West Chelsea: A ‘Vibrant’ Space Stuffed with Artwork and Structure

West Chelsea: A ‘Vibrant’ Area Full of Art and Architecture

In the early days of the pandemic, a group of West Chelsea residents raised funds to buy meals at local restaurants for workers at Fire Department Rescue Station 7 on West 23rd Street between 10th and 11th Streets.

"What else can I tell you about this fabulous neighborhood?" asked Susan Numeroff, a member of the group that organized efforts to make life easier for rescuers (and helping local restaurants too). Ms. Numeroff, 63, who has lived on West 23rd Street since 2010 and is president of the West 400 Block Association, promotes the beauty and diversity of her fast-growing neighborhood, which includes upscale homes, bourgeois apartments and two public housing projects.

Stretching from West 14th Street to West 30th Street and from Ninth Avenue to the Hudson River, the former industrial estate has continually added amenities over the past few decades, including the 28-acre sports and entertainment complex, Chelsea Piers, dozens of art galleries and the High Line, the elevated park full of plantings and works of art. Elegant new buildings are now emerging in the neighborhood, many of which were designed by prominent architects.

"It's a very exciting place to live now," said Steve Gold, a Corcoran real estate agent who lives and works there. "There is more and more life, more and more services." People are using pandemic-related discounts to upgrade and young families are moving in.

Ms. Numeroff welcomes new families and loves being close to the galleries and parks, but doesn't mind the "clutter" of bold new buildings. She and her husband Marvin, who died in 2015, bought their 19th-century brownstone, which was split into nine apartments in 2006, for nearly $ 5 million. They spent four years restoring it, using the lower level as a space for art exhibitions, charitable events, and other activities, and the upper floors as their home. Mr. Numeroff owned a diagnostic laboratory and both were partners in restaurants and a cheese shop.

When her daughter Olive, now 24, was younger, she took skating lessons at Chelsea Piers and went bowling with friends there. Ms. Numeroff said, "And I didn't have to go with them."

Ms. Numeroff rides a bike in Hudson River Park and occasionally walks the High Line with friends. But with many neighbors fling Manhattan amid the pandemic, it feels like "half our community is not here".

Massimo and Fatiya Mazza and their 4 year old son Matteo are among those who moved into a larger room, although they would have done so even without the discounted price (which they didn't want to reveal), said Mr Mazza. 42, a business consultant. Her new three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom apartment overlooking the High Line is one block from her old apartment and one block closer to the private school Matteo has attended since he was two. Avenues: The World School. The school, which has more than 1,750 students enrolled, was one of the reasons the couple chose the neighborhood.

"It is well known among people who travel a lot," said Mr Mazza, who grew up in Italy. "We have a lot of friends who send their children there." The school has offices in São Paulo, Shanghai and other cities around the world, so Matteo could easily switch when they travel again, he said.

"We like to walk the High Line with Matteo so he can see all of the artwork," said Ms. Mazza, 37, an architect who grew up in Senegal. “It stimulates him and creates conversations, which is very important to us. And there is so much architectural work that he can experience. "

Both love to run in Hudson River Park and sometimes use their three-wheeled stroller to take their son with them. "It's a vibrant neighborhood," said Ms. Mazza. “It allows me to bloom because there are a lot of artists. It has a special feeling, a special environment. "

Mr. Mazza added, “Being in the center makes the area a very good investment. There will be many positive changes in the next few years. "

West Chelsea lies between the souped-up meat packing district and the newly created Hudson Yards. In the middle – between 23rd and 24th Street and 9th and 10th Street – is the London Terrace apartment complex, which opened in 1930. Of the 14 connected buildings, four are cooperatives and 10 are rentals.

Another full block project, the 19-story Starrett-Lehigh office building on West 26th Street, was completed in 1931 and is home to companies like Ralph Lauren and influential design firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro. This year a food hall and a market place are to be opened on the ground floor.

The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church, another large complex, has its roots in the 19th century. And pretty brown stones line several quiet blocks in the West's 1920s.

Art galleries started bringing artistic stamps to the region in the 1990s, but "when the High Line came it changed everything," said Bonnie Lindenbaum, an agent at Warburg Realty. Shiny new developments have sprung up near the elevated park, which opened in 2009. “People like this new, clean look,” said Ms. Lindenbaum.

In the IAC building designed by Frank Gehry, which opened in 2007 on West 18th Street as the headquarters of the media and internet company, a trend towards glass, curved walls and unusual shapes could already be observed. Across the street is a winding condominium tower, 100 West 11th Avenue, designed by Jean Nouvel and completed in 2010.

The Lantern House, a new residential complex at 515 West 18th Street, spans the High Line with a 22-story structure to the west and a 10-story structure to the east, connected to a street-level lobby. It has bulging bay windows (like lanterns) and was designed by Thomas Heatherwick, who is also in charge of the ship at Hudson Yards. The residents should move in the spring. Another apartment off the High Line with streamlined, curved windows is 520 West 28th by Zaha Hadid. The Cortland, a new Robert A.M. The Stern-designed building at 555 West 22nd Street has been completed, but the red-brick facade is not yet finished.

"West Chelsea has drawn a large European clientele as well as art lovers," said Dylan Pichulik, managing director of Real Property Management, which looks after rented or empty apartments. "It's a pied-à-terre neighborhood," he said, although it appeals to those in the finance or technology sector as well, as companies like Google have offices in the area.

The average price for the 136 properties that closed in 2020 was $ 1,593,750, a 9 percent decrease from the 2019 average of $ 1.75 million for 199 units, said Mary Ellen Cashman, associate broker at Compass. Sales transactions in the neighborhood fell 31 percent over the year.

"We live in challenging times," said Ms. Cashman, despite realizing that sales may improve. 30 units closed in November and December, compared to 20 in the same period in 2019. "Average prices only fell 3.5 percent from 9 percent in the year, an indicator that the market was improving."

People start selling for reasons like getting a new job. She said, "It's more of a return to normal, even though we're still climbing out of the pandemic."

On February 1, 184 homes in West Chelsea were put up for sale on StreetEasy. The highest price was $ 49.995 million for a penthouse at 551 West 21st Street, a condominium with two terraces and a roof; The cheapest was a studio and bedroom on 408 West 25th Street, a partnership with H.D.F.C. Income restrictions listed for $ 375,000 each.

Of the 232 available rentals, the most expensive was a four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom apartment at 551 West 21st Street, which was listed for $ 45,000 a month. The cheapest was a studio on 409 West 24th Street, listed for $ 1,600 and free for two months.

Chelsea Market is a festive home for grocers and retail stores in a former National Biscuit Company factory. The outdoor seating extends along the sides of West 15th and 16th Streets. These days it's not as crowded as usual without tourists. (Same goes for the High Line.) Cookshop, a restaurant on 10th Avenue, is another local favorite.

The Chelsea Piers Sports Complex had activities "for every stage of my children's development," said Mark Shulman, 57, a children's author and New York tour guide who has lived in London Terrace since 1986 and whose sons are now 15 years old and 18. Gymnastics, Climbing and bowling were among her favorite sports.

Other pillars in Hudson River Park have lawns, gardens, and a carousel. Waterside Park, a three-acre triangle between West 22nd and 24th Streets, has a playground, ball court, basketball courts, and dog run. There is also a New York recreation center and pool on West 25th Street, which will be closed during the pandemic.

Clement Clarke Moore Park on West 22nd Street is named for the poet who wrote "A Visit From St. Nicholas". (which begins "It was the night before Christmas"). Moore lived on an estate called Chelsea, which covered much of what is now West Chelsea.

Schools include P.S. 33 Chelsea Prep, 281 Ninth Avenue, with 555 preschoolers through fifth grade. According to the School Quality Snapshot 2018-2019, the latest available due to Covid-19, 64 percent of students met state standards for the state English test, compared with 48 percent across the city, and 62 percent met state standards for math versus 50 percent citywide.

P.S. 11: The William T. Harris School at 320 West 21st Street is technically east of the neighborhood, although some students in the area are designated for it. It has approximately 800 pre-school through fifth grade students. In the 2018-2019 tests, 76 percent met government standards in English and 75 percent met standards in math.

Nearby subway lines include the A, C, and E along Eighth Avenue, the L train on 14th Street, and the 7 on 34th Street Hudson Yards.

In the 19th century, West Chelsea was home to the Otis Elevator Company, Reynolds Metals, and other industrial companies, according to the West Chelsea Historic District Designation Report. Book publishers started opening there in the early 1900s, and by the 1990s dozen of art galleries priced out of SoHo moved to former garages, factories, and warehouses.

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