NYC City Guide 2019: Chelsea

NYC City Guide 2019: Chelsea

©Colin Miller

Chelsea is Manhattan’s art district. You can spend days here wandering galleries that show work from established and emerging artists. The High Line—a park built on an abandoned elevated railroad track—is a work of art in its own right, as are some of the area’s fashionable shops.


Chelsea has seen many transformations in its time. In the late 1800s, it was industrial in nature. Today, the defunct railroads and old warehouses have been incorporated into Chelsea’s trendy culinary landscape. With a 24/7 open-door policy, the swanky longtime Chelsea “after-the-clubs” spot Cafeteria serves “dressed-up”American comfort classics to a crowd that feels like having “meatloaf and a Cosmopolitan at 3 am.” Now that fall is here, it’s time grab a warm drink and pastry at Frankie Portugal before hitting the NYC streets. The offshoot of Artichoke Basille next door, provides Portuguese egg tarts, flan-filled cones and coffee. From superstar David Chang, Momofuki Nishi presents Italian favorites with a twist in a contemporary setting. In addition to a la carte pasta and meat and fish offerings, the menu also features a house-made pasta tasting.


After restaurant hopping, head out to shops. Chelsea is home to the Fashion Institute of Technology, so it’s filled with fashion-focused vintage stores, chic pop-ups as well as a market hot spot for foodies-in-training. The enormous winding labyrinth also known as Chelsea Market is packed with one-of-a-kind shopping, an urban food hall, spice shops and retail stores. For the “traditionalist” Mantiques Modern antiques emporium specializing in furniture and art. You’re sure to find a great conversation piece to take home. In line with the new era of retail shops that have a fluid focus comes Story, a pop-up that changes themes monthly that's now locaed in Macy's. With a headline that reads, “point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery and sells things like a store,” this store is always on trend. Stop in for their newest installation!


The nightlife scene here is eclectic, offering hidden speakeasy bars, rooftop lounges with spectacular views of Manhattan as well as down-home eateries with first-rate sips. Hidden behind a secret door at Stone Street Coffee Company lies Bathtub Gin a speakeasy with hushed lighting, small plates and gin-based cocktails. A large copper bathtub is the centerpiece og the lounge and is the most instagrammable prop. A prop also used by the burlesque dancers that perform there weekly (check the calendar for dates.) The laid-back Porchlight serves up Southern-inspired drinks in a handsome space lined with picnic tables, bar seating centered around an indoor wooden “porch” that stages live music on Mondays. Also visit The 18th Room speakeasy bar where to get inside, you’ll have to pass through a decoy coffee supply store that conceals the art-deco-inspired bar. Take a seat at one of the velvet banquettes or at the marble bar to enjoy a custom cocktail made with your flavor and spirit preferences in mind.


Chelsea boasts numerous art galleries exhibiting work from emerging and established artists as well as waterfront recreation and live music spaces with shows from drag to hip-hop. Pace Gallery leading contemporary art gallery representing more than 70 artists and estates. Staying active has never been easier at Chelsea Piers. The 28-acre sports village with Hudson River has views offers rock climbing, gymnastics, batting cages, bowling and golf as well as an ice rink. Finish the day at Highline Park: The Spur a public space made by people, for people with public programming, food, art and beautiful greenery.

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