Chelsea Market: a Photo Essay and a Little History

You have to come here for two reasons: all kinds of incredible food and unique industrial design of the building. Before Chelsea Market was established here in 1997 the building used to serve as a factory for National Biscuit Company (or Nabisco), one of the largest manufacturers of biscuits in the country. Nabisco is the reason you are addicted to sandwich cookies – they gave Oreo to the world and it was created right here in the heart of Meatpacking district.

Chelsea Market New York

Although the factory moved out to New Jersey in the late 1950-s many highlights of the original design remained intact. That was the plan of the investor Irwin B. Cohen who “organized a syndicate to buy the principal National Biscuit buildings, from Ninth to 11th Avenue and 15th to 16th Street. Over the next several years Mr. Cohen reinvented the older complex, between Ninth and 10th Avenue… On the ground floor, he and his designers, Vandeberg Architects, created a long interior arcade of food stores”(*), now well known as the gastronomic mecca for tourists all over the world.

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Walking through the long halls of Chelsea Market with its brick walls and factory floors instantly gives you the feeling of going back in time. Disused ducts, original murals and signboards are interspersed with grocery shops, cafes, bakeries and restaurants.

What I love the most about this place, apart from food and architecture, is the vibe. Trying to squeeze in between streams of people flowing in all directions, listening to the buzz of chopping, frying, grilling combined with tourists chatting and trying to make up their minds whether to have fresh lobster or Thai food. Add to that the view of people sitting on the floor, staircases, leaning against the walls and munching away their food. It’s pretty awesome here because the market has a distinct character.

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It attracts 6 million national and international visitors annually thus making it one of the most trafficked and written-about destinations of any kind in NYC.

spices at the market nyc

teas at the market nyc

I have read many a review from New Yorkers who say that Chelsea Market is not the same anymore with thousands of tourists crowded inside. From a one-stop-destination for locals with butchery, dairy shop, bakery and restaurants serving high-class food the place turned into a food-court. Tables and chairs were removed to create more space making it uncomfortable to have a meal.

Chelsea Market NYC

Best place to eat in New York

Well, maybe if I were a New Yorker I would have a similar point of view. But I am a tourist because of whom, according to one article, locals “are often frightened away” from the market. I am sorry, New Yorkers! But I have to say I love this place as it is. With its noisy crowds and with no chairs: there’s something romantic about sitting on a stairwell with a pie in one hand and a cup of cappuccino in another.

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I am not going to get into the building’s history which is pretty amazing but has been described by many other people more knowledgeable in the subject than I am. You can find links to interesting articles about Chelsea Market below. Now enough with the talking. It’s a photo essay after all!

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coffee shop at chelsea market

Fresh seafood selection.

seafood-selection-chelsea-market

fresh-seafood-chelsea-market-new-york

must-try-chelsea-market

seafood at chelsea market NYC

Chowder selection.

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My favorite place serving fresh crepes at Chelsea market – Bar Suzette.

crepes-suzette-chelsea-market

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seafood-selection-chelsea-market

Beyond Sushi – a vegan eatery with focus in sushi.

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Freshly baked bread at Amy’s Bread.

amy's bread chelsea market nyc

Cupcakes for those who have sweet tooth:

cupcakes at chelsea market

chelsea market photoessay

Tiny doughnuts:

tiny doughnuts

And coffee to go with all the sweets.

sarabeth chelsea market

Original presents to bring back from NYC for your foodie friends, like these cookies:

best foodie present from new york

All in all, Chelsea Market is a great spot to have a bite, a dinner with friends or do grocery shopping.

people of NYC

Read more about Chelsea Market here:

  1. The New York Times: From Oreos and Mallomars to Today’s Chelsea Market by Christopher Gray (*)
  2. Traces of Chelsea Market’s Industrial Past in the Meatpacking District by Sharon Wong 

Chelsea Market: 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

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AUTHOR: YULIA DYUKOVA
Yulia is a Russian food and travel blogger who found home first in Sri Lanka for 3 years, then in Brazil for a year and is currently based in Austin, Texas. She is the kind of person who starts a research of the new country by googling “what to eat in…” instead of “what to visit in…” Yulia is a self-proclaimed “food nerd” who will spend hours reading on the origins of pecan pie before trying it and who doesn’t consider waiting in line of 50 people to get a cronut a waste of time. She finds it hard to keep her delicious findings to herself and that is the reason why this blog exists.

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