History & Culture
Chelsea was named after the estate of Thomas Clarke, who built his country home in the area in the 1750s. In the years since then, the neighborhood has had a roller-coaster existence; the area of genteel rowhouses transformed into the center of the theater district (although briefly) and then became a largely immigrant community. By the 1980s and 1990s, the seeds of today’s revived Chelsea were being planted: the epicenter of Manhattan’s gay life had already begun to shift north, and galleries began to open in former industrial and loft spaces. Still, some charming survivors of old Chelsea remain, such as Greek Revival and Italianate rowhouses and the leafy General Theological Seminary campus. In 2016, the first Hudson Yards office tower was completed, and in 2019 the Shops at Hudson Yards and the Instagrammable Vessel opened, marking the beginning of a new chapter for this part of Manhattan.