History & Culture
Like many of Manhattan’s neighborhoods, the area that is now Tribeca is first mentioned in city histories as farmland. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that Trinity Church and the Lispenard family would lead its development as a commercial district, later accelerated by the openings of a subway line (the IRT-Broadway — today’s 1, 2, and 3 lines) and the Holland Tunnel. Ironically what fueled Tribeca’s success also helped lead to its downfall, as truck traffic took some of the shine off of it. In the 1970s, artists attracted by cheap loft spaces in manufacturing buildings helped revitalize the area. The lofts remain, though they aren’t the bargains they once were. The most prominent contribution of the neighborhood’s creative class is the Tribeca Film Festival, which began in 2002. In recent years several leading galleries, including Postmasters, Canada, and James Cohan have rediscovered Tribeca and opened spaces there.