Chelsea Market in New York is a bit of an oddity when it comes to New York City retail. The market occupies the first floor of a former industrial space that was transformed into an interesting mix of shops, restaurants, and public space.
The market is located in an old factory building that was once occupied by the New York Biscuit Company (now Nabisco), which produced Vanilla Wafers and Oreos in its sprawling complex in this area of Manhattan.
The main thoroughfare through the market is a long corridor that runs for an entire city block. The market still maintains an industrial feel with exposed ceiling elements and hanging lights, but is softened by the presence of shops selling flowers, books, and baskets.
There is a transparent feel to the whole thing, with glass windows that allow visitors to look straight into the shops from the walkway.
One of the highlights of the market is Amys Bread, where you can peer through the windows and watch the bakers mix the dough and shape the bread. Other fun places include the Nutbox, where you can make your own trail mix, and The Lobster Place, an enormous seafood store with fresh crabmeat, oysters, sushi, and more.
There seems to be a disproportionately large number of bakeries, but who can complain about having too many cupcakes to choose from? Its actually quite fitting considering the old building used to be part of a large-scale bakery itself.
There are several restaurant options but the overall atmosphere lacks a certain warm and inviting feel that most would prefer with a restaurant. We think the market is more appropriate for lunch or a snack rather than a sit-down dinner. And since there's free WiFi, feel free to stay for a while.
In a city chock full of eye-popping tourist attractions, Chelsea Market may not be at the very top of your list, but it is certainly worth a stop if you are already in the area. It also makes a great indoor activity for bad weather days.
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