I’ll Meet You at Chelsea Market

The experience of Chelsea Market is best described by its own website: “…a sort of postindustrial theme park, carefully festooned with the detritus of a lost industrial culture, interspersed with food stores and restaurants.”

A perfect summary of the former home of the National Biscuit Company factory (of Oreo, Nila Wafer and Barnum’s Animal Cracker fame) turned million-dollar food court.

Vanderberg Architects modified this well-worn factory into a public space that manages to be both surreal and familiar.

Chelsea Market’s daring reuse of existing structures, playful sense of scale, and comforting blend of brick, wood and natural light are good lessons in sustainable re-use, warehouse district revitalization, or downtown core redevelopment. At the very least, it’s incredibly inspiring.

Like so many other places in New York, the architecture is livened up with a little chamber music for your ears (but avert your eyes or be guilted into leaving a tip!)

A creative take on the ubiquitous “mall fountain.”

No coins here, but it almost begs the question: “Water You Looking At?”

The food offerings at Chelsea Market are as exciting as the landscape itself.

I couldn’t wait to bite into my first tuck, an Australian meat pie kind of like a back-alley encounter between a quiche, a pie and a sloppy joe.

I found this tuck a little underwhelming, but I’d be interested in trying the other flavor combos like Thai chicken curry, vegetable chili or maybe even Guinness steak.

The Lobster Place was definitely the most popular.

There was crustacean murder and drawn butter all over the common-space.

But there’s a lot more going on at Chelsea Market than just lunch. Specialty markets and boutiques abound—as if Williams Sonoma exploded and all the good bits landed here.

Is this a picnic basket store or Yogi Bear’s not-so-hidden lair?

No, whey!

The crowds get thick fast. Chelsea Market is a popular destination.

After all this sight-seeing, I needed a refresher.

Oh great, a $9 organic smoothie should do the trick.

And for some reason, I don’t even mind paying the price. After all, the rest of the show is free.



What Do You Think?