A Quick Guide to Chelsea, New York City

Last month, I had the pleasure of meeting up with my childhood friend, creative muse, and playwright, Grace DeMorgan, in New York City, and decided to follow her around for half a day as she toured Chelsea in New York City. Check out our quick and easy guide on what to do in the area.

Grace DeMorgan Sydney Australian playwright tour guide to chelsea new york city
Grace DeMorgan Sydney Australian playwright tour guide to chelsea markets in new york city highline high line
Morning 

We met up at the Whitney Museum of American Art on 99 Gansevoort Street. There was already a line of people queuing up outside, so we'd recommend purchasing your tickets online beforehand (you can buy them up until midnight the night before your visit), which will cost you US$22 per adult. While cheaper than buying them at the museum on the day, keep in mind that your online ticket will have a set time and you can only enter up until 30 mins after that time - so don't be late! 

If you're not keen on paying to see the museum, drop by Untitled Cafe downstairs for a bite of breakfast, and be sure to check out the gift shop opposite it on the ground floor (just tell security that you're not there to buy a ticket for the museum so you can skip the queue), which sells an array of interesting books, art work, mugs and other collectibles.

Grace DeMorgan Sydney Australian playwright tour guide to chelsea in new york city whitney museum
Grace DeMorgan Sydney Australian playwright tour guide to chelsea in new york city whitney museum

We were both in need of a morning coffee, so we searched around for Jack's Stir Brew Coffee (at 425 W 13th Street) which has amazing reviews on Yelp. Much to our chagrin, we got hopelessly lost, and stumbled into the store Rag & Bone for help - only to discover that's exactly where the mysterious cafe is housed.

We settled down on some high stools for our morning fix, admiring the grungy, industrial warehouse look (my personal favourite) of the store and cafe, before wandering around Rag & Bone and admiring their collection of distressed jeans and casual chic jackets.

Grace DeMorgan Sydney Australian playwright tour guide to chelsea in new york city jack's stir brew coffee rag & bone
Grace DeMorgan Sydney Australian playwright tour guide to chelsea in new york city jack's stir brew coffee rag & bone
Grace DeMorgan Sydney Australian playwright tour guide to chelsea in new york city rag and bone

Given that it was a perfect Fall day, we decided to take a stroll along The High Line, the classic park strip built on top of a railway line, elevated above the streets of the Meatpacking District. Along the High Line, Grace found some amazing postcards with photo prints on them taken by iconic New York photographers.

Grace DeMorgan Sydney Australian playwright tour guide to chelsea markets in new york city highline high line
Grace DeMorgan Sydney Australian playwright tour guide to chelsea markets in new york city highline high line

Lunch 

After having walked for almost 40 minutes, we were both starving, so we headed over to the classic Chelsea Market on 75 9th Avenue (between 15th and 16th streets). We opted to eat at The Green Table, a rustic, organic farm-to-table restaurant.

Grace picked the fried chicken sandwich (US$19) while I choose the GT burger (US$17). We also select a half bottle of wine thinking that it would end up being cheaper than individual glasses - turns out a half bottle is not very much, so I'd recommend going with either a full bottle or purchasing by the glass.

We were also recommended the Rainforest Alliance Chocolate Ganache with candied olive macaron and rosemary (US$10) - and it was, quite frankly, a disappointment. As Grace summed it up succinctly: "who puts Rosemary in chocolate ganache?!"

Grace DeMorgan Sydney Australian playwright tour guide to chelsea markets in new york city green table
tour guide to chelsea markets in new york city green table chocolate rosemary ganache

Naturally, being inside Chelsea Markets, we swung by the very cool artists & fleas market, on 88 10th Ave and W 15th Street, which houses some of the most interesting independent jewelry, artwork, design, fashion, and vintage items. While I was obsessed with the make-your-own-jewelry stall, Grace had a penchant for the store selling feathered top hats and head pieces.

Grace DeMorgan Sydney Australian playwright tour guide to chelsea markets in new york city
Grace DeMorgan Sydney Australian playwright tour guide to chelsea markets in new york city

Afternoon

In order to make the most of the stunning weather, we strolled over to The Golf Club at Chelsea Piers for some driving range action at their golf facility, which allows you to pre-pay credit for golf balls onto an electronic card, and scan the card at the top at the driving range so that balls will automatically dispense (and be placed on the tee for you!). With club rental being super cheap (two clubs cost US$6 in total) and balls not costing much either (we paid off peak rates of US$25 for 148 balls), this is a great way to let off some steam while overlooking the pretty Hudson River.

guide to chelsea new york city golf club driving range hudson river
Grace DeMorgan Sydney Australian playwright tour guide to chelsea new york city golf club driving range
Grace DeMorgan Sydney Australian playwright tour guide to chelsea new york city golf club driving range

  1. The Whitney Museum is closed on Tuesdays, and has Pay-What-You-Wish on Fridays from 7-9:30 pm. Don't forget that the museum also has free daily tours at certain times - be sure to check online beforehand.
  2. For seafood lovers, we'd recommend skipping eating at a restaurant in Chelsea Markets and instead heading straight for their indoor fish market, where you can pick up 1.5 pounds of lobster meat (ready to eat) for US$26 (up from US$21 about a year ago though!).
  3. If you can, go to the driving range at Chelsea Piers during off-peak hours (which changes depending on the season) - although the prices stay the same, the amount of balls you get almost doubles.

Grace De Morgan is a Sydney-based playwright and copywriter. She is a co-founder of the theatre collective The Oligarchs and has written for Good News Week, OgilvyOne, MercerBell, The Roast, Seizure and the Sydney Morning Herald. You can find her on the internet at gracedemorgan.com.

Grace DeMorgan Sydney Australian playwright tour guide to chelsea new york city

xx Carmen & Grace

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