September 15, 2010

From the East Village to Chelsea Market: A Zigzag Walk by Intersections

Pretend it's a nice day in New York City, and you're sitting on a park bench in First Park at the corner of E. 1st St. and 1st Avenue and drinking a good cup of coffee from Little Veselka, and then someone calls you on the phone and says they want to meet you in an hour at the Chelsea Market. Well, that's not exactly close. The market is on the west side near 9th Avenue and W. 15th Street, and it's going to take some thought about how to get there. You could take the subway - the F to W. 4th and then transfer to a C to 14th Street, but it's a nice day for a walk. You'll tell the person that you will be there.

So, if you're near E. 1st and 1st Ave., then why not proceed uptown and westward, block by block? From 1st and 1st, go to 2nd Avenue and 2nd Street, then up to 3rd Street and over to the Bowery, and then up to E 4th and Lafayette, and so forth? This will work. A meandering walk in Manhattan from the intersection of 1st Ave. and 1st St. to the intersection of 9th Ave. and 15th St. takes its course through several downtown neighborhoods - the East Village, Noho, Greenwich Village, West Village, Meatpacking, and Chelsea - with plenty of notable buildings, cultural institutions, and restaurants to enjoy along the way. It's a pleasant way to learn city geography.


View A Zigzag Walk from the East Village to Chelsea in a larger map

The walk is made up of intriguing intersections, most of which visually represent their respective neighborhoods. New Yorkers are big on intersections, as these mark the way we understand the city. When we tell another New Yorker where we live, we usually give them the intersection so that they can start mentally processing the location. We then watch the person on the receiving end of the information fall into a trance-like state as they recover their memories, if any, of visiting that intersection. If they have, they will always come back with something like "Oh, I know that corner. I had a friend down there, and we would always hang out at that ice cream place." This type of conversation takes place a thousand times every day.

This zigzag walk from the East Village to Chelsea takes in the following notable places - the Marble Cemetery (actually, both of them), Anthology Film Archives, the Bowery Hotel, Merchant's House Museum, the Public Theater, Colonnade Row (across the street from the Public), the 8th Street Apartments (designed by Harvey Wiley Corbett), several historic churches (such as Church of the Ascension), the beautiful block of W. 10th Street, another nice residential block on W. 11th, plenty of restaurants and bakeries, the remains of St. Vincent's Hospital, the British retail block of Greenwich Avenue, an Apple store, and the food fest known as the Chelsea Market.

The Public Theater on Lafayette
Astor Place and Broadway
At W. 10th and 6th Avenue
Admittedly, this is a complicated way to walk from the East Village to Chelsea, but it's entertaining. Want to know a clever and efficient way to walk between these two neighborhoods? Take Bleecker Street. Look at the map and notice how the southern end of Bleecker begins at the Bowery just north of Houston. Bleecker curves west-northward, and then around 6th Avenue, it turns north by northwest. When Bleecker ends at Abingdon Square Park, take Hudson St. the rest of the way. At 14th St., the street flows into 9th Avenue. The way Bleecker makes this abrupt curve north explains why people get lost in Greenwich Village. W. 4th Street makes the same parallel curve, so that's why W. 4th inexplicably intersects with W. 13th Street.

Along Greenwich Avenue
The intersection of W. 4th and W. 13th. No problem.
9th Avenue and 14th Street
Chelsea Market. 9th Avenue and W. 15th St.
When you've arrived at the market, wander south along West Street to see what's left of the old Meatpacking District or catch the High Line north or south.

Mural for Premier Veal, West Street, New York, in the building originally known as the Gansevoort Market House. Back in the 1950s there were 150 meat businesses in this neighborhood. Now, less than 20.
Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from Monday, September 13, 2010. Taken with an iPhone4 camera.

1 comment:

Anton Deque said...

Lovely stuff, Teri. I know this area slightly – not all but some of it. I think I recognise 6th and 10th for example. I too have been converted to 'zig-zagging' now and yesterday, a fine late summer's day, walked such a route around my city. You inspire me!

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