Chelsea is a neighborhood on the West Side of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. The district’s boundaries are roughly 14th Street to the south, the Hudson River and West Street to the west, and Sixth Avenue to the east, with its northern boundary variously described as near the upper 20s or 34th Street, the next major crosstown street to the north.
To the northwest of Chelsea is the neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen, as well as Hudson Yards; to the northeast are the Garment District and the remainder of Midtown South; to the east are NoMad and the Flatiron District; to the southwest is the Meatpacking District; and to the south and southeast are the West Village and the remainder of Greenwich Village.
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Chelsea is a composite of town houses, low-rise apartment buildings, luxury high-rises and trendy attractions like the High Line, the elevated park built atop former railroad tracks. Set in former factories are more than 200 art galleries as well as Chelsea Market, filled with upscale food purveyors, restaurants and shops. Though no longer quite the LGBT bastion it once was, Chelsea is still home to many gay bars.
Chelsea is part of Manhattan Community Board 4. contains the Chelsea Historic District and its extension, which were designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1970 and 1981 respectively. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, and expanded in 1982 to include contiguous blocks containing particularly significant examples of period architecture.
The neighborhood is primarily residential, with a mix of tenements, apartment blocks, city housing projects, townhouses, and renovated rowhouses, but its many retail businesses reflect the ethnic and social diversity of the population. The area has a large LGBTQ population. Chelsea is also known as one of the centers of the city’s art world, with over 200 galleries in the neighborhood. As of 2015, due to the area’s gentrification, there is a widening income gap between the wealthy living in luxury buildings and the poor living in housing projects, who are, at times, across the street from each other.
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 Royal Hospital Chelsea, a retirement home for soldiers in London, England. 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.