12th Ave | 11th Ave | 10th Ave |
9th Ave | 8th Ave | 7th Ave |
6th Ave | |
5th Ave | Broadway |
Park Ave S | Lexington Ave | 3rd Ave |
2nd Ave | 1st Ave
A waterfront complex designed by Warren & Wetmore and opened in 1910, these piers were a major hub for both freight and passenger liners; many immigrants actually docked here first before being taken by ferry to Ellis Island. Troops departed from here to the European front in both world wars.
As passengers took to the air and freight traffic shifted to New Jersey, the Chelsea Piers declined, until by the 1980s they were almost demolished for the West Side Highway project. When that fell through, the piers were turned over to a private entity, Chelsea Piers Management, for development into a sports complex--which opened in stages starting in 1995.
Pier 62: The northern most pier of
the sports complex is mainly devoted to a roller rink,
featuring launchboxes, spines, quarterpipes, mini ramps, flat rails,
a vert ramp and a funbox. If you know what all those are, this is the place
for you. For everyone else, there's also a little park at the end of the pier. During the piers' lost years, a U.S. Customs Impound Station was located here.
Thomas Smith Park
Named for a secretary of Tammany Hall's executive
committee; has a dog run, ball fields.
548: This art space, opened in 1987,
helped transform Chelsea into Manhattan's main gallery
district. Specializing in large-scale single-artist
installations, it's featured the work of
Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, Jenny Holzer and Richard Serra.
530: American Fine Arts; Brent Sikkema
522: A satellite gallery of
520: Comme des Garcons;
fascinating futuristic clothing store.
Bridging the street here is a disused elevated railroad that was used to transport
freight along the Westside waterfront, replacing the street-level tracks at 10th and 11th avenues that earned those roads the nickname "Death Avenue." Built in 1929 at a cost of $150 million
(more than $2 billion in today's dollars), it originally
stretched from 35th Street to St. John's Park Terminal,
now the Holland Tunnel rotary.
Partially torn down in
1960 and abandoned in 1980, it now stretches from Gansevoort almost
to 34th--mostly running mid-block, so built to avoid
dominating an avenue with an
elevated platform. In its abandonment, the High Line
became something of a natural wonder, overgrown with
weeds and even trees, accessible only to those who risked
trespassing on CSX Railroad property.
In 2009 it was
opened to the public as New York City's newest park; it truly
transforms its neighborhood and hence the city. This section of the park was opened to visitors in 2011.
504: Horton Gallery moved here in 2009 from Eldridge Street, where it was doing business as Sunday LES.
Corner (162 11th Ave): Once the International Longshoremen's
Association Union Hall--headquarters for the corrupt
president Joe Ryan who inspired the movie On the
Waterfront. Now the Sanford Meisner Theater,
named for the legendary acting teacher whose students included
Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck, Grace Kelly, Diane Keaton and Joanne Woodward.
559: Opus 22. On May 23, 2006, bouncer Stephen Sakai
allegedly shot a man to death
outside this nightclub, then confessed to another unsolved killing--
and was a suspect in a couple of other deaths. Was Open, a
cafe inspired by airport lounges.
535: Marianne Boesky Gallery;
Frederich Petzel Gallery;
Printed Matter, promoting books as works of art
545: Dia extension gallery
525: D'Amelio Terras; 303 Gallery; Messino Wyman Projects
515: Barbara Gladstone Gallery
511: Wild Lily Tea Room; very zen.
High Line Park
505: Nikolai Fine Art
436: Shakespearean actor
Edwin Forrest lived in this house; fans of Forrest led the Astor Place Riot against
British Shakespearean Charles
Macready in 1849.
Corner (210 10th Ave): Classic railroad car diner dates back to 1946. It was given a new lease on life when
it was given a glossy makeover in 1976, sparking a trend for stylized self-consciously retro diners. It was frequented by celebrities like Madonna, Julia Roberts and Steven Spielberg, and featured in such films as Manhattan, Men in Black 2, Home Alone 2 and Igby Goes Down.
A lease dispute in 2009 between the restaurant and the owners of the property resulted in a change of management; starting in 2011, it's been doing under the name
The Highliner for trademark reasons.
435: Actress Geraldine Page died at her home here in 1987.
427: Writer Sherwood Anderson lived in a cheap room here in 1918, where he liked to spend his time looking into other people's apartments.
360: Editor and critic
Malcolm Cowley lived in a former building here from 1930 to 1934, while he was
editing The New Republic, whose offices were nearby on W. 21st Street.
318: The address of
West End Records,
pioneering dance music label associated with the
legendary Paradise Garage.
302: Allerton Hotel;
Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe lived here together.
245 (corner): This building houses the
headquarters of America's Finest News Source,
which moved to New York from Madison, Wisconsin in
Corner (208 7th Ave): Regional Thai Taste
277c: Unicorn, gay porn outlet
275: Barracuda, friendly gay bar
136: From 1972-74, this was the first home of
This & That Gallery, a private disco.
132: The Stanwick Building houses the
Irish Repertory Theater. The Gallery, the first modern disco, opened here on June 28, 1973. Owner Nicky Siano closed this location in July 1974 and reopened three months later at Mercer and Houston.
Adams Dry Goods
Corner (675 6th Ave): Was Adams Dry Goods, upscale shop built
in 1900; note "ADG" on arch. Was a Barnes & Noble from
1994-2008; Mattel Toys has its offices here.
Corner (209 7th Ave): Restivo, Italian
161: This was the orginal home of the fabulous
Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, home to
various improv groups; got kicked out
because the building was a firetrap.
Earlier it was the Harmony Burlesque Theater,
a raunchy strip club.
UCBT is now at 26th and 8th.
143: Willem de Koonig's loft (1930s-40s). He washed it top to bottom every Saturday.
137: PB Cuban Cigars
high-end latex fetish gear store claims to have sold
Janet Jackson her Superbowl bustier--and
insists it did not malfunction.
127: Second Hand Rose Music has 100,000 titles in stock.
125: Chelsea Playhouse
Corner (699-709 6th Ave): Was Ehrich Brothers (1889-1911);
bargain store. Now Burlington Coat Factory, Staples.
Corner (688 6th Avenue): Maffei Pizza, Sicilian lunch counter, is ''culinary nirvana,'' says the the Voice. A
U.S. Army Recruiting Center is upstairs.
64: Daniele's Piadina sells Romagnese flatbread
62: Mosaic House sells Moroccan tiles. The
mysterious Green Spa is upstairs.
60: An optical shop that's been around since 1947.
56: New York Cake & Baking Supplies,
for the serious cake baker. Upstairs is Chisholm Gallery,
which exhibits and sells original vintage posters.
54: Soon Beauty Lab--a spinoff of an East Village salon--
is in an intricately decorated building; note the glasswork above the
52: Derelict rowhouse--you don't see too many
buildings with bricked-up windows anymore.
50: Cafe 50
48: Christopher Stanley, subtle hair colorists
46: Arezzo, spendy Italian named for the
setting of Life Is Beautiful. The painter
moved here in 1937, writing to a friend, “It's the best place
we’ve ever lived in N.Y. and only 25 a month!”
44: Fancy old brownstone
Pascal Boyer Gallery,
20th Century decorative arts;
Robert Passal Interior Design
30: Metropolitan Room at Gotham
Just Calm Down: A Jewel of a Spa
Van Alen Institute, named for Chrysler Building architect
William Van Alen, is dedicated to improving
public design in New York City. The restaurant
Aspen is also here.
28: Site of The Ladies' New-York Club, organized in 1889
20: The zen-like Salon O2; Color Resource Center
Deep, the club formerly
known as Ohm
4: Prey was the Star Bar, cosmic-themed lounge,
and before that the neo-Polynesian Tiki Room. There's a sign
here that says "Artist Residing in Building"--not sure
if the sign itself is an art project or if there's
actually some need for people to know this. The
Dezer real estate company that owns this property
has named more than one of its buildings after itself,
which hardly seems fair.
Sohmer Piano Building
Corner (170 5th Ave): Zales jewelry is on ground floor of this 1898
building, noted for its gilded rooftop dome. Was a piano
showroom; now houses publishing and design companies.
Corner: Shopping and apartments built in
2002 on site of Edwin Booth Theater (1869-1883). This was run by
and featured New York's
most prominent Shakespearean actor--brother of John
Wilkes Booth. Sarah Bernhardt made her New York debut here.
Later James W. McCreery (1895-1907), "Dean of
the Retail Trade." Demolished 1975. A bust of
Shakespeare from the old theater can be seen
on the new building's west side.
49: Site of the New Etching Club.
43: Manhattan Village Academy,
a college prep school, is in a concrete building with interesting
polychrome details. Country Home & Comfort
is at the same address but in a seemingly
different building--one that could not look
more urban and utilitarian.
23: A handsome red brick and cast-iron building
serves as an employees' entrance for Home Depot--could
be put to more prominent use.
19-9: This seems to be the back side of the
old Stern Brothers department store, now Home Depot.
17: Site of the Electric Club, organized in
1885 to promote electrical science and industry.
11: The address of the Harvard Club's first
clubhouse, which it left in 1895.
3-7: Classic Sofa is in the Spinning Wheel Building, built over
the last home of telegraph inventor Samuel Morse, who died here April 2, 1872.
1: L&I Photo & Digital is in an odd, three-story
Corner (172 5th Ave): Lucky Brand Blue Jeans.
Formerly a cigar store, complete with wooden Indians.
Block (935-939 Broadway): The building that houses Renaissance Hardware was
built in 1861-62 as the Glenham Hotel by architect Griffith Thomas. Also known
as the Albert or Mortimer Building. On the Broadway side, outlines of letters that once spelled out
"ALBERT" can be seen. According to
this building once housed the saloon of
Dr. Jerry Thomas, master mixologist (for whom the
Tom and Jerry was named). Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr.,
son of the Commodore, shot himself here on April 2, 1882,
after a night of drinking and gambling.
The long-stopped clock on the 5th Avenue corner
inspired the They Might Be Giants song "Four of Two"--
though it's running now.
Block (175 5th Ave): Built in 1903 as the Fuller Building, its
unusual and striking shape (designed by
Daniel Burnham to match its triangular lot) quickly earned
it its lasting nickname. It is not
true that is New York's first skyscraper--
just one of its most memorable. A traditional publishing
center, it's home to Henry Holt and Company, a publishing house founded in 1866
that has printed such authors as Robert Louis Stevenson, H.G. Wells, Ivan Turgenev, Robert Frost,
Hermann Hesse and Norman Mailer. Today its roster includes Paul Auster, Thomas Pynchon, Salman Rushdie and Barbara Ehrenreich.
It also houses
St Martin's Press, which "prides itself on having the largest and broadest list of any U.S. publisher, expressing the widest possible range of human experience."
In the 1910s, it contained
the offices of the Socialist
Labor Party, ancestor of most U.S. left parties. It features
in the movie Spider-Man as the Daily Bugle building,
and Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak are teleported
here in Bell, Book and Candle. Origins and MAC cosmetics
are the high-end businesses found on the building's relatively
broad 22nd Street end.
Corner (936 Broadway): This was once the site
of the Buck's Horn Tavern, which as long
ago as 1816 was described as "an old and well-known tavern."
Later the first bicycle-riding school opened on this site in 1868.
Still later it was Abbey's Park Theater, where
Lillie Langtry's American debut
was scuttled by the theater burning down on October 30, 1882. Present
building built for Brooks Brothers in 1883--it's been "modernized"
since. Now houses Wolf Home, fomerly Domain, interiors.
12: Almond, rustic French, was Borough, which was Caviar & Banana
Brasserio, which replaced
the short-lived Rocco's, subject of the
NBC "reality" show Restaurant. Earlier was
the ironic Commune, a popular spot for the
characters on Sex and the City.
22: Was Alva, swanky bar with too many cigar smokers
Miwa Alex, hair salon whose co-owner
claims to take inspiration from Michelangelo
26: Space Kiddets, cute but spendy
kids clothing. Was Pauline Yeats home interiors
36: Was Kitchen 22, sibling restaurant of Aureole
(Time Out calls this New York's "best value"--
haven't they heard that the dot.com boom is over?)
New York Kids Club
Corner (276-278 Park Avenue S): Gramercy Place was the
1894 Bank for Savings (as the stone still notes),
saved from demolition in 1987 by the placement of a high-rise
apartment on top. Associated Supermarkets on the ground-floor corner.
5: Very large luxury condo building was built after
Wonder Drugs Fire of October 17, 1966, which killed 12
firefighters--the worst disaster in FDNY history until the World
Trade Center attacks.
Princeton Ski Shops,
founded in 1916, originally specialized in figure-skating
23: Was Bolo, Bobby Flay's hip Spanish--also featured on
Sex and the City. Building torn down in 2012.
29: Was Carole Stupell Ltd., china shop opened 1931; said to have
invented the wedding registry. Moved to Madison Avenue in 2012.
33: In 1903, this was the National
Christian League for Promotion of Social Purity.
43: Tamarind, fancy Indian
45: Ciano, "ingredient-driven" Italian whose motto is "From Farm to Fork." Was Beppe, expensive Italian that the Voice
said had the best ribs in town.
Corner (300 Park Avenue South): The
Mills & Gibb Building, a 15-story building from 1910
designed by Starrett & Van Vleck for the Mills and Gibbs linen store.
Note waterbaby carvings. Built on the site of the 4th Avenue
Wilhelmina, a modeling firm
founded in 1967 by model
Wilhelmina Cooper, is based here.
Corner (281 Park Avenue S): Robert Gibson's lovely 1894 building,
seemingly all pillars and arches,
was originally the (Epicopal) Church
Missions House. Note frieze above entrance
depicting St Augustine preaching to the
Saxons, and Bishop Seabury preaching to the Indians--
we were heathens once, too, is the message.
102: The Gramercy Arms is a 10-story
brown-brick apartment building built in 1928, with
creative brickwork and beautiful terra-cotta tiles.
An extraordinary example of what can be done with
an ordinary building. On the ground floor is Novita,
The back of 60 Gramercy Park
118: Site of the house of architect Isaac Newton
Phelps Stokes, who designed Columbia's
St. Paul's Chapel and wrote the six-volume
Iconography of Manhattan Island.
120: Site of composer Charles Ives’ home.
Corner (4 Lexington): Built to house the Russell
Sage Foundation, started in 1915 by Olivia Sage to
coordinate the dispersal of the fortune she
inherited from her tight-fisted husband. "For the
Improvement of Social and Living Conditions" can
still be read on the frieze, which features
emblems of civic virtues--Health, Work, Study, Play,
Housing. From 1949-76 it was
the Catholic Charities Building; now
Corner (287 Park Avenue S): This marvelous pale-brown
building, built in 1891 to an R.H. Robertson design, was the site of the founding
of the NAACP on May 31, 1909. It still houses charities like the
Community Service Society.
111: Built in 1915 as an annex to the
United Charities Building, it originally held
the New York School of Philanthropy, then from
1946 to the 1980s it was the headquarters of the
Dockbuilders Union. It now houses
Elite Model Management,
which has represented perhaps more supermodels than any other
agency, including Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell.
BLT Prime, part of Laurent Tourondel's
burgeoning empire, is opening on the ground floor.
115: The back of United Cerebral
Palsy of NYC's building
127 (corner): A progressive
middle school/high school that emphasizes
integration of technology into all academic work.
Built as the
Manhattan Trade School for Girls
in 1919, it was designed by CBJ Snyder in the
Collegiate Gothic style and built
largely out of white terra cotta.
Corner (7 Lexington): Park Gramercy apartments,
drably generic building put up in 1951 (though some claim it
redeeming Art Deco features), replacing
the former corner, No. 9, which
had been the home of
Peter Cooper, who ran first
the U.S. railroad (the Tom Thumb), helped lay the
trans-Atlantic telegraph cable and invented Jello.
He founded the Cooper Union for the Advancement
of Science and Art, which to this day continues to
charge no tuition. Cooper died here on April 4,
1883, and the house was inherited by his
son-in-law, Abram Hewitt, a New York mayor
(1886-87) who opposed Tammany Hall and promoted
the building of subways. The crafts collected here
by Hewitt's daughters, Eleanor and Sarah, became
the core of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum.
134: Fresh out of Yale,
Cole Porter lived and threw many parties at an
earlier apartment on this site (1916-17). Now Gramercy
Row, a 1975 apartment building with notable balconies.
144: The Lexington, a 1901 Beaux-Arts
apartment building that is one
of the very first New Law tenements, planned almost
immediately after the Tenement House Act went into effect.
150: An 1893 carriage house with
a stepped Dutch gable, designed by Sidney V.
Stratton for Miss E.L. Breese.
Gramercy Court, a 1907 apartment house with an
Corner (280 3rd Ave): Building dates back to c. 1845.
135 (corner): This building, now housing
the administrative offices of CUNY's business school,
was built in 1939 as the Family Court Building. Aluminum
bas reliefs by H.P. Camden reflect various
functions of the family--education, protection,
137: Built as the Children's Court in
1916, this Classical Revival building now
houses Baruch's Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute.
145: A 1940 Colonial Revival
Gustavus Adolphus Swedish Lutheran
Church, dedicated in 1887, was designed by
Josiah Cleveland Cady,
who also designed the Natural History Museum.
155: An 1889 Queen Anne-style apartment building, since
Gustavus Adolphus parish house. Painter
John Sloan reportedly lived in this building in 1911-12.
Corner (282 3rd Ave): Lamarca Pasta was Pippin's restaurant
This intersection was the site of street battles and extensive property destruction
during the Draft Riots of 1863.
Corner (281 3rd Ave):
Rolf's German-American Restaurant
seems like a 19th Century survivor, but it actually dates
back to the late 1960s.
220: A quirky apartment building--it appears that a
former mansard roof has been partially absorbed by later
234: The Epiphany School,
a Catholic school connected to the church next door,
was founded in 1869; this building dates to 1888.
Church of the Epiphany
Corner (373 2nd Ave): Roman Catholic church built 1967,
replacing an older church destroyed by fire; one of the rare
successful examples of modernist religious architecture. Built
on the site of Rose Hill, the mansion of Horatio Gates, the
Revolutionary War general who won the Battle of Saratoga,
arguably the most important victory of the war. This neighborhood
is sometimes referred to as Rose Hill, though few New Yorkers
could tell you where that is.
The Epiphany Peace Garden is a memorial
to the parishioners, neighbors and local
police and firefighters who died in the
September 11 attacks.
Corner (283 3rd Ave): Lyric Diner
205: Gramercy Park Habitat, a robust red-brick
building from 1896.
A quite beautiful garden here seems to be
reserved for Gramercy House residents.
Corner (381-387 2nd Ave): Gramercy House apartments have cool deco trim. Used to house Bruno Ravioli (No. 387), The French Butcher (No. 383B); Gramercy Fish Co. (No. 383A) is now Rosendo Fish Market.
310 (corner): Building with green polychrome
details houses medical facilities like
Gramercy MRI Associates, NYU's Faculty Practice MRI,
NYU's Department of Physical Therapy and
the Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing.
Madison Square Boys & Girls Club used to
have its 22nd Street Clubhouse in the basement.
312: Gramercy East Condominium
342: Was Broken Cup, cozy cafe. "A big loss to the
neighborhood," a reader notes.
Corner (375 1st Avenue): Stuyvesant Deli News & Smokes,
formerly PB Deli & Grocery
301 (corner): Gramercy Food Market is
on the ground floor of the ugly white-brick
327: Ungar House, foster housing for
LGBT youth, is dedicated to John Ungar, "who
believed in the dignity of children."
Corner (377 1st Avenue): Lucky Chicken,
formerly Chirping Chicken
Peter Cooper Village
420-440: Built in the late 1940s by Met Life Insurance Co. as affordable housing; now
being converted to luxury condos. Built on the site of the notorious Gashouse District, where fumes from chemical plants
kept out all but the poorest immigrants. Terrorized by the Gashouse Gang.
Peter Cooper Village