Downtown encompasses the area below 34th Street to the southern tip of Manhattan, and includes the following neighborhoods:
This neighborhood was named after the Flatiron Building at 23rd Street. It is generally bounded by 20th street, Union Square and Greenwich Village to the south; and 7th Avenue and Chelsea to the West. Flatiron has become one of the city’s more exciting areas for technology, commerce and nightlife. Union Square Park is the home of the best farmer’s market, which offers specialty, artisanal and other fresh local and regional foods year round. Whole Foods and Trader Joes are located here. The streets that line the Union Square Park are filled with restaurants that overflow with the after work crowd. However, there is no shortage of spots to meet for a more intimate meal or coffee.
- Gramercy Park
Roughly bounded by East 18th Street to East 23rd street and Park Avenue South and Third Avenue, Gramercy Park is home to the only private park in Manhattan. Only residents who reside along the park and pay an annual fee get a cherished key and access to the park.
Gramercy has a relaxed village charm that is quieter and more private than its neighbors’. It also has a longtime affinity to history and the arts. The National Arts Club and the Players Club, both based here, are private clubs originally founded to support, promote and educate people on the arts.
Gramercy is home to great restaurants. One of the most famous is Pete’s Tavern, New York’s oldest continuously operating bar that opened originally in 1864 and serves great Italian cuisine to this day. Another well-known establishment is Gramercy Tavern, owned by famous restaurateur Danny Meyer, which has been serving great American cuisine for over two decades now.
Located between Midtown and the West Village, Chelsea boasts a highly diverse population and a wide variety of architectural styles. The area above 23rd street by the Hudson River is post-industrial, featuring the recently opened High Line Park. To the south between 9th and 10th Avenues stand mid-19th century townhouses, a number of which have been restored as single-family homes. One very interesting relic is the Church of the Holy Communion that was once the famous Limelight disco.
Chelsea has become one of the world’s centers for modern contemporary art with over 370 art galleries. The sprawling recreational space, Chelsea Piers, introduced many New Yorkers to the area.
The Chelsea Market has an impressive collection of gourmet foods and restaurants. The Zones, extending the area south of 14th Street known as the Meat Packing District, is one of the city’s busiest nightlife centers
- Greenwich Village and The West Village
These neighborhoods stretch from 14th Street between the Hudson River and Broadway, with 6th Avenue demarcating the two. Greenwich Village was once the city’s counter culture capital and was home to famous artists and intellectuals. Today it’s one of the city’s most desirable and highly sought after neighborhoods. It’s the residential choice of many celebrities, well know fashion designers and Wall Streeters, as well as families and singles from all walks of life.
New York University has a significant footprint in the neighborhood. The heart of Greenwich Village is Washington Square Park with its impressive arch. Greenwich Village is known for its classically beautiful brick townhouses and apartments found on quiet tree-lined streets. There are also a few high rise buildings.
SoHo’s boundaries are Houston Street to the north and Canal Street to the South. Although the east and west borders are disputed, I’m stating that the Eastern border is Lafayette Street and the western border is the Hudson River.
The name SoHo refers to the area being South of Houston Street. Almost all of SoHo is included in the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District, which was designated by the New York City Landmarks to protect the historic cast-iron designed buildings in the neighborhood.
SoHo was once populated by artists who were attracted to the large loft spaces here. The resulting surge in the neighborhood’s popularity took the city by surprise, and soon, the luxury boutiques and galleries that catered to the art crowd were followed by many international designers like Chanel and Prada, as well as establishments like a Barney’s Co-op and an Apple store.
Certain areas of the neighborhood give off a relaxed chic downtown vibe with their cobblestone streets, traditional restaurants and European style coffee shops that have been delighting locals for years. The neighborhood’s art culture remains strong with the presence of cutting edge galleries like the Dietch Projects, as well as the annual Art Parade that brings out the art crowd.
- East Village
Located North Of Houston and South of 14th Street, the East Village has more of a “bohemian” downtown street style than the West Village. St. Mark’s Place or Eighth Street, found between Second Avenue and Avenue A, typically features older generation tenement-style apartments. For decades, the neighborhood was home to punk, rock, and jazz musicians, as well as denizens of artists and iconic clubs like CBGB and Electric Circus.
The easternmost section, called Alphabet City (the Avenues A-D), still carries some of the old East Village flavor, as long time residents, old and new bohemians , NYU students and young professionals dine and drink side by side in the area’s many bars and restaurants.
Home prices tend to be a little lower toward the river, though new developments have been steadily growing for some time. Tiny storefronts offering great treats compete with fine restaurants on the neighborhood’s narrow tree-lined streets, which are also lined with chic boutiques.
Tompkins Square Park is a lovely park that also has a dog run, making it a favorite haunt among the neighborhood’s dog owners and their pets. The area is served by the F train and the 4, 5 and 6. In some cases, subway stops are about a ten minute walk. City buses also run regularly on the Avenues.
- NoHo (North of Houston Street)
This neighborhood is bounded by Broadway to the West, the Bowery to the East, East 9th Street to the north and East Houston Street to the south. NoHo is primarily made up of loft apartments that make the neighborhood highly desirable. It consists of 20 square blocks, and is home to an unusually large number of “indie” antique and interior design boutiques, including design favorites like Vitsoe, The Future Perfect, Lobel Modern and Buco Vita. Upscale restaurants like Acme and Vics are found here, as well as leisure facilities like Soul Cycle. NoHo has transformed from being an artsy up-and-comer to a chic quarter. The kick-start of NoHo’s transformation can be credited to nightlife, hotel and real estate developer, Ian Schrager.
The neighborhood’s name stands for Triangle Below Canal Street. It started gaining its reputation as a residential neighborhood in the 1970’s when artists arrived in search of less expensive accommodations and studio space. The area’s unique industrial-age architecture of lofts, warehouses and market spaces, along with the lifestyle of the residents, were major influences that led to the popularity of “loft living” in the 1980s.
Tribeca has since become a sought-after neighborhood for anyone seeking spacious living quarters in an urban setting. Developers have converted many of the original warehouse buildings into luxury condos, including 101 Warren, 200 Chambers , Perline Soap lofts and 145 Hudson, to name a few.
The neighborhood’s historic, loft-lined streets are relatively quiet after business hours. There are fine dining establishments, neighborhood bistros and cafes that keep the residents’ sophisticated palates happy. The Tribeca Film Festival brings film lovers and industry types from around the world. The addition of the 92nd Street Y outpost has given residents and their families a cultural hub. Shopping is plentiful as well, with small shops run by local and international designers, and enough drug stores and delis to serve residents in the best Manhattan fashion.
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