnet for the young, the beautiful, and the wealthy. A polished mix of quaint, restored townhouses and sparkling new condos in the sky combine to create a unique and appealing neighborhood that deftly bridges the transition from downtown to Midtown. With the opening of the long-awaited High Line in 2009, luxury marched west towards the river, with multiple shiny new buildings clustered around the new ribbon of green that cuts through the heart of the neighborhood.

While the neighborhood is diverse and welcoming to all, it would be dishonest to pretend that it isn’t best known as the epicenter of all things gay. A substantial, muscle-bound gay population spawned the term “Chelsea boy,” used either derisively or admiringly depending on one’s taste. Several of the city’s best gay bars, book stores, and social service organizations are located within the borders of this neighborhood. And while the gyms aren’t exclusively gay, they know who their best and most loyal customers are.

But even if you’re not a gay male, the charms of Chelsea are many and unmistakable: a thriving, inclusive nightlife with something for everyone, great dining for almost any budget, and great shopping for…middle budgets and upwards (though the odd deal can certainly be found tucked into a side street or a more modest storefront on one of the avenues). On top of that, there are ample opportunities for recreation here—aside from the aforementioned High Line, there’s the Hudson River Park (which, unsurprisingly, is alongside the body of water bearing the same name), massive sports complex Chelsea Piers, brilliant Chelsea Market, with its wonderfully diverse food vendors, and the safety-first, divided bike lanes on 8th and 9th Avenues.

The architecture of the neighborhood is some of New York’s most noteworthy. Frank Gehry’s translucent, iceberg/schooner hybrid InterActiveCorp Building is regrettably too short to be seen from vantage points that aren’t near its location at the intersection of 18th Street and the West Side Highway. But it’s a leading candidate for coolest building in Chelsea and one of the loveliest, most unique buildings erected in Manhattan in recent years. A few blocks away lies the gorgeous, Neo-Gothic campus of the General Theological Seminary, the oldest Episcopal theological school. Just north of there, the historic London Terrace luxury apartment complex fills an entire city block. Up a few blocks more, the Starrett-Lehigh Building is an art deco freight warehouse and factory that now houses several high-profile media and fashion companies.

Farther uptown, on 8th Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets, the James A. Farley Post Office stands in proud, marble magnificence across the street from the grotesquely ugly Madison Square Garden (the unworthy replacement for the demolished Penn Station). A couple blocks west of there is the Javits Center, the biggest exhibition hall in the city and another architectural lowlight. As a New Yorker, the best reason you’ll ever have for going there is a jobs fair or an industry expo—the latter being preferable because there’s likely to be free food or booze.

Instead of heading up into the 30s, take a walk through west Chelsea in the 20s and you’ll find yourself in one of the great visual art districts of the world. Over 300 galleries show the newest work of the best artists working today. Despite the occasional dud, you have a better-than-even chance of encountering exhilarating, high-quality work. Now and then, you might even find something you can afford to buy!

Add in some of the best people-watching in the city, and you’ll know why so many other New Yorkers choose to pay a small fortune every month to live in a shoebox here.

The Half King is perfectly positioned for a drink apres-gallery. The Kitchen’s list of performances over the years is legendary, and rock shows still happen at the Hammerstein and Highline Ballrooms. Various gay crowds have their home bars here: Gym (hunks!) and The Eagle (leather-daddies and cubs) are two of the best.



Map 8

image Landmarks

✵ 100 Eleventh Avenue ✵

100 11th Ave [W 19th St]

Jean Nouvel’s West Side condo/window frame depot.

✵ Chelsea Market ✵ 75 9th Ave [W 16th St]


Foodies flock here. So should you.

✵ Chelsea Piers ✵ W 23rd St & Hudson River Park


28-acre waterfront sports mecca.

✵ Frying Pan ✵ 12th Ave & W 26th St


Old ship makes for amazing party digs.

✵ General Theological Seminary ✵

440 W 21st St [9th Ave]


Oldest seminary of the Episcopal Church; nice campus.

✵ IAC Building ✵ 555 W 18th St [West Side Hwy]

Gehry finally comes to NYC. And kicks ass.

✵ Jacob K. Javits Convention Center ✵

655 W 34th St [11th Ave]


Glass-sheathed behemoth hosting various and sundry cons.

✵ James A. Farley Post Office ✵

421 8th Ave [W 31st St]


Another McKim, Mead & White masterpiece. Slated to become Moynihan Station.

✵ The Maritime Hotel ✵ 363 W 16th St [9th Ave]


Ahoy! Porthole office building now uber-cool hotel.

✵ Starrett-Lehigh Building ✵

601 W 26th St [11th Ave]

One of the coolest factories/warehouses ever built.

image Coffee

✵ Billy’s Bakery ✵ 184 9th Ave [W 21st St]


Mindblowingly good cakes to go with your coffee.

✵ Blue Bottle Coffee ✵ 450 W 15th St [10th Ave]

Cult coffee that’s more lab than shop.

✵ Joe The Art of Coffee ✵

405 W 23rd St [9th Ave]


Joe really knows his joe.

✵ Ninth Street Espresso ✵

75 9th Ave [W 15th St]


Gourmet coffee counter inside Chelsea Market.

image Nightlife

✵ Billymark’s West ✵ 332 9th Ave [W 29th St]


Down and dirty dive.

✵ Death Ave Brewing Company ✵

315 10th Ave [28th St]


Good space, beer, cocktails, and Greek-inspired grub.

✵ The Distinguished Wakamba Cocktail Lounge ✵ 543 8th Ave [W 37th St]


Plastic palm trees and provocatively-clad barmaids.

✵ The Eagle ✵ 554 W 28th St [11th Ave]


Get your leather on (or off).

✵ Flight 151 ✵ 151 8th Ave [W 17th St]


Prepare for takeoff on Mondays with $4 Margaritas.

✵ Gallow Green ✵ 542 W 27th St [11th Ave]


Lush rooftop garden, crisp cocktails, and a macabre train car.

✵ Gym Sports Bar ✵ 167 8th Ave [W 19th St]


Where the boys go to watch the game…and each other.

✵ The Half King ✵ 505 W 23rd St [10th Ave]


Always the perfect drinking choice in Chelsea. Amazing brunch.

Try Spice for some tasty Thai. Grand Sichuan is one of our favorite spots for Chinese in all of New York. Across the street, check out Co.’s stellar pizzas. Got a bonus? Indulge at Buddakan, Del Posto, or Morimoto. For diner food, there’s always the Skylight.

✵ Hammerstein Ballroom ✵

311 W 34th St [8th Ave]


Lofty rock venue.

✵ The Heath ✵ 542 W 27th St [11th Ave]


Classy cocktails, live jazz, train cars, 1930s supper club vibe.

✵ Highline Ballroom ✵ 431 W 16th St [10th Ave]


New venue for rock, folk, dance, whatever.

✵ The Kitchen ✵ 512 W 19th St [10th Ave]


The kind of place Jesse Helms would have hated.

✵ The Molly Wee Pub ✵ 402 8th Ave [W 30th St]


You may just need a pint after a trip to Penn Station.

✵ The Park ✵ 118 10th Ave [W 17th St]


Good patio. We’re split on this one.

✵ Tippler ✵ 425 W 15th St [10th Ave]


Perfectly mixed cocktails in a dark room under Chelsea Market.

✵ Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre ✵

307 W 26th St [8th Ave]


See smart, new comics and sometimes famous ones too.

✵ Westside Tavern ✵ 360 W 23rd St [9th Ave]


Local mixture.

image Restaurants

✵ Alpha Fusion ✵ 365 W 34th St [9th Ave]

212-279-8887 $$$

Great sushi despite the location.

✵ Artichoke Basille’s Pizza ✵

114 10th Ave [17th St]

212-792-9200 $$

Perfect pies under the High Line, open till pretty late, too.

✵ Blossom ✵ 187 9th Ave [W 21st St]

212-627-1144 $$$

$20 entrees. Did we mention it’s 100% vegan and Kosher?

✵ Bottino ✵ 246 10th Ave [W 24th St]

212-206-6766 $$$

Good, clean Italian. A good post-gallery spot.

✵ Bowery Eats ✵ 88 10th Ave [W 16th St]

212-376-4984 $

Sandwiches in a sea of kitchen supplies

✵ Buddakan ✵ 75 9th Ave [W 16th St]

212-989-6699 $$$$$

NYC branch of Stephen Starr’s insanely popular Philadelphia behemoth.

✵ Clyde Frazier’s Wine & Dine ✵

485 10th Ave [W 37th St]

212-842-1110 $$$

Sleek and over the top food and design, just like Clyde.

✵ Co. ✵ 230 9th Ave [W 24th St]

212-243-1105 $$

Pizza of the gods.

✵ Colicchio & Sons ✵ 85 10th Ave [15th St]

212-400-6699 $$$$$

Colicchio’s latest piece on loan to Manhattan’s High Line annex.

✵ Cookshop ✵ 156 10th Ave [W 20th St]

212-924-4440 $

Loft-like, local ingredient-focused eatery.

✵ Cull & Pistol ✵ 75 9th Ave [15th St]

646-568-1223 $$$$

Sit-down oysters and shellfish inside Chelsea Market.

✵ Death Ave Brewing Company ✵

315 10th Ave [28th St]

212-695-8080 $$$

Your very basic pub grub, but it’s necessary.

✵ Del Posto ✵ 85 10th Ave [W 15th St]

212-497-8090 $$$$$

Marble-lined, multi-level temple to the Italian food gods.

✵ Dickson’s Farmstand Meats ✵

75 9th Ave [W 15th St]

212-242-2630 $

Great sandwiches at lunch time like sloppy joe and meatball.

✵ El Quinto Pino ✵ 401 W 24th St [9th Ave]

212-206-6900 $$

Tiny, table-free tapas joint from owners of Tia Pol.

✵ The Fillmore Room ✵ 146 10th Ave [19th St]

212-921-7772 $$$$

A little bit of this, a little bit of that. Mostly delish.

✵ Flight 151 ✵ 151 8th Ave [W 17th St]

212-229-1868 $$

Prepare for takeoff on Mondays with $4 Margaritas.

✵ Flor de Sol ✵ 100 10th Ave [W 16th St]

212-366-1640 $$$$

Tapas with—of course—a scene.

✵ Friedman’s Lunch ✵ 75 9th Ave [W 16th St]

212-929-7100 $

Super-delish brunch/lunch spot inside bustling Chelsea Market.

✵ Grand Sichuan ✵ 229 9th Ave [W 24th St]

212-620-5200 $$

Some of the best Chinese in NYC. Recommended.

✵ La Sirena ✵ 88 9th Ave [17th St]

212-977-6096 $$$$

Batali-Bastianich fine dining Italian in Maritime Hotel.

✵ Le Grainne Cafe ✵ 183 9th Ave [21st St]

646-486-3000 $$$

All-day cute French brunch/lunch/dinner w/ savory crepes.

✵ Los Tacos No.1 ✵ 75 9th Ave [9th Ave]

212-246-0343 $$

Chelsea Market’s yummy taco option.

✵ Meatball Shop ✵ 200 9th Ave [W 22nd St]

212-257-4363 $

Fancy Italian balls in pork, chicken, and beef form.

✵ Momofuku Nishi ✵ 232 8th Ave [W 22nd St]

646-518-1919 $$$

David Chang channeling Marco Polo; hijinks ensue.

✵ Moonstruck Diner ✵ 400 W 23rd St [9th Ave]

212-924-3709 $$

Not cheap as far as diners go, but generous portions.

✵ Morimoto ✵ 88 10th Ave [W 16th St]

212-989-8883 $$$$$

Stephen Starr’s couture Japanese temple. Iron Chef-prepared cuisine.

✵ Ovest Pizzoteca ✵ 513 W 27th St [10th Ave]

212-967-4392 $$$

Decent ‘za under the High Line.

✵ Pepe Giallo ✵ 253 10th Ave [W 25th St]

212-242-6055 $$

Takeout Italian.

✵ Pomodoro ✵ 518 9th Ave [W 39th St]

212-239-7019 $$

Takes “fast food” Italian to the next level; superb foccacia.

✵ Porteno Restaurant ✵ 299 10th Ave [27th St]

212-695-9694 $$$$

Modern Argentine; above and beyond steak and red wine.

✵ The Red Cat ✵ 227 10th Ave [W 23rd St]

212-242-1122 $$$$

Hip and expensive.

✵ Rocket Pig ✵ 463 W 24th St [10th Ave]

212-645-5660 $$

Porchetta’s Chelsea competition for best pork sandwich.

✵ Salinas ✵ 136 9th Ave [19th St]

212-776-1990 $$$$

Good Spanish w/ a nice back garden.

✵ Sergimmo Salumeria ✵

456 9th Ave [W 35th St]

212-967-4212 $

Serious sandwiches stuffed with mouthwatering Italian meats.

✵ Skylight Diner ✵ 402 W 34th St [9th Ave]

212-244-0395 $

24-hour diner. If you must.

✵ Spice ✵ 199 8th Ave [W 20th St]

212-989-1116 $$

Good, straightforward Thai.

✵ Sullivan Street Bakery ✵

236 9th Ave [W 24th St]

212-929-5900 $

Artisan breads, foodie approved. NFT approved. God approved.

✵ Tia Pol ✵ 205 10th Ave [W 22nd St]

212-675-8805 $$

Very good, very popular (crowded) tapas joint.

✵ Tick Tock Diner ✵ 481 8th Ave [W 34th St]

212-268-8444 $

Midtown outpost of “Eat Heavy” Clifton, NJ roadside diner.

✵ Tipsy Parson ✵ 156 9th Ave [W 19th St]

212-620-4545 $$$

Scrumptious Southern and comfy brunch spot.

✵ Trestle on Tenth ✵ 242 10th Ave [W 24th St]

212-645-5659 $$$

Hip, local, small menu, recommended.

✵ Txikito ✵ 240 9th Ave [W 24th St]

212-242-4730 $$$

Unique gourmet Basque cooking.

✵ Wisefish Poke ✵ 263 W 19th St [8th Ave]

212-367-7653 $$

Fast-casual Hawaiian poke bowls.

B&H Photo remains a go-to electronics store (closed Saturdays) and Printed Matter’s selection of artists’ books is probably the best in the world. For food, simply hit brilliant Chelsea Market to get Italian imports (Buon Italia), wine (Chelsea Wine Vault), dairy (Ronnybrook Farm), fish (The Lobster Place), cheese (Lucy’s Whey) and bread (Amy’s Bread).

image Shopping

✵ 192 Books ✵ 192 10th Ave [W 21st St]


Reads like a library—with a premium on art books and literature.

✵ Amy’s Bread ✵ 75 9th Ave [W 15th St]


Perfect breads.

✵ Aperture Bookstore ✵

547 W 27th St [10th Ave]


We love Aperture. Say hi for us.

✵ Apple Store (Chelsea) ✵

401 W 14th St [9th Ave]


Less crowded than the other locations.

✵ Artists & Fleas ✵ 75 9th Ave [15th St]

Market for quirky jewelry, accessories, vintage, housewares.

✵ B&H Photo ✵ 420 9th Ave [W 33rd St]


Where everyone in North America buys their cameras and film. Closed Saturdays.

✵ Bike and Roll ✵ 557 12th Ave [W 38th St]


Tours and rentals.

✵ Billy’s Bakery ✵ 184 9th Ave [W 21st St]


Yummiest treats this side of homemade.

✵ The Blue Store ✵ 206 8th Ave [W 21st St]


Tobias Funke’s dream store. Not kid-friendly.

✵ Brooklyn Industries ✵ 161 8th Ave [W 19th St]


A little bit of Brooklyn in the heart of Chelsea.

✵ Buon Italia ✵ 75 9th Ave [W 16th St]


Italian import mecca—get the 24-month prosciutto.

✵ Chelsea Market Baskets ✵

75 9th Ave [W 16th St]


Gift baskets for all occasions.

✵ Chelsea Wine Vault ✵ 75 9th Ave [W 16th St]


Excellent shop inside the Chelsae Market.

✵ City Bicycles ✵ 315 W 38th St [Eighth Ave]


Sales and rentals.

✵ Eleni’s ✵ 75 9th Ave [W 16th St]


When a card won’t do, iced cookies in every shape will.

✵ Enoch’s Bike Shop ✵ 480 10th Ave [37th St]


Sales, rentals and repairs.

✵ Esposito’s Pork Store ✵

354 W 38th St [9th Ave]


Authentic 1890 butcher shop.

✵ Fat Witch Bakery ✵ 75 9th Ave [W 16th St]


Excellent chocolate brownies.

✵ L’Arte del Gelato ✵ 75 9th Ave [W 16th St]


Gelato to make you sing an aria. Or just pig out.

✵ The Lobster Place ✵ 75 9th Ave [W 16th St]


Fresh fish and Maine lobster, if you can afford it.

✵ Lucy’s Whey ✵ 425 W 15th St [10th Ave]


American artisinal cheeses in Chelsea Market.

✵ Printed Matter ✵ 195 10th Ave [W 22nd St]


Astounding selection of artist’s books; highly recommended.