|Chelsea Historic District|
|U.S. National Register of Historic Places|
|U.S. Historic District|
|Location:||Roughly bounded by 14th and 34th St, from West Street to 5th
Ave. below 23rd St, and Broadway above 23rd St (original),
Roughly W. 22 to W. 23 Sts. and 8th to 10th Aves., (increase)
New York, New York
|Architectural style(s):||Greek Revival, Italianate, Georgian|
|Added to NRHP:||December 6, 1977 (original)
December 16, 1982 (increase)
|NRHP Reference#:||77000954 (original)
Chelsea is a neighborhood on the West Side of the Manhattan borough of New York City. It is located to the south of Hell's Kitchen and the Garment District starting at 34th Street, and north of Greenwich Village, and the Meatpacking District that centers on West 14th Street. West - East boundaries are from West Street to 5th Ave. below 23rd St, and Broadway above 23rd St. The neighborhood is part of Manhattan Community Board 4 and Manhattan Community Board 5. An area in the neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Chelsea Historic District.
Chelsea is sometimes referred to, along with Hell's Kitchen, as Manhattan West. A longstanding weekly newspaper is called the Chelsea-Clinton News. The weekly newspaper, Chelsea Now, also serves the neighborhood.
Chelsea takes its name from a Federal-style house of retired British Major Thomas Clarke, who named his home after the manor of Chelsea, London, which was home to Sir Thomas More. Clarke's house was inherited by his daughter Charity and her husband Benjamin Moore, and was the birthplace of writer Clement Clarke Moore, credited with writing "A Visit From St. Nicholas" and author of the first Greek and Hebrew lexicons printed in the United States.
"Chelsea" stood surrounded by its gardens on a full block between Ninth and Tenth Avenues south of 23rd Street until it was replaced by high quality row houses in the mid-19th century. The former rural charm of the neighborhood was tarnished by the freight railroad right-of-way of the Hudson River Railroad, which laid its tracks up Tenth and Eleventh Avenues in 1847 and separated Chelsea from the Hudson River waterfront. Clement Clarke Moore gave the land of his apple orchard for the General Theological Seminary, which built its brownstone Gothic, tree-shaded campus south of "Chelsea."
By 1900, the neighborhood was solidly Irish and housed the longshoremen who unloaded freighters at warehouse piers that lined the nearby waterfront and the truck terminals integrated with the freight railroad spur. The film On the Waterfront (1954) recreates this tough world, dramatized in Richard Rodgers' 1936 jazz ballet Slaughter on Tenth Avenue.
Chelsea was an early center for the motion picture industry before World War I. Some of Mary Pickford's first pictures were made on the top floors of an armory building on West 26th St.
In the late 19th century West 23rd Street was the center of American theater, headed by Pike's Opera House (1868, demolished 1960), on the northwest corner of Eighth Avenue.
London Terrace was one of the world's largest apartment blocks when it opened in 1930, with a swimming pool, solarium, gymnasium, and doormen dressed as London bobbies. Other major housing complexes in the Chelsea area are Penn South - a Mitchell-Lama development and the NYCHA-built and operated Fulton Houses and Elliott Chelsea Houses. All four are clustered together. The Elliot Chelsea Houses are the site of one of five facilities operated by the Hudson Guild, a settlement house dating back to 1895. That building, named for founder John Lovejoy Elliot, contains an off-Broadway theater and fine arts programs.
In the early 1940s tons of Uranium for the Manhattan Project were stored in the Baker & Williams Warehouse at 513-519 West 20th St. The uranium was only removed and decontaminated in the late 1980s/early 1990s.
Traditionally, Chelsea was bounded on the east by Eighth Avenue, but in 1883 the apartment block, soon transformed to Hotel Chelsea helped extend it past Seventh Avenue, and now it runs as far east as Fifth Avenue below 23th St., and Broadway above 23th St. to its northern border of 34th St. The neighborhood is primarily residential with a mix of tenements, apartment blocks and rehabilitated warehousing, and its many businesses reflect that diversity: ethnic restaurants, delis and clothing boutiques are plentiful. Tekserve, a vast Apple computer repair shop, serves nearby Silicon Alley and the area's large creative community. The Chelsea Lofts district (the former fur and flower district) is located roughly between 6th and 7th Ave. from 23rd St. to 30th St. Chelsea has a large gay population, stereotyped as gym-toned "Chelsea boys." The McBurney "Y" on West 23rd St., commemorated in the hit Village People song Y.M.C.A., sold its home and relocated to a new facility  on West 14th St., the neighborhood's southern border.
Most recently, Chelsea has become an alternative shopping destination with Barneys CO-OP - which replaced the much larger original Barneys flagship store - Comme des Garçons, and Balenciaga boutiques, as well as being near Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Christian Louboutin. Chelsea Market, on the ground floor of the former NABISCO Building, is a destination for food lovers.
As New York's visual arts community moved from SoHo to West Chelsea in the 1990s, the area bounded by 10th and 11th Avenue and 18th St. and 28th St. has become one of the global centers of modern contemporary art. The West Chelsea Arts District is home to over 370 art galleries and innumerable artist studios.
The area is also home to the modern dance company Cedar Lakes, who perform in their theater in the West Chelsea Arts district.
In Chelsea there are three Public schools: Public School 11, also known as the William T Harris school, or PS 11 to its students and Intermediate School 70, also known as O'Henry, IS 70, and the Liberty High School For Newcomers. Chelsea is home to the Fashion Institute of Technology, a specialized SUNY unit which serves as a talent wellspring for the city's fashion and design industries. The School of Visual Arts, an independent college and the public High School of Fashion Industries and also have a presence in the design fields. Touro College, a independent college with Jewish roots and programming, has its main campus in Chelsea, with a focus on business, social & physical sciences. The neighborhood is also home to The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church, a graduate institution for the training of Christian leaders and the oldest seminary in the Anglican Communion. The Center for Jewish History, a consortium of several national research organizations, is a unified library, exhibition, conference, lecture and performance venue, located on 17th st. between 6th and 5th ave.
Chelsea is a melting pot of cultures. Above 23rd Street, by the Hudson River, the neighborhood is post-industrial, featuring the newly-hip High Line that follows the river all through Chelsea . Eighth Avenue is a center for LGBT-oriented shopping and dining, and from 20th to 22nd street between Ninth and Tenth avenue, mid-nineteenth century brick and brownstone townhouses are still occupied, a few even restored to single family use .
Since the mid-1990s, Chelsea has become a center of the New York art world, as art galleries moved there from SoHo. From 16th Street to 27th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues, there are more than 350 art galleries that are home to modern art from upcoming artists and respected artists as well. Along with the art galleries, Chelsea is home to the Rubin Museum of Art - with a focus on Himalayan art, the Chelsea Art Museum, the Graffiti Research Lab and the Dance Theater Workshop - a performance space and support organization for dance companies. The community, in fact is home to many well regarded performance venues, among them the Joyce Theater - one of the city's premier modern dance emporiums and The Kitchen - a center for cutting edge theatrical and visual arts.
Chelsea has experienced a new construction boom, including a nine-story, computer-designed, shaped glass office building on West Street designed by Frank Gehry, and has become New York's center for aesthetically inspired building by the worlds leading architects.
The district was first added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 (District #77000954), and later expanded to include contiguous blocks containing particularly significant examples of period architecture in 1982 (District #82001190). This, in addition to comprehensive rezoning completed in 2004, is designed to protect the West Chelsea Arts district and allow for the development of world class architecture on its periphery.