The Metropolis: Hell’s Kitchen, Hudson Yards, and Chelsea

Hell’s Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen is adjacent to Times Square on the West Side, running from 8th Avenue to the Hudson River, and 34th to 59th Streets. The neighborhood was once so rough and dangerous with wandering gangs that an infamous tenement building was nicknamed “Hell’s Kitchen” in the 1800s, and the name stuck.

However, huge renewal projects and gentrification have dramatically upgraded this neighborhood since then. Due to its proximity to many Broadway theaters, many actors and creative professionals now live in Hell’s Kitchen. It is also known for its world-class restaurants, nightlife, and other attractions.

Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market

Every Saturday and Sunday throughout the year (weather permitting), some of the best deals can be had at Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market. Browse through approximately one hundred tents and tables chock full of vintage clothing, antiques, electronics, jewelry, leather goods, furniture, home décor and so much more. Brush up on your negotiation skills, because haggling for the best prices is expected and welcomed.

Ars Nova

Since 2002, Ars Nova has been a center for discovering and nurturing the talents of budding theater, music, and comedy performers, writers, and directors. Ars Nova is characterized as presenting innovative, unconventional, and “surprising new work.” The New York Times called Ars Nova a “fertile incubator of offbeat theater.” Some of the artists they lay claim to helping include Lin-Manuel Miranda, Beau Willimon, Amy Herzog, and Dave Malloy.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

This legendary dance company was founded in 1958 by dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey. Ailey’s work as founder of this dance company celebrates African-American culture and continues to shape the modern dance art form. Featuring live performances at New York City Center, touring productions, education programs and highly-respected dance academies, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has a profound effect and legacy on American modern dance.

Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum

At the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, American maritime and military history comes alive. This collection of museums and interactive exhibits is housed on and around the massive aircraft carrier Intrepid. Other must-sees at the complex include the Space Shuttle Pavilion (featuring the Enterprise space shuttle), the British Airways Concorde, and the Growler submarine.

Hudson River Park

Head over to the Hudson River in Hell’s Kitchen to enjoy the Hudson River Park, America’s longest riverfront park. This urban greenspace offers four miles of recreational activities on the water, athletic courts and fields, kids activities, dog parks, dining, an estuary lab, walking paths, and many beautiful pieces of gorgeous statuary and sculpture.

Hudson Yards

Billed as the “largest private real estate development in the history of the United States,” Hudson Yards is a partially-finished “new neighborhood for the next generation,” including a mall, office buildings, an urban park, a hotel, residences and several skyscrapers. One skyscraper in particular at 30 Hudson Yards will feature “the highest outdoor observation deck in the western hemisphere” at 1,100 feet above ground. Here’s some of what’s in store at Hudson Yards:

Green Spaces: Hudson Yards will offer 14 acres of new gardens and outdoor events where three other parks converge: The High Line, Hudson River Park, and Hudson Park & Boulevard. 

Shopping and Dining: A stylish and modern retail space is in the works featuring luxury retailers (including NYC’s first Neiman Marcus), specialty stores, and a collection of fine dining and casual restaurants curated by restauranteur Thomas Keller.

The Arts: In the Spring of 2019, The Shed will open. This innovative “multi-arts center” will produce and present live performances, pop culture presentations and visual arts displays.

Chelsea

Named after an English soldier’s home in London, the neighborhood of Chelsea began to develop in the early 1800s when Clement Clarke Moore, (author of The Night Before Christmas) subdivided the land his grandfather owned near the water on the Southwestern coast of Manhattan.

In its 200-year history, Chelsea has expanded greatly and gone through many cultural changes. Today, it is regarded as an artsy and affluent neighborhood with plenty to do and see.

The High Line

The High Line is an elevated park built on an historic freight line. It offers some of the best views of the Hudson River, as well as the neighborhood and bustling streets of the city below. This innovative public space is a relaxing and functional way to travel uptown: walking through gardens, while perhaps stopping to sit, enjoy some art or an event, or dining on some delicious food along the way.

Chelsea Market

A fashionably-industrial, red brick warehouse that was formerly the Nabisco Biscuit factory is now home to Chelsea Market. This popular indoor food market houses 35 different vendors featuring everything from tacos, to gourmet chocolate, to wine, seafood restaurants, baked goods, coffee shops, merchandise, fashion retailers and more. Check out the manufactured indoor waterfall fashioned with relics from the former Nabisco factory.

Atlantic Theater Company

The Atlantic Theater Company is an award-winning Off-Broadway venue, founded by David Mamet and William H. Macy, that produces contemporary plays from new and seasoned playwrights. Over the years, the Atlantic Theater Company has produced 150+ plays, with several productions eventually moving to Broadway, including The Band’s Visit and Spring Awakening. The Atlantic Theater also offers conservatory programs for both adults and teens that teach Mamet’s and Macy’s proprietary acting technique.

Gallery District

Chelsea is regarded as “the” art scene in Manhattan, and is also very influential internationally. By some accounts, the neighborhood is home to 350 galleries. Its art district, located between 10th and 11th Avenues (and West 18th to West 27th streets), offers a huge array of art from both emerging and world-renowned artists.

Chelsea’s art galleries feature mostly contemporary art, along with traditional, photography, prints, sculpture, paintings, and more.

Look for the next installment in our “Metropolis” series to discover must-sees in Midtown.