Monday, 26 January 2009


The present Chelsea Market block is a collection of 18 separate buildings, totaling about 1 million square feet of space. Its origin is the former factory of the National Biscuit Company and now occupies the space from 15th to 16th Streets between Ninth and 10th Avenues. The earliest buildings, near Ninth Avenue, date from the 1890's with a number of additions being made in 1910, the 1920's and the mid 1930's. The National Biscuit Company (NABISCO), where Oreos were invented in 1912, left the complex in the mid 1940's. After a decade and a half, it was reborn as the New York Industrial Center, which was not a success and so the buildings continued their decline and neglect.

Chelsea Market today
In the 1990's, the investor Irwin B. Cohen organized a syndicate to buy the principal NABISCO buildings, and over the next several years reinvented the older complex into Chelsea Market on the ground floor and re-renting the upper floors to an emerging group of technology companies. He, and his designers, Vandeberg Architects, created a long interior arcade of food stores, now a well known destination in Manhattan, as well as million dollar lofts and office accommodation elsewhere.
To walk through the Chelsea Market is to stroll through a sort of post-industrial theme park, carefully festooned with the detritus of a lost industrial culture, interspersed with food stores and restaurants. The central hall is a jumble of disused ducts, an artificial waterfall, the original train shed (served by the High Line) old signboards and other elements.

This gourmet mall features many independent establishments like Fat Witch brownies, the Green Table organic wine bar, Hugh McMahon the Pumpkin Man, Amy's Bread, Manhattan Fruit Exchange, Buonitalia and much more. Chelsea Market has established itself as a highly recommended food shopping and visitor destination - a cut above ordinary mall shopping - with tours available which include sampling the goods.

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