#379 How Chelsea Became a Neighborhood


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PODCAST What does the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea mean to you? Religion and architecture? Art galleries and gay bars? Shopping and brunch after a stroll on the High Line? Tens of thousands of people, of course, call it home.

But before it was a neighborhood, it was the Colonial-era estate of a British military officer who named his bucolic property after a London veterans hospital.

His descendant Clement Clarke Moore would distinguish himself as a theologian and writer; he invented many aspects of the Christmas season in one very famous poem. But he could no longer preserve his family estate when New York civic planners (and the Commissioners Plan of 1811) came a-calling.

Moore parceled the estate into private lots in the 1820s and 30s, creating both the exclusive development Chelsea Square and the grand, beautiful General Theological Seminary.

Slowly, over the decades, this charming residential district (protected as a historic district today) would be surrounded by a wide variety of urban needs -- from heavy industrial to venues of amusement. One stretch would even become "the Bowery of the West Side."

Further change arrived in the late 20th century as blocks of tenements were replaced with housing projects and emptied warehouses became discotheques and art collectives. Then came the Big Cup.

Join us as we celebrate over 200 years of urban development -- how Chelsea the estate became Chelsea the neighborhood.

Visit the Bowery Boys website for more information on Chelsea.

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