Chelsea takes its name from the estate and Georgian-style
house of retired British Major Thomas Clarke, who obtained the property
when he bought the farm of Jacob Somerindyck on August 16, 1750. The
land was bounded by what would become 21st and 24th Streets, from the
Hudson River to Eighth Avenue.
Clarke chose the name "Chelsea" after the manor of Chelsea, London,
home to Sir Thomas More. Clarke passed the estate on to his daughter,
Charity, who, with her husband Benjamin Moore, added land on the south
of the estate, extending it to 19th Street.
The house was the birthplace of their son, Clement Clarke Moore, who in
turn inherited the property. Moore is generally credited with writing "A Visit From St. Nicholas" and was the author of the first Greek and Hebrew lexicons printed in the United States.
In 1827, Moore gave the land of his apple orchard to the Episcopal Diocese of New York for the General Theological Seminary, which built its brownstone Gothic, tree-shaded campus south of the manor house. Despite his objections to the Commissioner's Plan of 1811, which ran the new Ninth Avenue through the middle of his estate, Moore began the development of Chelsea with the help of James N. Wells, dividing it up into lots along Ninth Avenue and selling them to well-heeled New Yorkers. Covenants
in the deeds of sale specified what could be built on the land –
stables, manufacturing and commercial uses were forbidden – as well as
architectural details of the buildings.
The new neighborhood thrived for three decades, with many single
family homes and rowhouses, in the process expanding past the original
boundaries of Clarke's estate, but an industrial zone also began to
develop along the Hudson. In 1847 the Hudson River Railroad laid its freight tracks up a right-of-way between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues, separating Chelsea from the Hudson River
waterfront. The industrialization of western Chelsea followed, and
brought immigrant populations from many countries to work in the
factories, including a large number of Irish
immigrants, who dominated work on the Hudson River piers that lined the
nearby waterfront and the truck terminals integrated with the freight
As well as the piers, warehouses and factories, the industrial area
west of Tenth Avenue also included lumberyards and breweries, and
tenements built to house the workers. With the immigrant population came
the political domination of the neighborhood by the Tammany Hallmachine, as well as festering ethnic tensions: around 67 people died in a riot between Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants on July 12, 1871, which took place around 24th Street and Eighth Avenue. The social problems of the area's workers provoked John Lovejoy Elliot to form the Hudson Guild in 1897, one of the first settlement houses – private organizations designed to provide social services.
A theatre district formed in the area by 1869, and soon West 23rd Street was the center of American theater, led by Pike's Opera House
(1868, demolished 1960), on the northwest corner of Eighth Avenue.
Chelsea was an early center for the motion picture industry before World
War I. Some of Mary Pickford's first pictures were made on the top floors of an armory building at 221 West 26th Street, while other studios were located on 23rd and 21st Streets.
was one of the world's largest apartment blocks when it opened in 1930,
with a swimming pool, solarium, gymnasium, and doormen dressed as
London bobbies. Other major housing complexes in the Chelsea area are
Penn South, a 1962 Mitchell-Lama cooperative housing development sponsored by the International Ladies Garment Workers' Union, and the New York City Housing Authority-built and -operated Fulton Houses and Chelsea-Elliot Houses.
The massive 19-story Art DecoVerizon building, which spans the block between 17th and 18th Streets just off of Seventh Avenue,
was built in the early 1930s. It typifies the real estate activity of
the district in that in 2011 it is under consideration for conversion to
In the early 1940s, tons of uranium for the Manhattan Project
were stored in the Baker & Williams Warehouse at 513-519 West 20th
St. The uranium was removed and decontaminated only in the late 1980s or
Some specific places of interest are:
Chelsea Piers – The Chelsea Piers were the city's primary luxury cruise terminal from 1910 until 1935. The RMS Titanic was headed to Pier 60 at the piers and the RMS Carpathia
brought survivors to Pier 54 in the complex. The northern piers are now
part of an entertainment and sports complex operated by Roland W. Betts. See also Hudson River Park.
– In an old, restored building, this marketplace hosts a variety of
vendors, including bakeries, Italian grocery stores, a fish market,
Manhattan Fruit Exchange, wine store, and many others.
Church of the Holy Apostles
– Built in 1845-1848 to a design by Minard Lefever, with additions by
Lefever in 1853-1854, and transepts by Charles Babcock added in 1858,
this Italianate church was designated a New York City landmark in 1966
and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is
Lefever's only surviving building in Manhattan. The building, which
featured an octagonal spire, was burned in a serious fire in 1990, but
stained glass windows by William Jay Bolton survived, and the church
reopened in April 1994 after a major restoration. The Episcopal parish
is notable for hosting the city's largest program to feedthe poor, and
is the second and larger home of the LGBT-oriented synagogue,
Congregation Beth Simchat Torah
Empire Diner – An art moderne diner designed by Fodero Dining Car Company
and built in 1946, altered in 1979 by Carl Laanes. Located at 210 Tenth
Avenue at 22nd Street, it has been seen in several movies and mentioned
in Billy Joel's song "Great Wall of China". The diner closed its doors for good on May 15, 2010.
The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church
– Its college-like close is sometimes called "Chelsea Square", a city
block of tree-shaded lawns between Ninth and Tenth Avenues and West 20th
and 21st Streets. The campus is ringed by more than a dozen brick and
brownstone buildings in Gothic Revival style. The oldest building on the campus dates from 1836. Most of the rest were designed as a group by architect Charles Coolidge Haight, under the guidance of the Dean, Augustus Hoffman.
– The High Line is an elevated rail line, the successor to the
street-level freight line original built through Chelsea in 1847, which
was the cause of numerous fatal accidents. It was elevated in the early
1930s by the New York Central Railroad, but fell out of use. Originally slated to be torn down, it has now been converted into an elevated urban park.
Hotel Chelsea – Built in 1883-1885 and designed by Hubert, Pirsson & Co., it was New York's first cooperative apartment complex
and was the tallest building in the city until 1902. After the theater
district migrated uptown and the neighborhood became commercialized, the
residential building folded and in 1905 it was turned into a hotel. The hotel attracted attention as the place where Dylan Thomas
had been staying when he died in 1953 at St. Vincent's Hospital in
Greenwich Village, and for the 1978 slaying of Nancy Spungen for which
Sid Vicious was accused. The Hotel has been the home of numerous
celebrities, including Brendan Behan, Thomas Wolfe, Mark Twain,
Tennessee Williams and Virgil Thomson, and the subject of books, films (Chelsea Girls, 1966) and music.
Hudson River Park
– The entire Hudson River waterfront from 59th Street to the Battery
including most of associated piers is being transformed into a joint
city/state park with non-traditional uses.
– The apartment complex on West 23rd was one of the world's largest
apartment blocks when it opened in 1930, with a swimming pool, solarium,
gymnasium, and doormen dressed as London bobbies. It was designed by
Farrar and Watmough. It takes its name from the fashionable mid-19th
century cottages which were once located there.
Peter McManus Cafe – This bar and restaurant on Seventh Avenue at 19th Street is among the oldest family-owned and -operated bars in the city.
Pike's Opera House – Built in 1868, and bought the next year by James Fisk and Jay Gould, who renamed it the Grand Opera House. Located on the corner of Eighth Avenue and 23rd Street, it survived until 1960 as an RKO movie theater.
– This huge full-block freight terminal and warehouse on West 26th
Street between Eleventh and Twelfth Avenues was built in 1930-1931 as a
joint venture of the Starett real estate firm and the Lehigh Valley Railroad,
and was engineered so that trains could pull directly into the ground
floor of the building. Designed by Cory & Cory, the industrial
behemoth was so architecturally notable that it was included in the Museum of Modern Art's 1932 "International Style" exhibition, one of only a few American buildings to be so honored. It was designated a New York City landmark in 1966.
The retail stores of Chelsea reflect the ethnic and social diversity of the area's population. Ethnic restaurants, delis and clothing boutiques are plentiful. Tekserve, a vast Apple computer repair shop, serves nearby Silicon Alley and the area's large creative community. The Chelsea Lofts
district – the former fur and flower district – is located roughly
between Sixth and Seventh Avenues from 23rd to 30th streets. Chelsea has
a large gay population, stereotyped as gym-toned "Chelsea boys."
Most recently, Chelsea has become an
alternative shopping destination with Barneys CO-OP - which replaced the
much larger original Barneys flagship store - Comme des Garçons, and
Balenciaga boutiques, as well as being near Alexander McQueen, Stella
McCartney, Christian Louboutin. Chelsea Market, on the ground floor of
the former Nabisco Building, is a destination for food lovers.
As New York's visual arts community moved from SoHo to West Chelsea
in the 1990s, the area bounded by 10th and 11th Avenues and 18th St. and
28th St. has become one of the global centers of contemporary art. The
West Chelsea Arts District is home to over 370 art galleries and
innumerable artist studios.
Brownstone and Pre-War Specialists” are Fully, Licensed, Insured and Bonded, Chimney and Fireplace Contractors.
Primarily Servicing Brooklyn and Manhattan in New York, We also service the New
York Metropolitan Area. Our Chimney and Fireplace Experts Specialize in
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We service all residential and commercial customers. We are Family Owned and
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Big Apple Chimney is a full service New York City (Manhattan) and Brooklyn based contracting firm specializing in brownstone and pre-war building chimneys and fireplaces. We offer complete masonry services including but not limited to brick pointing, all types of brickwork, chimney crowns, chimney masonry, chimney construction, hand mixed cement and poured concrete, refractory firebrick, heating cement, high temperature smoke chamber cement, tight mortar joints, herringbone designs, (marble, stone, slate, limestone, timber, wood, wooden and custom) fireplace mantles. Fireplace surrounds made from many different materials, shelves and mantels, firewood log storage, mantel cabinets, cast-iron inserts, fireplace dampers, chimney dampers, direct vent, gas fireplaces, wood-burning fireplaces, brick-oven construction and maintenance, venting and ventilation, fresh-air intakes, chimney flashing, chimney caps, gut-renovations, historical fireplace and chimney restoration, chimney repair, heating-ventilating and air conditioning (H.V.A.C). You would be well served to have us involved in your home improvement, renovation or restoration project.
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We are very experienced in complete chimney and fireplace renovations, repair and restoration of brownstone chimneys and brownstone fireplaces, pre-war chimney and fireplace construction, including all types and variations of carriage house, townhouse, limestone, brownstone, granite, bluestone, brick, double brick, brick and block, solid masonry buildings, wood frame houses, Italian renaissance, Spanish revival, everything from Victorian era to farmhouse and ranch style houses, multi-family dwelling apartment buildings, historic district, landmark commission approved and NYC building code compliant workmanship is what we are best known for.
If you are looking for New York’s Favorite and most well respected chimney and fireplace company, chances are you are looking for Big Apple Chimney. We are the premier chimney builders and fireplace builders in Brooklyn and Manhattan (see: Fireplace New York City). We are very familiar with working with, around and protecting decorative moldings, hardwood floors, parquet floors, wood door frames, arched doorways, window frames, original window cases, cement walls, stair banisters, detailed borders, Art Deco, Venetian plaster, high ceilings and all the other pre-war design elements.
If you have a fireplace, boiler or chimney emergency, it may involve a chimney inspection or a fireplace inspection, either with time tested visual analysis methods or with our infra-red camera technology. If there is water or moisture damaging or accumulating near your chimney flue, you may be in need of our chimney leak repair services. If you have been shut down by a utility company or a city, state or federal agency you may have a chimney code violation, this may be caused a chimney blockage, we can repair your chimney and flue to code compliant status. We are qualified at officially restoring your heat or hot water and making sure all chimney violations are corrected.
We also provide a complete array of chimney maintenance , chimney cleaning, and fireplace cleaning services in Brooklyn and Manhattan, our professional chimney sweeps, and chimney service technicians can help you to prevent creosote build-up, chimney fires, chimney violations, fire code violations and increase and help to ensure your family’s safety from carbon monoxide poisoning. (all homes are required to have CO detectors and smoke alarms installed)
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