NYC Photo Journal: Four Exciting Places to Visit This Summer – Chelsea Market. Highline Park. Chinatown. Veniero’s Pasticceria.
“We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character” Henry David Thoreau
Anyone who is familiar with New York City will agree that there is much to see/do/eat here… Whether it is the exciting, inventive depths of the Chelsea marketplace, the wondrous views of an above ground High Line Park/garden, the colorful array of foods and spices in Chinatown or the Tiramisu of a Pasticceria, NYC gives us plenty to keep our adventurous minds engaged and stimulated. Stop by later for photos and more on my selections/locations above…
For the sake of brevity, I’ve decided to split this post into two parts. Part I will feature Chelsea Market & High Line Park. Part II will focus on Chinatown & Veniero’s Pasticceria. Visit both posts for more photos on my selections/locations…
Chelsea Market, a cavernous, indoor food/shopping mall built within the former National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) factory complex, is a destination point for any self-respecting foodie. From the 1890s till Nabisco moved to new quarters in 1959, the aroma of biscuits (Oreos, Saltines, Vanilla Wafers, Fig Newtons, Barnum’s Animal and more) filled the air, as workers toiled away at hot industrial size ovens in the massive 22-building structure located at 79 9th Avenue. The complex actually spans two entire blocks and is bounded by 9th to 11th Avenues and 15th to 16th Street.
By the 1990s, Irvin B. Cohen and a group of investors bought the complex and began transforming it into its present incarnation of eclectic tenants from a mix of food, media and technology worlds. The symbiotic relationship among the tenants has proven to be a brilliant idea; the vendors/tenants interactions make it easy for various entities in the buildings to benefit; exchanging wares, products and services.
The interior Market space is an example of form meets function; showcasing beautiful wrought iron artistic displays and elevators doors that could do well in a modern art museum. In nooks and crannies throughout the complex, one is reminded of the artistic devotion of artisans from the past; these were men dedicated to making each building unique by adding special moldings and intricate iron/brass work. For a moment, it is easy to think you are somewhere else; say in Amsterdam, Paris, or Istanbul.
In terms of layout, the retail shops and food establishments occupy the main level structure east of 10th Avenue. Media and broadcasting companies such as Oxygen Network, Food Network, Mr Youth, MLB.com, EMI Music Publishing maintain standard office space and Google has moved into some of the second and fourth floors.
The Retail facilities were introduced into the building by connecting the original back lots of individual buildings to a central, ground-level concourse. Today, Chelsea Market is thriving as a veritable food/retail palace with stores like Imports from Marrakesh, Chelsea Market Baskets, Amy’s Bread, Fat Witch Bakery, Eleni’s Bakery, Sarabeth’s Kitchen, The Lobster Place, T Salon, Chelsea Thai, People’s Pop, Anthropologie, Buon Italia, Chelsea Wine Vault, and a slew of restaurants including The Green Table and Buddakan vying for customer attention.
Chelsea Market offers Food tasting tours. Stop by and inhale all the richness it offers.
Hours: Monday – Friday: 7am to 9pm, Saturdays: 7am to 7pm, Sundays: 8am to 6pm Address: 75 9th Avenue (Between 15th and 16th Streets), New York, NY 10011
HIGH LINE/HIGH LINE PARK
Down the street within spitting distance from the Chelsea Market is an urban oasis – The High Line Park; a 1.45-mile (2.33 km) New York City elevated park, yes it is 30 feet above ground, built on a section of what used to be an elevated freight railroad known as the West Side Line. The renamed Park has been redesigned and planted as an aerial landscape and runs along Manhattan’s lower west side.
Sometimes compared to the Promenade Plantée in the 12th arrondissement in Paris, the park offers an above ground respite from the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s busiest cities. Eventually, once Section 2 is completed, the park will stretch from Gansevoort Street, one block below West 12th Street, in the Meatpacking District in the West Village, up through the neighborhood of Chelsea, to the West Side Yard, near the Javits Convention Center. For now, it starts on Gansevoort Street and ends at 20th Street.
The original infrastructure know as the West Side Line train tracks was built in the 1930s as a way to lift freight train traffic 30 feet in the air and prevent dangerous trains from the streets. Trains stopped running there in 1980 and for some 20 plus years, different factions within the community lobbied and fought to do something with the site.
After much wrangling, the city passed a resolution in 2002 to support those who advocated for the High Line’s reuse. An open ideas competition ensued with plans submitted by interested architects/landscape designers and others from about 36 countries. In April 2006, a decision was made and the first phase of construction began.
In June 2009, Section 1 (Gansevoort Street to 20th Street) opened to the public. Section 2 (20th Street to 30th Street) is projected to open to the public in 2011. Naturally, the refurbished railway has attracted both business and tourists to the area spurring renewed development in a once seedy part of town. From its 30 foot vantage point, many noteworthy buildings (Frank Gehry bldg, London Terrace Apts, Empire State bldg, and more) can be seen as the lower Manhattan landscape opens its treasures to the eyes, offering snapshots of wondrous sights and sounds.
HIGH LINE OFFERINGS
On a typical weekend day, the park is packed and both staff and volunteers help keep the magic of the place alive and buzzing. There are many beautiful plantings to keep the horticulturist/gardener within captivated. If that is not your thing, then a wooden chaise longue, bench or a chair can provide you with hours of comfort as you meditate, rest, read your paper or simply people watch.
Every Saturday at 11:00 AM, a High Line Docent leads a free, guided walk through Section 1 for up to 20 people. Meet at the bottom of the Gansevoort Street staircase. For a unique Manhattan experience, the High Line can’t be beat.
What are your thoughts? Do you have favorite haunting spots you like to visit in NYC? I would love to hear from you: Your comments are always appreciated. Thank You!
All photos ~ courtesy of my collection and/or Google Images
Until Next Time…
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