A longtime hub for the art world, this waterfront neighborhood has also become a haven for those in search of peace and quiet. Last year brought the opening of Manhattan's first elevated park (the High Line), which—similar to the myriad galleries that have taken root in the area's abandoned warehouses—turned a dilapidated relic into a beautiful public space that feels fresh.
A longtime hub for the art world, this waterfront neighborhood has also become a haven for those in search of peace and quiet. Last year brought the opening of Manhattan's first elevated park (the High Line), which—similar to the myriad galleries that have taken root in the area's abandoned warehouses—turned a dilapidated relic into a beautiful public space that feels fresh. Laze away afternoons on the waterfront lawn overlooking the Hudson River, or sip a beer at the docked lightship Frying Pan (Pier 66a, West Side Highway at 26th St, 212-989-6363, fryingpan.com) or browse from the 15,000 art books available at the nearby Printed Matter.
Daniel Reich, owner, Daniel Reich Gallery
"Where I live, in the Chelsea Hotel, there are a lot of old punks left over from the '70s and '80s, which makes me feel very comfortable. Let's put it this way, if there was a Patti Smith concert, our building would be empty."
Hotel Chelsea, 222 W 23rd St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (212-243-3700, hotelchelsea.com)
"You've got the gays on Eighth Ave, which I really like. It's sort of an early-'90s-circuit scene, where there's still a lot of gay-pride merchandise and rainbow flags, and I think that's kind of cool. The bookstore Rainbows and Triangles is kind of my go-to spot. The last time I was there, I bought a book called Venus Castrata, which is about transvestitism throughout the ages."
Rainbows and Triangles, 192 Eighth Ave between 19th and 20th Sts (212-627-2166, rainbowsandtriangles.com)
"Chelsea really has the feeling of an old-time New York neighborhood. Places like London Terrace are totally out of a Hitchcock movie. It's got these long, creepy hallways, and used to have an old-fashioned elevator man who was a real character."
London Terrace Gardens, 435 W 23rd St between Ninth and Tenth Aves (londonterrace.com)
"Sometimes I go to Rawhide; I sort of like it. People there are very unpretentious, maybe not ordinary, but very friendly. I go there to observe the scene and participate in the neighborhood."
Rawhide, 212 Eighth Ave at 21st St (212-242-9332)
Catherine Krudy, director, Printed Matter (195 Tenth Ave at 22nd St, 212-925-0325)
"Honestly, I love the High Line. It draws all different kinds of people, and has totally changed Printed Matter's Saturday vibe."
"I like how Seventh Avenue marks a clear boundary between my work life and my personal life, since I live and work in Chelsea. It's like, Oh yeah! Bed, Bath and Beyond and the Container Store—this is obviously domestic territory."
"Bottino has figured out how to make a really good lunch. Their Italian sandwiches are perfect; they take just a few great ingredients and combine them in different ways. Every time you're in there, the phone is ringing off the hook, there's a line out the door; they're feeding a lot of Chelsea. If the day comes when I don't work or live here, I will crave their vegetarian lasagna; there's something in the sauce, I think it's broccoli rabe."
Bottino, 246 Tenth Ave between 24th and 25th Sts (212-206-6766, bottinonyc.com)
"People wait in line at MoMA and spend money, but many refuse to come to the galleries in Chelsea, which are open to the public and free!"
"Chelsea has a really good balance between residential and specialized industry. Plus, it's clean. You don't have to dance around trash and delivery trucks. The whole redevelopment of the waterfront on the West Side is awesome. I go and read on the lawn, completely forgetting the fact that the West Side Highway is fifty feet away. Plus, the bike path on the West Side puts the bike path on the East Side to shame!"
Joshua David, cofounder, The High Line
"I've lived in Chelsea since 1986, within the same one-block radius. We moved into this townhouse in 1993, and it's got gorgeous views from both sides. On one side, there is a beautiful view across 21st Street to a row of historic brownstones, and out back, we can see the clock on the St. Peter's Church tower."
"We're right around the corner from a little row of shops and restaurants that includes Billy's Bakery. My favorite thing to get there is this cookie sandwich. It's kind of like two Oreos with white crme in the middle. They don't make them very often, but the temptation is always there."
"Cookshop lies on the path between house and my office, so I have breakfast and lunch there pretty regularly. It is so important to be in a restaurant that is filled with natural light."
Cookshop, 156 Tenth Ave at 20th St (212-924-4440, cookshopny.com)
"I'd have to say my favorite place in the neighborhood is the High Line. I know, I know, but let me be specific. I love to go for a walk there in the evening after work by myself. Even though you're alone, you're immersed in this incredible physical environment with beautiful views of the sunset on the Hudson. The High Line is a social place—people meet there for dates, or before dinner, or for spontaneous performances."
The High Line, Section 1, Gansevoort St to 20th St between Tenth and Eleventh Aves (212-500-6035, thehighline.org)
"I've been going to Colicchio & Sons a lot. They're just fantastic and have really amazing food. Last time I was there, I got the delicious rabbit-sausage pizza. They also have beer, a salad with beans—[plus] preserved lemon, ham, radish and an egg—[that's served] on frisee, and great views of the High Line."
Colicchio &, 85 Tenth Ave at 15th St (212-400-6699, colicchioandsons.com)