Living in West Chelsea: Things to Do and See in West Chelsea, New York
West Chelsea—The Contemporary Art Capital of the World
The High Line—an elevated railway track converted into a landscaped urban park with views of the Hudson River and New Jersey—is the jewel of this upscale enclave on Manhattan’s Lower West Side. This sophisticated neighborhood is also host to the world’s largest gallery district. Its 200-plus contemporary art, sculpture, and photography gallery spaces include the elite Gagosian and David Zwirner galleries. High-end retailers, such as Barney’s Co-op, Alexander McQueen, and Stella McCartney, housed in former warehouses, adjoin the city’s newest architectural landmarks: luxurious condominiums and commercial spaces designed by celebrated architects, such as Frank Gehry and Sir Norman Foster. A short walk from the High Line is Chelsea Market, an indoor emporium replete with haute restaurants, gourmet food purveyors, and trendy boutiques; and Chelsea Piers, an indoor-outdoor sports complex where families and fitness fanatics can learn, play, or compete in sports ranging from rock climbing and golf to baseball and ice hockey.
Where is West Chelsea Located in NYC?
West Chelsea is in Downtown Manhattan, between Chelsea and the Hudson River, and Clinton and the Meatpacking District.
- East to West Boundaries: 9th Avenue to the Hudson River
- North to South Boundaries: West 30th to West 14th Street
- Subway: 1, 2, 3, A, C, E, F, M, N Q, R and L
- Ticket Out of the City: PATH and Penn Station
What to Do in West Chelsea?
West Chelsea dates from the early 1900s. Back then, its cobblestone streets were lined with warehouses and industrial plants. Many of the original buildings remain, but today it’s a neighborhood transformed into a hip commercial and artistic hub of the High Line, high-end designer shops, upscale restaurants and nightclubs, boutique hotels, and world-class art galleries. Famous residents include actors Nicole Kidman, Kevin Bacon, and Edward Norton, and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and her husband, media magnate Barry Diller. The area is also known for its social diversity and is home to one of New York City’s largest LGBTQ communities.
West Chelsea is the contemporary art capital of New York and the world. More than 200 galleries, including the city’s most prestigious and eclectic art spaces, stand within a few blocks of each other. The galleries run north to south and east to west on 10th and 11th Avenues between 19th and 27th Streets. The latest in contemporary fine art and sculpture can found a few blocks from galleries representing some of the world’s leading artists. The Gagosian Gallery’s New York branch has featured works by Richard Serra, Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha, and Ellen Gallagher. Other influential art spaces include David Zwirner Gallery, Hauser & Wirth, Pace Gallery, Mary Boone Gallery, and the photography of Cindy Sherman at Metro Pictures.
The Whitney Museum of American Art, designed by Renzo Piano, relocated from the upper East Side to the Meatpacking District in 2015, marks the southern entrance of the High Line. Farther east is the Hotel Chelsea, famous for its former residents: writers, musicians, actors, and the merely famous. Over the years, Mark Twain, Arthur Miller, Dylan Thomas, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jack Kerouac, Jimi Hendrix, Patti Smith, Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, were among the cultural icons who lived at this landmark New York City residence hotel, which is expected to reopen later this year after extensive renovations.
What to See in West Chelsea?
The construction of the High Line stimulated sophisticated real estate development along the elevated park and nearby with luxuriously crafted buildings that redefined the residential landscape. Real estate values increased dramatically and since the park opened in 2009, apartments along the High Line and Hudson River command twice the price as luxury residences along Seventh and Eighth Avenues. The top of the market is dominated by state-of-the-art penthouses overlooking the High Line and the Hudson River. Among West Chelsea’s most coveted addresses are the Sir Norman Foster-designed 551 West 21st Street and The Getty, the Peter Marino-designed 501 West 24th Street, which includes its own art gallery and museum.
Where to Eat in West Chelsea?
West Chelsea boasts four Michelin-starred restaurants, from the Italian-themed Del Posto and La Sirena to Ushiwakamaru, famous for its inventive omakase dining, and Rouge Tomate, noted for its farm-to-table fare. Chelsea Market is the city’s finest food court, bringing together different cultures and cuisines, from the sushi of Morimoto to the barbecued brisket of Dickson Farmstand Meats, and SaraBeth’s for elegant American classics and desserts.
What Schools are in West Chelsea?
Private schools in West Chelsea offer small class sizes and a rigorous curriculum and are so highly regarded that some parents have relocated to the neighborhood. At Avenues: The World School, founded by former Yale President Benno Schmidt and media and education entrepreneur Chris Whittle, students study Mandarin Chinese or Spanish and with study abroad programs for older students. The school runs from nursery through 12th grade. Winston Preparatory School has just 227 students and a student-teacher ratio of 3 to 1. The NYC Lab High School for Collaborative Studies is a top-ranking public high school and boasts a student-teacher ratio of 16 to 1.
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