13 December 2010

Adventures 2010, No. 1 -- An Afternoon in Chelsea

Because the end of the year is almost here I've decided to do a year-in-review column where I'll talk about some of my favorite adventures of 2010.

I travel to New York regularly and have realized that the city is too big, too wonderful to explore all at once, so I've decided to break down my adventures by neighborhood. At the end of the year, however, I'll take on the city in its entirety and put together my ideal weekend in New York as a whole.

For now, let's start in Chelsea. A good friend recently had a baby, so I've been spending a lot of time in her neighborhood. Chelsea offers everything I'm looking for in a day of exploration: art, fashion, greenspace and plenty of good food and drink.

My picks for an inexpensive afternoon in Chelsea:

Eat Your Way Through Chelsea Market
Jump-start your adventure with a cappuccino at Ninth Street Espresso. Last March The New York Times published an article about the best coffee shops in the city, and I've been tasting my way through the Manhattan locations ever since. This is one of the best of the best.

Lose yourself while browsing contemporary books and creative gift cards at Posman Books. This independent bookstore is one of those places that makes me want to stop everything to just sit down and read, or at least gift others with that pleasure.

Raw, vegan, organic One Lucky Duck is a favorite stop if I want something healthy and filling after a yoga class. Try the spanking, a rich shake made with fresh coconut, blueberry, banana, cashew milk, cinnamon and vanilla.

Stroll the High Line
Enjoy an elevated view of the city as you make your way uptown.

Get Your Culture for Free at the Chelsea Galleries
The area from 22nd-26th streets and between 10th and 11th avenues and surrounding areas are filled with contemporary art galleries, some with museum-quality art. I get exhausted if I spend too much time looking at art, but am rejuvenated and revitalized if I give myself just an hour or two. On my most recent visit I stuck with 22nd street and wandered through most of the galleries and shops on just that street. I'm sure I missed a lot of great shows, but I also felt refreshed when I was finished.

Pace Wildenstein puts together museum-quality shows. They're currently showing photographs by one of my favorite artists, Hiroshi Sugimoto. (Nov. 6-Dec. 24)

Stop by Balenciaga and Comme des Garcons. Both out of my price range, but interesting spaces and the details of the clothes are incredible and worth a look up-close.

Enjoy Peace and Quiet on the Hudson River Park
Sit on bench and enjoy the book you picked up at Posman Books as the sun sets over the Hudson River. Savor the golden light on the Statue of Liberty as you nibble on a snack saved from Chelsea Market. Or if it's too cold, talk a brisk walk along the water and relish the peace and quiet that you found in Manhattan, just a few avenues from all the hustle and bustle.

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