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Get to know Tribeca

Most of Tribeca’s buildings date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when it was a center of the textile industry and home to warehouses serving the piers along the Hudson, but its current incarnation — as well as its name — dates from the 1970s. That is when pioneering artists eyed the stately, if neglected, cast-iron buildings with their open loft spaces and reinvented the neighborhood, much as others did in nearby Soho. As it transitioned from manufacturing to residential, it was dubbed Tribeca, formed from the initial letters in “Triangle Below Canal Street.” Eventually Soho’s and Tribeca’s paths diverged; as the former saw more retail and restaurants move in alongside the galleries and artists’ lofts, Tribeca stayed truer to its original character. While there are restaurants and boutiques, it remains a relatively quiet and low-key part of lower Manhattan.

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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.

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Dine & Shop

Nightlife in Tribeca tends to be subdued compared to some other neighborhoods. It’s a destination for fine dining more than late-night carousing. Bâtard, Marc Forgione, and Locanda Verde are some of the restaurants helmed by chefs with impressive resumes. Approaching its 40th anniversary, Odeon was a pioneer and has become almost a neighborhood institution, while Bubby’s is a similarly beloved if more casual choice. Tribeca can’t rival Soho when it comes to shopping, but wandering its streets offers the chance to come upon unique finds like Warren Street’s Mysterious Bookshop and Korin for high-fashion kitchenware. A Uno Tribeca, on West Broadway, and Klein Epstein & Parker, on Hudson, add bespoke fashion to this high-fashion part of town.