Card no. 18 - photos
A stroll through this handsome neighborhood offers aesthetic rewards indoors and outdoors, contemporary and historic.
Begin at Eighth Avenue and West 23rd Street (C or E or 1 or 9 to 23rd Street).
In the late 1990's, seemingly overnight, half the art galleries in Soho packed up and moved to the far west reaches of Chelsea. Now anyone looking for contemporary art in New York is likely to view it in either a made-over car repair shop or a superannuated office building somewhere between West 17th and West 27th Streets and 10th and 11th Avenues. At last count, the building at 529 West 20th Street alone housed 21 galleries. A Chelsea walk is well worth making for other reasons, not least the handsome streets of lovingly renovated brownstones and the surplus of good restaurants that have followed the artists and buyers to the river's edge. Walk west on West 23rd Street from Eighth Avenue, past the hiply shabby Chelsea Hotel, a favorite of writers and rockers, to Ninth Avenue. The massive apartment complex on the north side of West 23rd is the second "London Terrace" to fill the block all the way to 10th Avenue. The first was a stretch of private houses known as Millionaire's Row, which in turn had replaced the house of Clement Clark Moore, credited with authoring "A Visit from Saint Nicolas." Turn left down Ninth Avenue and right onto West 22nd Street all the way to 10th Avenue. Turn left on 10th and left again on West 21st Street, to the General Theological Seminary, whose inviting grounds can be entered from the middle of the West 20th-21st Street block of Ninth Avenue. Turn right as you leave the seminary, and right again onto West 20th Street heading west, to explore the galleries ahead.
From City Walks: New York: 50 Adventures on Foot by Martha Fay