Neighborhoods in New York are in a constant state of molting and growing. Gentrification has made sure of that.
But no neighborhood in Manhattan has undergone a change as pronounced -- and as swift -- as Chelsea.
The news here isn’t that the neighborhood has gone upscale; that’s been happening for a decade or more, as art galleries and upscale restaurants have colonized the area.
What’s new -- and what will accelerate in 2016 -- is the physical creep of the new Chelsea, which had stopped at 23rd Street, then 26th Street, and is now moving north towards 30th Street and beyond.
This was the year Hudson Yards began to take physical shape, and for the some of the promise of this massive new development to become clear. Top chefs signed on for the food court. Corporate tenants annouced sprawling new leases. Architectural renderings of luxury apartments in the sky began hitting glossy magazines.
Though Hudson Yards won’t be ready until 2017, the shift, and expansion, of Chelsea northward has begun.
The extention of the High Line to Hudson Yards means you can now walk from the Whitney, through the Meatpacking District, into the galleries, then all the way to Hell’s Kitchen in pruned, upscale luxury.
Clearly, Chelsea’s days as a special gem, tucked in between the Village and midtown, is long gone. What’s emerging is one of the city’s premiere culture playgrounds, sprawling a big chunk of the west side.
We can long for the days when this neighborhood was a smaller, quieter place. But those days are behind us, and 2016 will only bring more of the same.