When it comes to deciding the best neighborhood in all of New York City, there are many different things that must be taken into account. Personally, I have only spent a summer living in the greatest city in the world. Throughout that summer, I traveled to every corner of the city visiting both tourist sites and the homes and neighborhoods which belonged to some close friends of mine. After spending that summer in New York and discussing living options with many different people, I cannot think of a better neighborhood than Chelsea.
According to www.nymag.com, Chelsea goes from about 39th to 15th streets, in between the Hudson River and Fifth Avenue. Because of this, Chelsea is either the home of or a short walk from some of the most famous sites in New York. Both Madison Square Garden and the Empire State Building can be reached via foot in a half hour or less, depending on exactly where in Chelsea a person is at the time. Times Square and Union Square Park are also within walking distance. The PATH train stops in Chelsea, as well as numerous subway lines. There are also numerous art exhibits in the neighborhood.
Eating in Chelsea is awesome, as some of my favorite restaurants in all of New York are located in that part of the city. The place I frequented the most would have to be Wai Café, located on Sixth Avenue between 16th and 17th streets. Wai has a very mellow and chill atmosphere inside. Add that along with great food at even better prices, and Wai is one of the best restaurants for a young couple looking for a bite to eat. Wai is one of the top places in all of New York for a couple to enjoy a filling and tasty meal for under $25.
Champignon, located on 7th Avenue between 21st and 22nd street have the best bagels in the city. When I lived in Chelsea I was just about a thirty second walk from there, and I stopped in at least three times a week. Just how good are the bagels at Champignon? When my girlfriend’s sister who still lives in New York asked what we wanted for Christmas, guess what we asked for. Sadly, Emily and I did not receive our bagels.
Looking to shop in Chelsea? I love to walk around Chelsea Market and just gaze at everything that’s there. While the food products at Chelsea Market will be more expensive than those than can be found at a grocery store, the quality is well worth the price. Not only does Chelsea Market have arguably the best food in all of Manhattan. Is also has live music every week. How cool is that?
If looking for a slightly cheaper and much smaller venue to shop at than the Chelsea Market or Whole Foods, look no further than Garden of Eden. Located on West 23rd, Garden of Eden is probably my favorite store to go in. Anybody who has lived in Manhattan and has not had any of the produce or prepared foods in Garden of Eden has no idea what he has missed. Their salads alone are mouth-watering, let alone the meatloaf and chicken they serve.
Like any neighborhood in the city, Chelsea has all those little things that you take for granted after awhile. Of course Chelsea has its share of places to do the laundry or pick up a slice of pizza. I love that there are places in Chelsea where I can grab a hot dog for a buck instead of two dollars. I can walk to Old Navy or accompany the wife to H&M, where I’m forced to watch her try on clothes for two hours (seriously). Chelsea has a movie theater, a small music store, and the hotel where Sid and Nancy spent that infamous night.
In the end, it is the intangibles that make Chelsea the best neighborhood in all of New York. There is no better place in the city for a person to just walk around and get lost. I’ve always said that Chelsea is like The Village without the pretentious, disgustingly artsy, “I’m indie-rock so I’m cool” vibe to it. Simply put, Chelsea has everything that makes New York what it is. If I were to ever live in Manhattan again, Chelsea would by far be my neighborhood of choice.