SVA's Guide to NYC: Chelsea
An art student's guide to the neighborhood
September 13, 2017
Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood—whose boundaries are commonly defined by Sixth Avenue to the east, the Hudson River to the west, 34th Street to the north and 14th Street to the south—is renowned as a global arts and culture center, and is home to many blue chip and independent galleries, such as David Zwirner, Gagosian, Paula Cooper, Marlborough, Gladstone, and more. Aside from its art world cache, Chelsea has a distinct local character due to its many boutiques, restaurants, cafés and attractions.
Here are a few of our favorite things to see, do and taste in the neighborhood, with help from SVA students and alumni who shared their favorite NYC places.
10 Things to Do in Chelsea:
Walk The High Line – Gansevoort to West 34th Street between 10th and 12th avenues
The High Line was first conceived in 1999 to transform an old elevated railway track into a verdant, walkable parkway. First opening a decade later, the park has become one of the most popular public attractions in the city. "It's the best way to refresh your mind. Go on a sunny, bright day and bring some tunes," says Jina Yun (BFA 2017 Illustration).
Shop B&H Photo – 420 Ninth Avenue (between 33rd and 34th streets)
Simply put, B&H is the premier camera and video store in New York City. "I find myself more in here because I make videos on YouTube and I love testing out new gear," says BFA Design student Krystal Lora.
Visit the SVA Chelsea Gallery – 601 West 26th Street, 15th floor (between 11th and 12th avenues)
One of SVA's three galleries across the city (along with the SVA Flatiron and SVA Gramercy galleries), the SVA Chelsea Gallery hosts student exhibitions throughout the year, as well as seasonal alumni and invitational exhibitions in the fall. Don't miss "Marshall Arisman: An Artist's Journey from Dark to Light, 1972 – 2017" on view through Saturday, September 16, and be sure to come back for "The Masters Series: Christoph Niemann," opening on Saturday, September 30.
Browse Printed Matter – 231 11th Avenue (between 25th and 26th streets)
With an inventory of 15,000 titles by over 6,000 artists, Printed Matter's Chelsea store is a haven for bibliophiles and art-lovers alike.
Support the Arts the Asya Geisberg Gallery – 537 West 23rd Street (between 10th and 11th avenues)
Asya Geisberg (MFA 1999 Fine Arts) represents several MFA Fine Arts alumni, such as Matthew Craven (2010), Todd Kelly (2010), Julie Schenkelberg (2011), Gudmundur Thoroddsen (2011) and Trish Tillman (2009).
Expand Your Mind at the Rubin Museum of Art – 150 West 17th Street (between Sixth and Seventh avenues)
Dedicated to the art and culture of the Himalayas, India and neighboring regions, the museum hosts exhibitions, film screenings, concerts, talks and other programming.
Smell the Roses at the Chelsea Flower District – West 28th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues
The sidewalks are abloom along this block stretch of West 28th Street, where vendors display a variety of plants and flowers for sale right on the street.
Catch a Flick at the SVA Theatre – 333 West 23rd Street (between Eighth and Ninth avenues)
Located in the heart of Chelsea, the SVA Theatre regularly hosts film screenings and special events, including artist talks, symposiums and film festivals. Best of all, most events are free for SVA students, faculty and staff. Be sure to check out After School Special, SVA's alumni film and animation festival, featuring screenings and Q&As with industry insiders at the Theatre through Sunday, September 17. Remember to bring your own snacks, as the venue does not serve concessions.
LOL @ Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre – 307 West 26th Street (between Eighth and Ninth avenues)
Check out some of the freshest and funniest new voices in comedy at the Chelsea branch of the improv theater co-founded by Amy Poehler.
Be Cool at The Kitchen – 512 West 19th Street (between 10th and 11th avenues)
Founded in 1971, the legendary art and performance space has helped launch the careers of some of the most influential contemporary American artists, such as Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, SVA faculty member Dara Birnbaum, Robert Longo, Cindy Sherman and many more.
BONUS: Get Creative at the SVA Fine Arts Building – 335 West 16th Street (between Eighth and Ninth avenues)
Among the facilities open to students are the Nature and Technology (BioArt) Lab, Sculpture Center, metal shop, and more.
Five Local Eats:
Artichoke Pizza – 114 10th Avenue (on the corner of 17th Street)
A favorite of Jieun Yoon (BFA 2016 Design), stop in for their signature cream-and-artichoke slice.
Momofuku Nishi – 232 Eighth Avenue (between 21st and 22nd streets)
Momfuku Nishi, from famed restaurateur David Chang, serves up dishes that are a hybrid of Korean and Italian tastes. Bridget Badore (BFA 2013 Photography) recommends the ceci e pepe, Nishi's take on the classic Roman dish of buttery noodles topped with fresh ground pepper, but with traditional pecorino Romano substituted for a chickpea paste fermented in-house for nine months.
Café Grumpy – 224 West 20th Street (between Seventh and Eighth avenues)
Serving house-roasted brews and fresh-baked pastries, Café Grumpy is a local coffee shop that also sells wares featuring its unique grumpy coffee bean logo and a tote bag designed by Kate Neckel (MFA 2002 Computer Art).
Doughnut Plant – 220 West 23rd Street (between Seventh and Eighth avenues)
Located in the historic Chelsea Hotel (once home to famed artists, musicians and writers such as Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe and Bob Dylan, among many others), Doughnut Plant is a favorite of Theresa Chiechi (BFA 2017 Cartooning) because of their "awesome handmade, very unique donuts," which include coconut lime, fresh blueberry and their famous blackout.
Chelsea Market – 75 Ninth Avenue (between 15th and 16th streets)
Housed in a former National Biscuit Company factory, the Chelsea Market features a variety of food stalls, restaurants and markets, which serve everything from sushi to pancakes to oysters.