Chelsea, Manhattan, New York City
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Alphabet City, formerly considered a slum, is now a trendy part of the East Village in the New York City borough of Manhattan. Its name comes from Avenues A, B, C, and D, the only avenues in Manhattan to have single-letter names. It is bordered by Houston Street to the south and 23rd Street to the north where Avenue C ends. However, the historic boundaries of the Lower East Side - which transformed into the modern-day Lower East Side and Alphabet City - place the northern border at 14th Street. Some famous landmarks include Tompkins Square Park, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and the Stuyvesant Town private residential community.
Chelsea takes its name from the Federal-style house of the Moore family, named after the manor of Chelsea, near London, which was home to Sir Thomas Moore. The house was the birthplace of Clement Clarke Moore, who is more often credited with "A Visit From St. Nicholas"- which he may have authored- than with the first Greek and Hebrew lexicons printed in the United States, which he certainly authored.
"Chelsea" stood surrounded by its gardens on a full block between Ninth and Tenth Avenues south of 23rd Street until it was replaced by high quality row houses in the mid-19th century. The former rural charm of the neighborhood was tarnished by the freight railroad right-of-way of the Hudson River Railroad, which laid its tracks up Tenth and Eleventh Avenues in 1847 and separated Chelsea from the Hudson River waterfront. Clement Clarke Moore gave the land of his apple orchard for the General Theological Seminary, which built its brownstone Gothic tree-shaded campus south of "Chelsea."
By 1900, the neighborhood was solidly Irish and housed the longshoremen who unloaded freighters at warehouse piers that lined the waterfront and the truck terminals integrated with the raised freight railroad spur. The film On the Waterfront (1954) recreates this tough world, dramatized in Richard Rodgers' 1936 jazz ballet Slaughter on Tenth Avenue.
Chelsea was an early center for the motion picture industry before World War I. Some of Mary Pickford's first pictures were made on the top floors of an armory building on West 26th Street.
London Terrace was one of the world's largest apartment blocks when it opened in 1930, with a swimming pool, solarium, gymnasium, and doormen dressed as London bobbies.
Traditionally, Chelsea was bounded by Eighth Avenue, but in 1883 the apartment block, soon transformed to Hotel Chelsea helped extend it past Seventh Avenue and now it runs as far east as Broadway. The neighborhood is primarily residential with a mix of tenements, apartment blocks and rehabilitated warehousing, and its many businesses reflect that: ethnic restaurants, delis and clothing boutiques are plentiful. Tekserve, the vast computer repair shop that strongly influenced Apple's Retail Store and Genius Bar concept, serves nearby Silicon Alley and the area's large creative community. Chelsea has a large gay population, stereotyped as gym-toned "Chelsea boys." Since the mid-1990s, Chelsea has become a center of the New York art scene, as an increasing number of art galleries have moved there from SoHo.
Most recently, Chelsea has become an alternative shopping destination with Barneys CO-OP, Comme Des Garcons, and Balenciaga boutiques. As well as being nearby Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Christian Louboutin, etc.
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