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Chronicles: What’s Old is New in Chelsea

photo by Steve Isaacs

photo by Steve Isaacs

Nestled between Manhattan’s trendy Meat Packing shopping district and Chelsea, the historic building which now houses the Chelsea Market accomplishes what has been become quintessential of older buildings in New York, a re-imagining of space that juxtaposes the old with the new. In this case, the former National Biscuit Company factory built in the early 1900’s has had their concrete floors polished and installed flat-screen televisions and works of modern art. The old ground floor offices and out-of-work ovens are long gone and in their stead are bake shops, speciality stores and eateries.
What you won’t find at Chelsea Market is burly men grinding meat or fishmongers shouting prices, instead, each shop is neatly and distinctly presented in a manner which resembles a whimsical film set more than a traditional food market. The Market itself only holds about two dozen stores, five of which are bakeries (but only one with a half-price cupcake happy hour, Eleni’s two hours before close everyday) so choice is limited but delicious.

Food fanatics will be interested to note that not only was the Oreo was invented in this factory but the Food Network, and their test kitchens, are camped out on the fourth floor along with Mario Battali’s Del Posto and Tom Coliccho’s Craft, located in the adjacent 10th Ave building. This is definitely the place for famous chef spotting, with sightings of Japanese chef Morimoto and the Iron Chef chairman himself a common occurrence.
Adjacent to the market is High Line Park, a brand new addition to New York and a compliment to the Market with, again, a play on repurposing the old for new uses. Built in 1930 as elevated train tracks, the structure was last used in 1980 and the construction of the park on the former rails began in 2006. Seven blocks of the modern day promenade is now open with chaises for lounging, neatly groomed gardens and views of the Hudson river, the controversial Frank Gehry designed office building (genius or an eye sore?) on the West Side Highway and the guests of The Standard Hotel- whose bedrooms arch over the tracks and are known for flashing.

Chelsea Market
75 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011-7006 – (212) 620-7500

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The High Line Park
529 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011 – (212) 500-6035

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