Chelsea Chic Manhattan's Happening Neighborhood

"When my building at 15th Street and Seventh Avenue was built in 1980," says Jarvis Irving, a Chelsea resident for the past 23 years, "it was marketed as ‘Greenwich Village North.’ Nowadays, people wouldn’t miss the opportunity of saying their apartment is in Chelsea. Chelsea is a hot neighborhood."

Irving, a CPA who specializes in handling co-ops and condos at his firm, Jarvis Irving & Company LLP, also conducts his business out of a Chelsea location. "We’re looking for new office space," he says, "but the people I work with just don’t want to leave the neighborhood. Transportation is really good–everything is close to the subways and the shopping is great. This is a good spot."

Chelsea was never really a bad spot, but was a highly industrial, sparsely residential neighborhood. Boundaries are fuzzy; the southern border of 14th Street is undisputed; whether the area goes as far east as Fifth Avenue, or as far north as West 30th Street depends upon who one talks to. The western boundary, at the Hudson River is a lock–although this western section is most recently becoming developed and is getting to be extremely trendy, especially with the conversion of the Starrett-Lehigh Building, which spans West 26th to West 27th Streets and Eleventh to Twelfth Avenues. This 19-story building, originally a factory-warehouse on the site of the former Lehigh Valley Railroad freight terminal, is now home to Martha Stewart’s Omnimedia Corporation and other similarly "au courant" enterprises.

Prime Chelsea and Chelsea Heights

Veronica Raehse, sales manager of Bellmarc Realty’s Gramercy/Chelsea office, breaks Chelsea into two distinct areas: "Prime Chelsea," which runs from 14th to 23rd Street, and "Secondary Chelsea," a name she reluctantly describes as the northern section of the neighborhood–an area which her client, Stephen Quandt, calls by possibly the more appropriate name of "Chelsea Heights."

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