Chelsea Market, indoor market in a rustic building in Chelsea Manhattan, is ranked N6 of 584 shopping places in New York by Trip Advisor. It attracts over 6 million national and international visitors annually. Throughout the market, there are a lot of decidedly vintage looking fixtures, like the switch compressor, a strange looking light, a stone bench with a stone pillow or fountain constructed out of discarded drill bits and an exposed pipe.
There is an eclectic mix of cuisines and foods in addition to some vintage/boutique shops there.
You can find multiple small restaurants and food shops there: a bakery, cheese shop, wine shop, cookware shop. You can buy here Moroccan carpets and Thai grocery , bestsellers and travel guides, pots and pans, fresh meat, fresh bakery, fresh spices and fresh flowers.
You can eat tacos and gelatos, Australian meat pies and lobster, terrific chocolate brownies and handmade candy bars. And everything listed above is under the one roof- you do not need to go outside! It's a foodie paradise . It is a wonderful place to walk through, especially when it is cold or rain outside, grab a bite or shop a little bit. You can spend at least two hours if you wish, maybe more. Everything is pricier than what you would see outside the marketplace, but on Happy Hour that starts at 4pm many of the restaurants have discount food or drinks.
Chelsea Market's rise coincides with the neighborhood's dramatic transformation. A very popular linear park High Line runs through the building. Hudson River Park and Chelsea Piers are fifteen minutes by foot from the Market.
But Chelsea Market not only about shopping. This huge building (800 foot long) occupies the whole block between 10 and 11 avenues and has an amazing history.
For more than 50 years, beginning in the 1890's, the building had been part of a large factory operated by Nabisco(National Biscuit Company). And the most successful product of Nabisco is Oreo cookie.
Most of Americans have grown up with Oreo cookies. Everybody knows how Oreo look: two chocolate wafers with a sweet cream filling in between. And a lot of people know how it tastes: Oreo has become the best selling cookie in the United States since its introduction in 1912.
The first Oreo cookie looked very similar to the Oreo cookie of today, with only a slight difference in the design on the chocolate disks. The price in 1912 was 30 cents per pound. Oreo was produced in the Chelsea market building for the first time in 1912.
Nabisco company was found in 1898 and very quickly became one of the most widely recognized names in the American food industry. In 1906, the company moved its headquarters from Chicago to New York. The Nabisco bakery complex was designed and built by the company’s staff architect, Albert G. Zimmerman. A year after that, Zimmerman also designed the 11-story full-block structure located on a former landfill site located in between 10th and 11th Avenue and 15th and 16th Street across the street from the current Chelsea Market.
In 1958 the Nabisco production line moved to Fair Lawn, New Jersey and never returned to New York. In 1970s and 1980s the old Nabisco complex in New York was used by a variety of companies to fulfill light industrial needs.
In the 1990's, the investor Irwin B. Cohen organized a syndicate to buy the principal National Biscuit buildings, from Ninth to 11th Avenue and 15th to 16th Street. The neighborhood was a lot different at that time
"It was the Wild West in Manhattan," Mr. Cohen said. "There had been three gangland-style murders in the building, with people on their knees shot in the back of the head. The building was controlled by street prostitutes, who told the staff when to open and close the loading docks. They used the loading docks for their clothes changes. And the tenants were in a revolt."
Over the next several years Mr. Cohen reinvented the older complex, between Ninth and 10th Avenue, re-renting the upper floors to an emerging group of technology companies. Google office is on the second floor and Youtube- on the fifth.
New York times wrote in August 2005: " To walk through the Chelsea Market is to stroll through a sort of postindustrial theme park, carefully festooned with the detritus of a lost industrial culture, interspersed with food stores and restaurants....The old factory floors weave and bob, and the central hall is a jumble of disused ducts, an artificial waterfall, the original train shed, old signboards and other elements. Mr. Cohen's group remade the 1913 building on the west side of 10th Avenue into a regular office building, but the lobby is just as astonishing as Chelsea Market's, an amalgam of old cast iron light poles, plate girders, portholes and banks of television sets - it could be the Nautilus, Captain Nemo's submarine in "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."
I visited Chelsea Market twice for very short visits, and both times I did not want to leave. Holiday season is around the corner, and I plan to go there with my camera to make pictures.