Tag Archives: Clement Clarke Moore

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Seven Walking the Borders of Northern Chelsea/Flower District from West 28th to West 23rd Street from Sixth to Twelve Avenues May 31st, 2022

After a few weeks of touring around New Jersey for a historical weekend, traveling to see my mother for Mother’s Day and running in and out of the City with me finally returning to Soup Kitchen and posting my grades on my class’s successful group project on “Rocking it in Rutherford”, I was finally able to get in Manhattan and continue my walk around the island. I finally was able to get into the main part of the Chelsea neighborhood.

After a long morning in the Soup Kitchen, I planned the entire day out. We were really busy that day as we have increased the productivity by a hundred bags to give away with the food distributed to the homeless. I was told that the need is getting bigger, and we had to increase the numbers. It is a sad state of this economy right now. These lines are just getting longer. This is the one thing I like about volunteering here is that you are part of a solution rather complaining about the problem.

After I was finished for the day and a little snack to tide me over, I started my walk around the border of the northern part of the Chelsea neighborhood. What was nice was it was right out the door of the church, and I started the walk down West 28th Street which it shares with the border of Hudson Yards/West Chelsea. I got to revisit this part of the neighborhood again.

What I did learn from walking the neighborhood was more about the history of The Church of the Holy Apostles. The Church of the Holy Apostles was built between 1845 to 1848 and was designed by architect Minard Lafever with the stained-glass windows designed by William Jay Bolton (Wiki).

The church has always been progressive, and it was rumored to be part of the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. The church had been an extension of the Trinity Church downtown for the working-class people in the area. Now it also runs the second largest Soup Kitchen in the United States. The biggest is in San Franciso (Wiki).

The Church of the Holy Apostles at 296 Ninth Avenue feels like a second home to me

https://holyapostlesnyc.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Holy_Apostles_(Manhattan)

It was also convenient in that it was where I needed to start my walk on the edge of West 28th Street where the church is located right across from Chelsea Park south of the northern section of Hudson Yards and right across from the Lower Garment District (please read my blogs on walking these parts of Manhattan as well).

What I never noticed in the almost 17 years that I have been volunteering at the Soup Kitchen was that it was a park. Chelsea Park is located across the street at the corner of Ninth Avenue and between West 28th and 27th Streets. I had always thought this was part of P.S. 33, the elementary school next door complex. There is a whole separate park behind that corner.

Chelsea Park during the summer months

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/chelsea-park/facilities/playgrounds

Chelsea Park extends all the way to Tenth Avenue with soccer and basketball courts and places for people to not just run but relax under the blanket of trees in the summer. Facing Ninth Avenue in a small courtyard is the statue of the ‘Chelsea Doughboy’.

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/chelsea-park

“The Chelsea Doughboy” Memorial (NYCParks.org)

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/chelsea-park/monuments/232

The statute was designed to honor the war veterans of WWI. The term “Doughboy” no one is too sure where it originated. Some think from the fried dough dumplings that the soldiers eat or maybe from the way their uniforms looked which were a little baggy or from the dough clay that they used to clean their uniforms (NYCParks.org).

The statue was designed by artist Philip Martiny.

Artist Philip Martiny

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Martiny

Artist Philip Martiny was a French born American artist who settled in New York when he immigrated here in 1878. He was a contemporary of artist August Saint-Gaudens and known for his decorative styles in the Beaux-Arts fashion. He created many sculptures for buildings in New York City and Washington DC (Wiki).

I walked past Chelsea Park on the way to Tenth Avenue and walked all along the borders of the park. The park is becoming a homeless encampment. I have not seen anything like this since Mayor Guiliani closed Thompkins Square Park in the East Village and then fenced it off to the homeless and renovated it. There were people sleeping all over the place even by the small playground that the kids were playing in. It really is beginning to show the state of the City now. The bathrooms were even locked to the patrons.

The track area was pretty much empty and what was really a shocker is how the neighborhood again changes at the Tenth Avenue border. This part of the neighborhood has gotten extremely expensive that was documented in the documentary “Class Divide” on the changes of the neighborhood due to the Highline.

“Class Divide” by HBO. The sound is muted but you can see it with subtitles

On the other side of Chelsea Park is some of the newest and most expensive real estate in Manhattan, a lot due to the Highline. The Highline is an elevated walkway that starts on West 30th Street and extends to West 19th Street and has in recent years set the tone for this part of the neighborhood.

The Highline Park was created from a remnant of the former New York Central railroad spur that was elevated above the roads below. In 2006, there was a neighborhood effort to save it and create an urban park. Now the 1.45-mile park supplies an elevated greenery above the neighborhood which has created expensive real estate on all sides of the park (Wiki).

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/the-high-line

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Line

The Highline Park was designed by James Corner Field Operations, Piet Oudolf and Diller, Scofidio and Renfro.

As I passed the Highline Park, I passed the most unusually designed building at 520 West 28th Street. The building is a residential complex known as the Zaha Hadid Building after the architect who designed it Zaha Hadid. It was one of her only residential complexes that she designed and one of the last buildings she created before her death. The building is designed with curvilinear geometric motifs (Wiki).

520 West 28th Street-The Zaha Hadid Building (Streeteasy.com)

https://streeteasy.com/building/520-west-28th-by-zaha-hadid

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/520_West_28th_Street

https://www.zaha-hadid.com/design/520-west-28th-street/

You will be passing a lot of construction going on by the time you get to Twelve Avenue. Buildings are being renovated and rebuilt and all new buildings are popping up on the edge of this now very trendy neighborhood. What was once dock yards and parking lots is becoming high end office buildings for “Silicon Alley” as the Tech industry is called in New York City.

At the end of the block is Hudson River Park, a strip of green park created on this side of Manhattan under the Bloomberg Administration (God are we now missing those years!). This little strip of park at the end of West 28th Street has some interesting views of Edgewater, NJ. The afternoon I visited the park, there were a few joggers and dog walkers making their way through the park. The strip gets smaller along Twelve Avenue until you walk to about West 42nd Street by the Circle Line boat ride.

As you enter the park, there is a very unusual set of sculptures entitled ‘Two Too Large Tables’ by artists Allan and Ellen Wexler. Two Too Large Tables consists of two elements. Each is constructed of brushed stainless steel and Ipe wood.

One piece has thirteen chairs extended up to become columns that raise sixteen square feet plane seven feet off the ground. In the second piece, the same chairs act as supporters to lift a sixteen square feet plane 30 inches off the ground. The first functions as a shade pavilion, the second as a community table. As people sit, they become part of the sculpture. People sitting together, forming unusual pairings because of the chair groupings (Artist bio).

Two Too Large Tables in Hudson River Park (Artist bio)

http://www.allanwexlerstudio.com/projects/two-too-large-tables-2006

Artist Allen Wexler

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Wexler

Artist Allen Wexler is an American born artist from Connecticut and studied at Rhode Island School of Design where he received his BFA and BS in Architecture. He studied and earned his MS in Architecture from the Pratt Institute. He is known for his multiple disciplines in art (Wiki).

The trip up Twelve Avenue is less than exciting. There is a tiny strip of park along the river that is mostly behind fencing. On the other side of the street is construction holes and fences from all the planned buildings that will start raising along the avenue.

The one place where there was some action was BLADE Operations at the Hudson River Park where helicopters were flying in. It reminded me of the opening scene of the Peter Bogdanovich film “They All Laughed” that I had just seen at the retrospect of the director’s work at the MoMA.

“They All Laughed” trailer by Peter Bogdanovich is a true Manhattan film

I made the turn down Twelve Avenue and here you have to watch because of the all the construction going on. There is so much building going on along the avenue just watch out for scaffolding and unpassable sidewalks along the Hudson River waterfront.

You will pass some very impressive buildings that are part of New York’s “Silicon Valley” including the well-known Starrett-Lehigh Building that has changed the complexity of the businesses in this neighborhood.

The Starrett-Lehigh Building at 601 West 26th Street

https://starrett-lehigh.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starrett%E2%80%93Lehigh_Building

The building was built and finished in 1931 for the Starrett Corporation and the Leigh Valley Railroad as a freight terminal. The building was designed by the architectural firm of Cory & Cory and in 1998 went through a renovation as a office building. It is currently going through another renovation that will be completed in 2023 (Wiki/Starrett-Leigh website).

As I crossed the street from Hudson River Park I passed the renovations of Chelsea Waterside Park. This is the park where last year I started “The Great Saunter Walk” last year on the Summer Solstice. The park had a ‘Butterfly Garden’ that people were working the morning that I started the walk. The park is going through a full make over and the plans for it look amazing.

Chelsea Waterside Park at 557 West 23rd Street (Hudson River Park Archives)

The renovations are in the works right now

When you walk through Hudson River Park, it is the nicest place to take a rest and sit under a tree to cool off. The park has the most amazing breezes and views of the river and neighboring New Jersey.

As I was walking around one of the wooded piers admiring the view, I came a across a grouping of stones that looked unusual with the way that they were set. The grouping was a sculpture garden by artist Meg Webster entitled “Stonefield”.

“Stonefield” by artist Meg Webster

This landscape sculpture consists of large stones chosen from quarries in New York State and the northeast corner of Pennsylvania. They were selected for their special shapes and unusual sculptural qualities. Some are colorful, some are concave, some craggy, one is very tall. The artist views each stone as special and arranged each to showcase its unique characteristics and individual “being-ness” (Hudson River Park.com).

Artist Meg Webster

http://megwebsterstudio.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meg_Webster

Ms. Webster is an American born artist who has a BA from Old Dominion University and MFA from Yale University. She works with natural materials such as salt, sand and earth known for her Post-Minimalism and the Land Art Movement. She is known for her sculpture and installation work (Wiki).

Artist Meg Webster talks about her artwork

As you pass the fencing of the renovations, watch out for the traffic with its lots of busses, cars and bicyclists. It is almost as if no one sees traffic lights or pedestrians. Look both ways when you cross from the park to West 23rd Street.

West 23rd Street is a combination of new construction and historic buildings showing how the neighborhood is transitioning but with a historic element. Not only a residential but interesting commercial strip with engaging shops and very reasonable restaurants and take-out places. It is a real New York neighborhood.

Between Twelve and Eleventh Avenues, you are seeing the development around the High Line Park. All the new modern structures are being built around the pathway park which is influencing this part of the neighborhood.

When you reach between Tenth and Ninth Avenues, you arrive at the brownstones of the Chelsea Historic District, which was once part of the Captain Thomas Clarke estate that was separated into townhouse lots that have been changed and altered since the original parcels were created in 1835. His descendant, Clement Clarke Moore, created the neighborhood plots for the townhouses.

The creation of the neighborhood of “Chelsea” from the Captain Thomas Clarke Estate

The official Historic District

Author Clement Clarke Moore

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clement_Clarke_Moore

You can read about this more on my blog ‘Day One Hundred and Thirty-Four: Victorian Christmas Tour Walking the Ladies Shopping Mile’:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/8713

This block of the neighborhood is a combination of interesting stone townhouses on one side of West 23rd Street and the other side of the street is turn of the last century apartment buildings. When you are walking west towards the Hudson River, take the time to admire these last 19th Century buildings. The official historic district does start one block below on West 22nd Street.

Once you cross over Eighth Avenue, the rest of the street is a combination of commercial businesses with a mixture of residential either on top or to the side of these establishments. What I love about Chelsea is that it is a treasure trove of reasonable restaurants that dot the street all the way to Sixth Avenue.

Just off the corner of Eighth Avenue is Lions & Tigers & Squares at 268 West 23rd Street, which has the best Detroit style pizza that I have tasted in New York City. The sauce and cheese are baked into the sides of their pizza, and they really load down on the toppings.

Lions & Tigers & Squares at 268 West 23rd Street

https://www.lionsandtigersandsquares.com/

Don’t miss their sausage or pepperoni pizza which has a heavy covering of spicy sliced pepperoni and the sweet sausage that is topped with maple syrup. Their pizza has a crisp outside and a pillowy inside.

The Sausage and Pepperoni Pizza here is just excellent

Just next to Lions & Tigers & Squares is Lucky’s Famous Burgers at 264 West 23rd Street. This amazing little restaurant serves the best burgers and chicken fingers. Their French Fries come in a little sack that can serve two people.

Lucky’s Famous Burgers at 264 West 23rd Street

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

When I had lunch there recently when I was finishing my walk around West Chelsea/Hudson Yards, I had the juiciest twin Cheeseburgers and a bag of fries. Their burgers are so fresh and well-cooked and topped with lots of fresh vegetables. They are so well caramelized on the outside that the burgers have such a good flavor when combined with the toppings.

The Mini Cheeseburgers with fries are excellent at Lucky’s Famous Burgers

In between the blocks there was some unique buildings that stood out amongst the more modern apartment and post WWII buildings. Tucked in here and there are traces of the Victorian past of the neighborhood.

At 244 West 23rd Street is a beautifully embellished building in brick and cream colors was built in 1900 by developer Isidor Hoffstadt. Decorations of garlands adorn the windows and top of the building and some of the upper floor windows are surrounded by archways. It now contains twelve lofts with multiple bedrooms (Daytonian in Manhattan).

244 West 23rd Street is amazingly detailed

https://streeteasy.com/building/244-west-23-street-new_york

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2012/05/sports-film-history-and-modeled-clay.html

A few doors down are one of the most famous hotels still under scaffolding after a few years of renovations. The Chelsea Hotel at 222 West 23rd Street was built between 1883 and 1885 and was designed by architect Philip Hubert from the firm of Hubert, Pirrson & Company. The hotel is designed in the Queen Anne Revival with a combination of American Gothic (Wiki).

The hotel had originally opened as a cooperative and a home to artists and members of the theater community, but the concept changed in 1905 when it reopened as a hotel. The hotel has gone through several management changes over the years. In early 2022, the Chelsea Hotel reopened again as a hotel when the interior renovations were finished.

Hotel Chelsea at 222 West 23rd Street (Wiki)

https://hotelchelsea.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_Chelsea

What has made the Hotel Chelsea so famous over the years are the artists and theater people who have lived at the hotel over the years and have used the hotel for their own creativity. Music, books, movies and story lines have been written here over the years by some of the most creative minds in history.

The hotel was a catalyst for the creative set. Notable famous residents included Mark Twain, Dylan Thomas, Allen Ginsberg, and Joseph O’ Neil, who when living here with his family was influenced by the hotel when he wrote ‘Neverland’. Film stars including Dennis Hopper, Elliot Gould and Warhol star Edie Sedwick had stayed at the hotel at various times. Musicians and singers Madonna and Janis Joplin both resided in the hotel and Sid Vicious’s girlfriend, Nancy Spungen was found stabbed (Wiki).

On the corner of Eighth Avenue are three restaurants I have noted many times in this blog for either their creative cooking or their cheap eats. These are real neighborhood restaurants.

The first one being Chelsea Papaya at 171 West 23rd Street, which was the starting point when I had breakfast last summer when I started “The Great Saunter” walk on Father’s Day. The breakfasts here are just amazing. The pancake platter was out of this world and their breakfast sandwich Bacon Egg and Cheese was delicious.

Chelsea Papaya at 171 West 23rd Street is great for all meals

https://www.chelseapapayany.com/

Next door to it is Pizza Gaga at 171 West 23rd Street for $1.50 slices and $1.00 cans of soda. This is my ‘go-to’ place when I need a quick snack and then need to dash on the subway to go somewhere else.

The cheese pizza at Pizza Gaga at 171 West 23rd Street is really good

https://www.pizzagagamenu.com/

A few doors down is Excellent Dumpling House at 165 West 23rd Street. I have only eaten there once but the food was pretty good that evening but it still warrants a second trip because the raving that it got online did not live up to the hype of the food. The Soup Dumplings I had that night were large but did not have that much flavor.

Excellent Dumpling House at 165 West 23rd Street

https://excellentdumpling.nyc/

At the corner of the neighborhood on Sixth Avenue and West 23rd Street at 100 West 23rd Street is the second Macy’s Department Store building. This was on the very edge of the Ladies Shopping Mile that once stretched along Sixth Avenue.

The building was built in 1871 and you can see all the elaborate embellishments on it with interesting stone carvings and elegant window design and some wrought iron details on different parts of the building. It was the last location of the store before it moved to its current location at 151 West 34th Street.

151 West 34th Street (Renthop.com) is an old Macy’s

https://www.renthop.com/building/100-west-23rd-street-new-york-ny-10011

When you walk up Sixth Avenue, which Chelsea shares with the border of NoMAD (North of Madison Sqaure Park) was once the Flower District. This part of Manhattan used to be lined with whole vendors up and down the Avenue. When I was working at Macy’s in the early 1990’s, most of this neighborhood was rezoned for residential. Practically every block from West 35th to West 23rd Street was knocked down and rebuilt with new apartment buildings. So, the character of the neighborhood changes until you walk the side streets.

The edges of Chelsea share the border of what’s left of the Flower District, NoMad and Koreatown so when you turn the corner of Sixth Avenue to walk down West 28th Street, you walk right into what is left of the old Flower District. I walked from one side of West 28th to the other and made it back to Holy Apostles to go to the bathroom and then headed back down West 28th Street to sees sites and stores that I had visited when walking the neighborhood when exploring NoMad.

Behind the church is the housing that formally union housing for the International Ladies Garment Union housing, now known as “Penn South”, that was created in the 1950’s for housing for union workers. Contruction started in 1960 and these ten building still house some of the elderly members of the union. In the courtyard of building Seven is dedicated to Bayard Rustin, a civil rights and union member who lived there. There is a memorial plaque to him in the courtyard Wiki).

Activist Bayard Ruskin

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayard_Rustin

The plaque dedicated to the activities is outside Building Seven between Eighth and Seventh Avenues

As I traveled the border of the neighborhood on West 28th Street from Ninth to Sixth Avenues, I have never seen so much transition on a street. On one side of the street is the back part of my Alma Mater ‘The Fashion Institute of Technology’. It seems that the college is taking the back loading dock area and building an addition to the college.

On the other side of the street between Eighth and Seventh, the entire street has either been knocked down and rebuilt or older buildings renovated but the entire block between the two avenues is brand new. Since my initial trip almost two years ago, the entire block between Eighth and Seventh Avenue has been rebuilt with new buildings and the few remaining older buildings have been renovated for business offices.

As you cross Seventh Avenue at West 28th Street are the last remnants of the former “Flower District” which dominated these blocks here and along Sixth Avenue until the area was rezoned in the 1990’s. Now Sixth Avenue in this area is now apartment buildings and hotels. Still there are many commercial flower shops here and some amazing floral businesses along this block.

Mahir Floral & Event Designs at 156 West 28th Street is one of the nicest flower shops in the district (See my review on LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com). The store is so beautifully designed to showcase not only the flowers but the decorative items that they sell along with the plants and flowers.

Mahir Floral & Event Designs at 156 West 28th Street

https://mahirfloralevents.com/

There are all sorts of interesting design pieces that not only make the perfect gift but also to create the perfect event.

The store is so beautifully designed to showcase their items

Another wonderful store is Foliage Paradise at 113-115 West 28th Street. What I love about the store is the way it is designed when you walk through it. It is like walking through an enchanted tropical garden with paths down exotic trees and flowers on all sides. They have a big commercial and retail business according to the salesperson I talked to that day.

Foliage Paradise at 113-115 West 28th Street

In the front of the store when the weather is warm, it is lined with the most seasonal flowers and plants. When you walk through the store, it is like walking through an Amazon jungle in a warm climate at any month of the year. Just touring this store is fun.

Walking through Foliage Paradise is an experience

What brought back a lot of good memories when I walked down West 28th Street was walking past the Moxy Hotel at 105 West 28th Street. This was my starting point of my morning of walking “The Great Saunter Walk”, the 32-mile excursion around the Island of Manhattan over the summer of 2021 (before I pulled my back out).

The Moxy Hotel at 105 West 28th Street has the most amazing views

https://www.marriott.com/default.mi

My blog on Day One Hundred and Sixty-Seven: “The Great Saunter Walk”:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/13811

I had the most interesting room on the 10th floor with the most breathtaking view of Midtown Manhattan. I would just sit on the bed looking at the views before going to sleep. You have never seen a site than Midtown all lit up at night.

The Lower Garment District shares the border with the NoMAD and Koreatown neighborhoods and even over the last few months I have noticed some significant changes in the blocks that I had explored for the blog. Many buildings had been finished that were under construction or were in the process of being renovated. They still looked empty but there were better days ahead when they will be filled with the latest tech and advertising companies. Sixth Avenue is becoming a big commercial and residential neighborhood.

When I finished the walking the borders of the neighborhood, I doubled back to outside the Fashion Institute of Technology and took the subway to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden to see the Crawford Rose Garden which was in full bloom. All the flowers have been blooming two weeks in advance and with a series of rainstorms on the way I wanted to see the roses before the knocked all the petals off like it did with the Cherry Blossoms.

I took the 45-minute trip to the Gardens and walked around the rose garden, admiring the flowers colors and smells. The Cranford Rose Garden is one of the oldest sections of the Gardens and when they are in full bloom, they are just amazing to look at and wonder around. This is why you have to see them before the rains come. Roses have about a two-week blooming cycle.

The Cranford Rose Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

https://www.bbg.org/collections/gardens/rose_garden

After walking all over the rose garden, I explored the rest of gardens, admiring the Children’s Garden with all its plantings and the beauty of the Japanese Gardens even after the Cherry Blossoms were gone. You never tire of these gardens.

The heat had been getting to me all day and it was 93 degrees when I got to the gardens. When I reached the Cherry Blossom Tree lawn, I just stopped and laid down on the grass and just relaxed. I ended up falling asleep under one of the trees and just relaxed for an hour. I was exhausted from a long week.

After I left the gardens for the afternoon, I headed to Chinatown for a quick dinner. I have been watching all thirteen episodes of the Fung Brothers “Cheap Chinatown Eats” videos and I remembered this restaurant their friend mentioned on Catherine Street on the outskirts of Chinatown, more in the Three Bridges neighborhood, Shun Wei at 45 Catherine Street. So, I decided to go there.

Cheap Chinatown Eats Part 9 that mentions Shun Wei

By the time I got to Chinatown from Brooklyn, it was rather late in the day, so I ordered my meal and ate it in the park across the street. Sounds innocent enough but I could see the underlining stares that I got from the restaurant owners, patrons and patrons in the park.

I went to Shun Wei which had been mentioned in the “Chinatown Cheap Eats” video and I thought why not give it a try? I had passed the place many times when I was eating at Catherine Deli right next door (See review on TripAdvisor and DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com), so I gave it a try.

New Shun Wei at 45 Catherine Street

https://www.shunweinyc.com/

I did not want to order Chicken Wings but when I walked in there was a picture in the front window of a Boneless Roast Pork with Roast Pork Fried Rice and an Egg Roll for $9.95 and it looked really good. I also ordered a side of Fried Dumplings. So, I ordered that and waited for my order. The one thing about the restaurant is that it is located across the street from the Alfred E. Smith Houses and the Hamilton-Madison Houses and caters to the people who live there.

The Roast Pork with Pork Fried Rice was delicious

As I waited for my order to come out, I could see slight stares from the cooks making my food and from the other customers who walked in to get their orders. I guess people had not seen a 6:3 guy before. I just ignored it all and went to Alfred E Smith Park across the street from the restaurant to eat my meal. I figured with all the families in the playground and people sitting on the benches, there would not be any problems.

I noticed the same thing again. It was like I could see out of the corner of my eye people were doing their best in the park not to look at me, but I could see the subtle stares. I just enjoyed my dinner and watched it get darker in the park. I have to tell you that I really enjoyed the food, and they gave you plenty of it. I was stuffed when I was finished and even had to bring the egg roll home with me.

After dinner, I left the park and toured around Chinatown and its fringes. It is really getting scary that even before I went to Shun Wei most of the restaurants were half full or the ones on the fringes were almost empty on a Tuesday night. As I passed through East Broadway, Henry Street, Division Street and then walked up Elridge Street and then crossed onto Canal Street and walked back into Chinatown. At 9:00pm, everything was shutting down for the evening. I can see what the pandemic has done to this neighborhood.

Some of these restaurants used to closed at 11:00pm and some to even 2:00am to cater to the restaurant workers getting off. With more restaurants closing and “For Rent” signs in the windows, I can see the trickle-down effect of all of this. That and all the galleries moving into former restaurant and market spots, I have a feeling it will be in the near future we will be calling this “NoLoChi”, No Longer Chinatown.

As I said before, Manhattan just keeps morphing.

See my other blogs on Walking North Chelsea/Flower District:

Day Two Hundred and Thirty Seven: Walking the Borders of North Chelsea/Flower District:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/24014

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Eight: Walking the Avenues of North Chelsea/Flower District:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/24140

Day Two Hundred and Thirty-Nine: Walking the Streets of North Chelsea/Flower District:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/24212

Places to Visit:

Hudson River Park

Runs Along the Hudson River from West 72nd to West 23rd Streets

New York, NY 10001

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudson_River_Park

https://www.facebook.com/HudsonRiverPark

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d4545669-Reviews-Hudson_River_Park-New_York_City_New_York.html

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

990 Washington Avenue

Brooklyn, NY  11225

(718) 623-7210

http://www.bbg.org

Open:  Sunday and Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Friday 8:00am-6:00pm

Admission: Depending on the time of year/please check the website

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60827-d103900-Reviews-Brooklyn_Botanic_Garden-Brooklyn_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/2785

Places to Eat:

Lucky’s Famous Burgers

370 West 52nd Street/264 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10019/10011

(212) 247-6717/(212) 242-4900

https://www.luckysfamousburgers.com/

https://www.facebook.com/luckysfamousburgers/

Open: Sunday-Wednesday 11:00am-1:00am/Thursday 11:00am-3:00am/Friday-Saturday 11:00am-4:30am

My review on TripAdvisor for West 52nd Street:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d946855-Reviews-Lucky_s_Famous_Burgers-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2471

Lions & Tigers & Squares

268 West 23rd Street

New York, NY  10011

(917) 271-6772

http://www.lionsandtigersandsquares.com

Open: Sunday-Saturday-11:00am-4:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d14124878-Reviews-Lions_Tigers_Squares_Detroit_Pizza-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com”

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/766

Chelsea Papaya

171 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10011

(212) 352-9060

https://www.chelseapapayany.com/

Open: Sunday 10:30am-11:00pm/Monday-Wednesday 10:15am-11:00pm/Thursday-Saturday 10:15am-4:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d4812637-Reviews-Chelsea_Papaya-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/2267

Pizza Gaga

171 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10011

(212) 937-0358

https://www.pizzagagamenu.com/

https://www.pizzagagamanhattan.com/

Open: Sunday 12:30pm-7:30pm/Monday-Wednesday 10:30am-8:30pm/Thursday-Saturday 10:30am-4:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60763-d4870097-r841023222-Pizza_Gaga-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

Excellent Dumpling House

165 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10011

(212) 989-8885

https://excellentdumpling.nyc/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 11:00am-9:45pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60763-d13007843-Reviews-Excellent_Dumpling_House-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

New Shun Wei Chinese Restaurant

45 Catherine Street

New York, NY 10038

(212) 964-7590

https://www.shunweinyc.com/

Open: Sunday-Saturday 11:00am-9:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60763-d4277286-r841015410-Shun_Wei_Restaurant-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

The Ladies Shopping Mile

Day One Hundred and Twenty Eight-The Victorian Christmas Walking Tour of the Ladies Shopping Mile with the Cornell Club December 15th, 2018

On Saturday, December 15th, I met with other members of the Cornell Club to travel back to the Victorian Era and learn about the traditions of the Christmas past. We explored the Gramercy Park, Union Square and lower Sixth Avenue sections of the City to visit where a New York Victorian Christmas would be celebrated and honored.

We would be walking the old “Ladies Shopping Mile” that had been built up right after the Civil War when the disposable income  for Middle and Upper Middle Class residents had increased after the Civil War and people wanted to spend their money at the newly built department stores, shops and restaurants.  The Industrial Revolution was in full swing and shopping had changed with the development of the department store.

The tour took us past brownstones, parks, restaurants and old department stores that line the streets of Manhattan between East and West 21st Street to 23rd Street and along that stretch of Sixth Avenue which is lined with the old buildings that once housed some of New York City’s great department stores.

The tour started on a sunny morning in Gramercy Park just off East 21st Street right near the Gramercy Park Hotel at the Cyrus Field House at One Lexington Avenue. The plaque was laid on the side of the old home dedicated to the man who laid out the first Atlantic cable in 1858.  Cyrus West Field was a self-made man who founded his own business and retired at 33 with a fortune of $250,000 (about 6 million today).

Cyrus West Field

Cyrus West Field

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Cyrus-W-Field

He and his brother, David, an attorney had built twin mansions side by side facing Gramercy Park which was then being developed into a private park for the neighborhood in 1844 by Samuel Ruggles.

Samuel Ruggles

Samuel Ruggles, the creator of Gramercy Park

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_B._Ruggles

Cyrus West Field along with Fredrick Newton Gisborne, a Canadian inventor and electrician had laid out the first undersea cables. Partnering up, they laid the first successful cable line to Europe in 1866 after two other failed tries. Even with his successes, when his wife, Mary died in 1891 and his son’s banking business failed and his partner’s daughter in law was his sister, Grace who took ill and died later that year. Cyrus Field was vacationing in his summer home when he died as well (Wiki & the tour guide).

Field Mansion

The Field Mansion before it was torn down

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-lost-cyrus-w-field-mansion-gramercy.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_West_Field

Both his and his brother’s house were purchased by another banker who renovated them into one mansion. His business would later fail and he also was forced into bankruptcy. The houses were part of an ever changing New York neighborhood and were demolished and replaced by the Italian Renaissance apartment building that sits there today with the plaque neatly presented on the side of the building. A very interesting place for a colorful family history.

After we left the site of the Field Mansion, we toured the sides of Gramercy Park, which was created in 1844 by Samuel Ruggles, who developed the area as an exclusive enclave. The 22 acre site was once a swamp and the farm of James Duane, the son of the Mayor of New York and a direct descendant of Peter Stuyvesant, called ‘Gramercy Farm’.  The park was enclosed by a fence in 1833 and the parcels surrounding it were developed in 1840. The park’s landscaping was done by James Virtue and the park was surrounded by 39 lots whose owners had access to the private park. Today only those people residing in the 39 lots surrounding the park can have a key to it and help in the maintenance of the park (Wiki).

As we passed the park which looked a little sparse due to the time of the year with the exception of the pines and the Christmas Tree in the center of the park. Still you can see the elegance of the park and the constant upkeep of the landscaping. Behind the locked doors, it is almost a secret garden almost waiting to be discovered. Even today, you still need that key to open the door to the park and you have to live in the area to get in.

Christmas in Gramercy Park

Christmas Tree in Gramercy Park today

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gramercy_Park

While we were at the park, the tour guide gave us a little history of a Victorian Christmas and the rules and etiquette of the holidays under the rule of Queen Victoria and her marriage to Prince Albert who was from Germany.

When the marriage took place, Prince Albert had brought many of his traditions with him and introduced the Pagan tradition of bringing evergreen trees into the house. Since it was the only tree that was green during the long winter months, the Pagans brought it into the warmth as a sign of life. It was later decorated with sweets and small gifts then got more elaborate with candles and ornaments. Ornaments started to appear in 1853.

The idea of the Christmas card came in 1843 when Henry Cole created the first card with a simple message. By the 1880’s, the Victorians were sending out the cards in great numbers due to the advancement of the postal services, many of them handmade by the children of the house. Decorating the house got more and more elaborate. What had started with a simple tree and garland to decorate the doors and windows became more detailed with decorations.

Gift giving was once relegated to New Year’s Day but as Christmas became the more predominate holiday, gifts were given either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Initial gifts were things like small handmade trinkets and sweets and then moved to store bought gifts from the developing department stores that could be placed under the tree.

The Christmas Dinner had its roots in Medieval times but became more elaborate after the Civil War. During the Revolutionary War, Christmas Day meal was a family affair after church services but by the 1880’s as the Industrial Revolution started to change the way we lived, it became the feast we celebrate today.

Roasted meats like goose and duck were some of the things served but later turkey became a favorite for dinner. It became predominate on a middle class family table because the average turkey could feed a family nicely for dinner. Even Christmas crackers, which were invented by Thomas Smith in 1848 on an idea he saw in Paris on the way bon-bons were wrapped. He perfected them to ‘pop’ when they opened and were then filled with candies and small toys. This became part of the place setting.

Since the holiday was now being based around the family, things like parlor games and Christmas carols became family favorites.  Carols had started during Medieval times and had been brought back by the Victorians. The family was the center of the holiday and a family was only restricted by their budget.

There were also strict rules on visits during the preparation for the holiday. Our guide pointed out that when you visited a home leading up to the holidays, etiquette stated you stayed for about ten minutes and you only partook in the food that was laid out, such as a plate of Christmas cookies and you did not linger. The host had lots to do to prepare for the holiday and she did not want you stay and take up her time.

As we rounded the corner and the tour guide discussed the attributes of the park, he also talked about the history of the architecture that surrounds it. Many structures have a long and very interesting history.

James Harper House

4 Gramercy Park West

At 4 Gramercy Park West is the James Harper House, which almost resembles something you would see in New Orleans with its decorative iron work and graceful porches. The homes were built in 1846 for the James Harper, the Mayor of New York and one of the founders of Harper-Collins Publishing. The house was a Greek Revival design with an iron lace terrace with a mirror image of the home next to it with the exception of the lamps outside the house.

James Harper

James Harper, Mayor and Publisher

James Harper, Mayor Of New York City

History has said that the lanterns in front of the home are a throw back to the Dutch era when lantern bearers accustomed to escort the Burgomaster home with the proper dignity from the city tavern or another place of entertainment. The Dutch custom of placing special lamps at the mayor’s door was an aid to finding his house at night but by Harper’s day, it was just ceremonial. The customer ended with the establishment of Gracie Mansion as the Mayor’s residence(Ephemeral New York).

James Harper House II

3 & 4 Gramercy Park

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2013/12/nos-3-and-4-gramercy-park-west.html

https://streeteasy.com/building/4-gramercy-park-manhattan/1

Harper died in 1869 and the house stayed in the family until 1923. It was known also for being the rumored home townhouse for the book “Stuart Little” and again achieved fame for being on the cover of Bob Dylan’s 1965 album cover for ‘Highway 61 Revisited’ (Ephemeral New York & the tour guide).

From the Harper House , we visited the Samuel Tildon House at 15& 16 Gramercy Park South around the corner from the Harper House.  This historic townhouse was built in 1845 and the home of former New York Governor Samuel J. Tilden who was a fierce opponent of the Tweed Ring and the losing Presidential candidate in the 1876 election. He lived in the house until his death in 1886 (Wiki & tour guide).

Samuel Tilden House

The Samuel Tilden House

Samuel Tilden

Samuel Tilden Politician

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Samuel-J-Tilden

The house was combined and redesigned by Calvert Vaux with the row house next door to make the building it is today. The brownstone was considered the height of Victorian Gothic in residential architecture with Italian Renaissance style elements. Since 1906,  it now serves at the National Arts Club (Wiki & tour guide).

Samuel Tilden House II

National Arts Club at 15 Gramercy Park South

https://www.nationalartsclub.org/

The home at 16 Gramercy Park South, now the home of the Players Club has an interesting past as well. The home was bought by Edwin Booth, one of the great Shakespearean actors of the 19th Century and one of the founders of The Players Club. He was the brother of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln. He turned over the deed to the house in 1888 to the club (Wiki & tour guide).

The Players Club.jpg

The Players Club which was owned by Edwin Booth

https://theplayersnyc.org/

From the square of scandals and shame we moved to look inside the park where a statue of Edwin Booth stands. It was an interesting twist of events that he landed in New York City. The whole area was designated as the Gramercy Park Historical District in 1966 (Wiki & the tour guide).

Our next place to visit was the famous Pete’s Tavern at Irving Place at 129 East 18th Street. This famous bar/restaurant has been around since 1864 and has been a major watering hall for the neighborhood.  The building was originally known as the Portman Hotel and was built in 1829. It was known as a ‘grocery & grog” store and may have been serving alcohol since 1852 (Wiki).

Pete's Tavern

Pete’s Tavern is now an Italian restaurant

Welcome to Pete’s Tavern….the Tavern O. Henry made famous!

The writer O. Henry lived down the block at 55 Irving Place from 1903 to 1907 when the place was called Healy’s after Tom and John Healy,  who bought the restaurant in 1899. The famous writer included the name of the bar in a short story entitled “The Lost Blend” under the name “Kenealy’s”. It has been rumored that he wrote the well-known story “The Gift of the Magi” in the second booth from the front but it can not be proved (Wiki & the tour guide).

Washington Irving House III

The Irving House

Around the corner from Pete’s Tavern is 11 Commerce Street, the Irving House, the former home of Washington Irving’s sister. The Federalist style home was built in 1826 and was rumored to be where he wrote part of the book “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. No one was too sure where Washington Irving Jr. came from because Washington Irving did not have any children.

Washington Irving House.jpg

The Irving House at 11 Commerce Street

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-irving-house-new-york-new-york

Washington Irving

Washington Irving Author

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Washington-Irving

We left the Gramercy Park District which is slowly changing on the fringes of the Historic District from residential to modern hotels and apartments refigured into the older buildings of the neighborhood to the very modern and updated and hip Union Square Park.

Union Square Park was once the cross-roads from the old commercial part of Manhattan to the residential part of the island. When Manhattan was surveyed by John Randel for the Commissioner’ Plan of 1811 to create the grid of the island, Broadway angled away from the Bowery that would have been awkward to build on and it was decided to create a square at the union of the two streets. Samuel Ruggles, who had created Gramercy Park renamed the are ‘Union Square’ from its former name, ‘Union Place’. It was Ruggles who developed the area with streets and plantings at the park (Wiki & the tour guide).

At first the area was a fashionable residential area surrounded by brownstones and mansions but after the Civil War, the area gave way to a commercial shopping district that included Tiffany & Company and FAO Schwarz Toy Store. The area is now home to many upscale merchants and restaurants once again. It also has one of the biggest Farmer’s Markets in the City.

Union Square.jpg

Union Square today facing the once fashionable shopping district

https://www.unionsquarenyc.org/

From Union Square, our group walked to Sixth Avenue down West 17th Street to the start of the Ladies Mile Historic Shopping District. Today the area is still going through changes from discount superstores to advertising and communications companies but between the Civil War and World War I, the district was home to some of the most famous department and specialty stores of the time, places of worship and performance venues like the Academy of Music and Steinway Hall (Wiki & the tour guide). It is here where Victorian Christmas roots began.

We started the tour on West 17th Street and walked our way up Sixth Avenue while admiring the old department store buildings. One point that the tour guide wanted us to all note was the big windows on the second and sometimes third floor of the buildings. This was done when the old ‘Sixth Avenue El’ subway line used to travel down the avenue before the war so that people could see the clothes and fashions from the elevated subway cars. We walked up Sixth Avenue and we noted all the stores we passed and a little on the history of each store.

The old B. Altman & Company building located at 625 Sixth Avenue between West 18th and 19th Streets was once a luxury department store that catered to the strictly ‘carriage trade’ clientele of the time. It had been founded in 1865 by the Altman family on the lower East Side and progressed uptown to this location in 1877. It was originally designed by David and John Jardine, a New York architectural firm.

The store had been known for couture merchandise and fine furniture. As the clientele changed and moved uptown after World War I, the company moved the new store to Fifth Avenue and East 34th Street in 1906. The company went bankrupt in 1990 (Wiki, History of Department Stores & the tour guide).

B. Altman & Co.

B. Altman & Company store at 625 Sixth Avenue & West 18th Street

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._Altman_and_Company

Our next stop was at the old Siegel-Cooper Company Department store at 620 Sixth Avenue at 18th Street. The company was founded in 1887 by Henry Siegel, Frank Cooper and Isaac Keim in Chicago and opened their store on State Street.

Their second store opened in New York City in 1896 at 620 Sixth Avenue between West 18th and West 19th Streets. The store used innovative steel-framing, the first department store in New York to use this construction, to create the world’s largest store at the time (to be surpassed by Macy’s Herald Square). The offered a wide variety of dry-goods and shops including a art gallery, conservatory selling plants, a photo studio and a 350 seat restaurant . The store was designed by the firm of DeLemos & Cordes in the Beaux-Arts style (Wiki & the tour guide).

Seigal-Cooper Department Store

The Siegel-Cooper Company store at 620 Sixth Avenue

http://wikimapia.org/16891212/Simpson-Crawford-Simpson-Building

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2010/08/big-store-1896-siegel-cooper-department.html

The main floor featured a copy of David Chester French’s statue, The Republic inside a marble enclosed fountain on the first floor which the phase “Meet me at the Fountain” became the store slogan (Wiki & the tour guide).

Siegel-Cooper Department Store.jpg

The fountain that was at Siegel-Cooper

Yet by 1902, Henry Siegel sold the store and the company went bankrupt in 1915 and the store closed in 1917 and became a military hospital during World War I. Today the store is home to Marshall’s and TJ Maxx. It’s ornate outside is really hidden now.

We next moved on to the Simpson-Crawford Department Store at 641 Sixth Avenue between West 19th and 20th Streets, which once catered to the wealthy elite of Manhattan and beyond. The store was established in 1878 by Richard Meares and William Crawford as Richard Meares & Company. Meares left the firm a year later and William Crawford then partnered with Thomas and James Simpson to create Simpson, Crawford and Simpson. When Thomas Simpson died in 1885, the store became known as Simpson-Crawford (Daytonian in Manhattan).

Simpson-Crawford Department Store.jpg

Simpson-Crawford Store today at Sixth Avenue between West 19th and 20th Streets

https://www.flatirondistrict.nyc/discover-flatiron/flatiron-history/26/the-hugh-oneill-building

http://wikimapia.org/16891212/Simpson-Crawford-Simpson-Building

When James Simpson died in 1894, William Crawford became the sole owner and in 1899 with the rise of the great stores on Sixth Avenue, Crawford designed a new store of marble designed by William H. Hume & Son. The exterior of the store shined with polished marble and granite (Daytonian in Manhattan & the tour guide).

The store had many innovations at the time. It had the first escalator in the city, the first display windows with mannequins and large display windows that had to be created for the store. The store was stocked with the finest imported clothes, furs and laces and on the top floor was a restaurant that catered to 1200 guests (Daytonian in Manhattan & the tour guide).

Before the store opened, William Simpson retired and sold the store to Henry Siegel across the street who kept the tradition of the store going. When Siegel-Cooper Company collapsed in 1914, Simpson-Crawford was kept closed for three weeks and then reopened. Both stores closed one year later and the store was converted to mail order warehouse. Today it holds various stores (Daytonian in Manhattan).

Our next stop was in front of Hugh O’Neill’s Dry Goods Store at 655 Sixth Avenue between West 20th and 21st Streets. It was built by the firm of Mortimer C. Merritt in the neo-Grec style who built the four stages of the building between 1887-1890 (Wiki & the tour guide).

Hugh O'Neill II.jpg

The Hugh O’Neill Store when it opened in 1890

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O%27Neill_Building

https://www.flatirondistrict.nyc/discover-flatiron/flatiron-history/26/the-hugh-oneill-building

Hugh O’Neill had started a small dry goods business right after the Civil War in 1865 with a small store around Union Square. In 1870, he decided to build a trade on the middle market customer and offered discounts on goods. The four floors of merchandise contained laces, ribbons, clocks and on the upper floors women’s and children’s clothing (Wiki).

When O’Neill died in 1902, the shopping area had just began its decline and in 1906 it merged with Adams Dry Goods up the block.  A year later they both went out of business as the area gave way to manufacturing. The building today has been converted into condos.

Hugh O'Neill.jpg

The Hugh O’Neill store today

Our last store that we looked at and discussed was the former Adams Dry Goods Store at 675 Sixth Avenue between West 21st and 22nd Street.

Samuel Adams, a merchant who had been selling upscale clothing and furnishing to customers in the area decided to open a store on Sixth Avenue. He used the architectural firm of DeLemos & Cordes, who had designed the Seigel-Cooper Department Store and the six story building opened in 1902. The store was the first in New York City to use the new Pneumatic tubes to transport money and messages throughout the store (Wiki).

Adams Dry Goods Store II.jpg

Adam’s Dry Goods Store when it opened in 1902

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2010/10/1900-adams-co-building-675-sixth-avenue.html

http://wikimapia.org/16882716/Adams-Dry-Goods-Store-Building

The problem with the store was its location. He built the store at the very edge of the neighborhood as the business changed. As the shopping area started to decline in the early 1900’s, Adams sold the store to Hugh O’Neill Dry Goods Store and they merged the two companies together, converting three floors of the Adams Dry Goods store to furniture. This concept was not popular as well and the businesses failed and the store closed in 1913 (Wiki & the tour guide).

Adams Dry Goods Store.jpg

Adams Dry Goods Store today at Sixth Avenue between West 21st and 22nd Streets

The store has gone through a manufacturing stage and in the 80’s became part of the change to large box retailing. The building now houses eBay and several stores including Trader Joe’s and Michael’s. As we could see on the tour, the old department stores are finding new life in retailing.

The last part of our tour discussed one of the most famous Christmas poems, “A Visit from St. Nicolas” or known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, which was one of the first mentioning’s of Santa Claus in a modern form,  written in 1822 and published in 1823 anonymously. Some saw the poem as a social satire on the ‘Victorianization’ of Christmas (Wiki & the tour guide). Our tour guide said you really have to read into the poem to see what it is really saying about the times that it was written in. He noted really read the line “Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap” as the stress of the holidays and child rearing was even back then.

Twas the night before christmas.jpg

“A visit from St. Nicholas”

https://poets.org/poem/visit-st-nicholas

It was in 1837 that poet Clement Clark Moore claimed to be the author. Even today there is a controversy of who really wrote the poem, Clement Clark Moore or Major Henry James Livingston Jr. This discussion is still being debated today (Wiki).

Clement Clarke Moore.jpg

Clement Clarke Moore poet

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/clement-clarke-moore

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43171/a-visit-from-st-nicholas

Henry Livingston Jr.

Henry James Livingston Jr. Writer

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/henry-livingston

How the poem mixed well into the tour is that Clement Moore’s family owned an estate here on the area on West 23rd Street between Hudson River and Eighth Avenue from West 24th Street to West 19th Street. His home was at 348 West 23rd Street. He developed the area after donating a large portion of the estate to his church and created a residential neighborhood that still stands today.

Clement Moore Estate.jpg

The Clement Clarke Moore estate when he sold it into real estate parcels

https://thegreatestgrid.mcny.org/greatest-grid/selling-lots/87

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-lost-clement-c-moore-chelsea-house.html

I walked the entire neighborhood after we said our goodbyes on Ninth Avenue by the subway and discovered an ever gentrifying neighborhood of brownstones and small mansions. The one home that stood out amongst the brownstones was the James Wells Mansion at 400-412 West 27th Street.

James Wells Mansion III

The James Wells Mansion in Chelsea one of the most beautiful homes on the block

https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=127242

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/11/james-wells-house-at-no-162-9th-avenue.html

James N. Wells was a real estate broker and built the house in 1835 when Clement Clarke Moore developed this part of his estate. He built the grand house for his family. Sometime in 1866 after the Civil War, the house was renovated and a mansard roof was added to the house. It must have not stayed in the family too long after this as it was turned into a home for the aged in 1867 (Wiki). Today it has been restored by its owners to its grand glory.

The last part of the tour I visited the only spot that still carries the name of the family to know that the estate was located here and it was the Clement Moore Park at West 23rd to 22nd Streets on Tenth Avenue. The park was initiated by the West 400 Block Association to turn a neglected lot into a park and in 1965 it was opened to the public. When I visited the park that afternoon and others to complete the walk of the neighborhood, the park was closed for renovations.

Clement Moore Park.jpg

Clement Moore Park before the renovation

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/clement-clarke-moore-park

This is where I ended the tour that day. I walked this part of West 23rd Street from Sixth Avenue to Tenth Avenue on my own to see the development of the estate and how the gentrification of Chelsea was progressing. Let me put it this way, the Clement Clarke Moore brownstone was on the market in 2016 for 8.7 million dollars. I wonder how he would feel about that today?

Check out my Christmas blogs this year (2018) and my busy holiday season that stretched from the Hudson River Valley in New York State to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I swear my feet never touched the ground the whole holiday season.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

I want to add these two new Christmas songs by the late Jazz artist Al Jarreau and current up and coming artist Lindsey Webster for you all to enjoy. They got me through my Christmas Holiday season:

Christmas Morning by Al Jarreau:

It’s Gonna Snow on Christmas by Lindsey Webster:

Rather than display each property we visited, I attached the link for further reading.

Again everyone have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!