New York City Tour: Chelsea
New York’s predominantly gay neighborhood is ground zero for the city’s best art galleries—and much more.
The closest subways to Chelsea only go as far west as 8th Avenue, which may explain why this neighborhood—which sits roughly between 14th and 30th streets, and 7th Avenue to the Hudson River—feels like one of Manhattan’s quietest. But with the calm comes the buzz of high-end retail, warehouse art galleries, an indoor market (also home to the Food Network’s studios), and—perhaps the most talked-about development project in recent city history—the High Line. A converted rail line, this elevated urban park offers views of the river and New Jersey, plus the bustling-yet-still-tranquil streets down below.
1 High LineNew York City
At the south end of the High Line, an abandoned 1930â€™s elevated freight rail track turned 21st-century park, The Standard, High Line is situated on massive concrete piers, boldly straddling this most extraordinary public space. All along its 1-mile path (the third and final section between West 30th and West 34th Streets will open in late 2014), the High Line has become a magnet for innovative architecture; The Standard has been joined by the new home of the Whitney Museum, designed by Renzo Piano, and experimental architect Neil Denariâ€™s gravity-defying apartment tower rises a few blocks north. Between the speckled concrete walkways and benches by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, planting designer Piet Oudolf is inserting a somewhat aestheticized version of the urban meadow that had previously grown undisturbed on the tracks, with clusters of flowering perennials, wetland grasses, and occasional wooded patches. â€œTo walk on the High Line,â€
2 Morimoto, New York
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto brings superb Japanese and Asian fusion cuisine to the Chelsea neighborhood with his trendy restaurant Morimoto. The sleekness and simplicity of the decor is reminescent of traditional Japanese homes but with modern touches: a large water bottle wall, canvas ceilings and translucent partitions. Maintain tradition by enjoying Morimoto's sashimiâ€”cubes of hamachi, salmon, eel and seared toroâ€”or embrace the modern and try the tuna pizza (bluefin with anchovy aioli) or the yellowtail pastrami (togarashi, creme fraiche and candied olive). Either way, your meal is sure to be a sensation.
This inviting Chelsea eatery, owned by Marc Meyer, Chris Paraskevaides, and Vicki Freeman, serves a menu of American- and Mediterranean-influenced comfort food. The dishes are reflective of chef Meyerâ€™s appreciation of sustainable ingredients, local produce, and humanely-raised meats. Diners can enjoy such dinner selections as rigatoni pasta with chanterelles and spit roasted all-natural chicken with sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts. The restaurant creates a welcoming, home-like atmosphere with large glassÂ windows, red leather banquettes, and simple artwork adorning the walls.
4 Printed Matter
Established in 1976, this non-profit is the largest in the world dedicated to the promotion of artist-made publications. Inside the brightly lit space, youâ€™ll find 15,000 titlesâ€”plus rare reads.
5 HÃ´tel Americano
Who would stock a Manhattan mini-bar with a harmonica and furnish a bathroom with denim bathrobes? The answer: cult-favorite Grupo Habita, the inventive Mexican company behind Hotel Boca Chica (It List 2010), in Acapulco. The steel-and-glass aesthetic of the 56-room hotel matches the creative vibe of Chelseaâ€™s burgeoning gallery scene. The High Line is a stoneâ€™s throw away; contemporary-art dealer Paul Kasmin has a new annex across the street. Americano frequently hosts exhibition opening after-parties, and the tapas restaurant has become the de facto canteen for the cityâ€™s art insiders. While the property could use better door service for 10th Avenue taxi pickups, we love that New Yorkâ€™s of-the-moment neighborhood finally has a stylish hotel to call its own.