3.11.2008

Walking Off Tribeca: The Lay of the Land

One of the oldest sections of Manhattan and part of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, the area now know as Tribeca was originally a fruit and produce market, a shipping center, and a hub of the city's textile industry. Sprawling along the west side of Manhattan, from south of Canal to Vesey Street and the site of the World Trade Center, Tribeca extends from the Hudson River on the west to Broadway as its eastern boundary. The area got its name, an acronym for the TRIangle BElow CAnal, relatively recently.

View Larger Map The area's conversion from a shipping and manufacturing district to a residential neighborhood parallels the loft developments of the SoHo neighborhood to its north. The vast inside spaces of these buildings that once housed 19th century businesses have inspired the modern-day phenomenon of loft living. Where immigrants once worked for low pay, standing long hours spinning cotton on a loom, a wealthy family now lounges on high-end living room furniture, watching reality programming and cable news on a 58-inch wall-mounted plasma TV.

I'm walking through Tribeca this week to shake myself out of the comfort zone of my own neighborhood, to get some exercise, and explore new streets. Leaving my place in Greenwich Village and walking south to Tribeca, I pass through SoHo and its exceptional cast-iron architecture. Yesterday, I arrived at the Square Diner in Tribeca via West Broadway, a pretty street lined with many elegant galleries, fashion stores, and European-style restaurants.

I have a few places on my Tribeca agenda today. I want to see some of the 18th century houses on Harrison Street, and I need to go back to the little shop I saw yesterday on Beach Street that makes homemade Mexican tamales. Other than these stops, I like to leave much of my walk unscripted.

See related posts:
The Woolworth Building
Establishing Shots: The Tribeca Film Festival
The Tribeca of Duane: Duane Street and Duane Park
Tribeca's Most Tripped-Out Vista
Tribeca Living: A Building for Chocolate, and One for the Wool Trade
In Search of the Lower West Side: Before Tribeca
Walking Off Tribeca and Remembering Mostly Lunch
Walking Off Tribeca: Starting at Square One

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