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  City Hall Library Notes, AUGUST 2011


By Christine Bruzzese

A Project of the Design Trust for Public Space with Friends of the High Line

Chelsea is located on the west side of Manhattan bounded by the Hudson River on the west and Avenue of the Americas on the east, extending from W.14th Street to W.30th Street. Many historic buildings are located here, and the neighborhood has been home to famous people. The High Line railroad tracks, now under redevelopment, are also part of Chelsea. This article focuses on some resources in the City Hall Library collection about Chelsea and the High Line.

Turn West on 23rd: a Toast to New York’s Old Chelsea by Robert Baral was published in 1966. This book chronicles the story of Chelsea in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when it was the home of the Ziegfeld Follies, the old Madison Square Garden and a mecca for celebrities such as O.Henry, Sarah Bernhardt and others. Learn more about the nightlife, theaters, scandals and adventures in early filmmaking that happened in old Chelsea.

Chelsea Today, Chelsea Tomorrow: a Plan for Preservation and Development was prepared by the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. This study was commissioned by the Chelsea Planning and Preservation Committee of Manhattan Community Board no. 4. Various issues such as land use, housing, economy and demography are examined

Reclaiming the High Line was a study undertaken by the Design Trust for Space and the Friends of the High Line. This elevated rail viaduct runs along the West Side of Manhattan including Chelsea. Built in 1930 as part of the West Side Improvement program, it has not been utilized since the early 1980’s. Suggestions for use of the High Line as public space are presented here. Also included are numerous photographs, maps and diagrams along with a chronology of the High Line and West Side Improvement from 1847 to the new millennium.

Other resources of interest are Historic District Designation Reports and Landmark Designation Reports from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Philip Habib & Associates prepared the Special West Chelsea District Rezoning and High Line Open Environmental Impact Statement for the Department of City Planning in 2005. Both the draft and final Statements are in the City Hall Library collection. Vertical files on the High Line and the Chelsea neighborhood include newspaper articles and other clippings.


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