What It’s Like
With its oversized paper lantern light fixtures, Chelsea Market feels like a party—and everyone’s invited: Nannies with babies in strollers rest their sidewalk-weary feet over lunch at the tables lining the hallways. Sexy, lanky models in retro dress strut to photo shoots. Corporate Americans weave through the crowds in a rush to reach their meetings upstairs on time. Cellists add ambiance with live performances. Tourists line up for tapings of “Iron Chef.” And toddlers press their faces against the glass for an insider’s behind-the-scenes look at Amy’s Bread and Sarabeth’s Bakery. That’s not just humidity in the air at Chelsea Market (thanks, soothing-but-hair-raising artificial waterfall); that’s excitement and lots of it.
Ever since its inception in the 1890s, Chelsea Market—formerly known as the National Biscuit Company complex—has been a haven for food professionals and appreciators alike. From Premium Saltines, Vanilla Wafers, Fig Newtons, Barnum’s Animal Crackers, Oreo cookies and Mallomars, the history of its prolific ovens would make anyone with a sweet tooth drool. It’s now home to the Food Network.
Between the exposed brick and pipes, and storefronts as varied as exotic Imports from Marrakesh, the spa-like (and wildly overpriced) T Salon, and even Chelsea Market Baskets, it has a chic industrial feel and a matching diversity that’s authentically New York. But, unlike much of its surrounding Meatpacking District, there’s nothing exclusive about it.
The Bottom Line
Besides coveted Eleni’s cupcakes, Chelsea Market’s biggest draw may now be its proximity to a High Line public park entrance. You can grab take-out from Friedman’s deli and eat it outdoors with river views—far from the Lobster Place, the expansive fish market with a stench that seemingly pervades Chelsea Market’s million square feet.
75 Ninth Avenue
New York City, New York
Monday through Saturday: 7am-10pm