Initial New York Site Idea: Chelsea & The Hudson

With New York being a vibrant and bustling city, with so many interesting areas, it was going to be hard to look into an area to initially base my project on stories of people and objects.

Visiting New York earlier in the year, I really found the area of Chelsea interesting. I loved the cobbled streets, the frozen Hudson river and the quietness compared to central Manhattan. Researching further into the area allowed me to learn about its huge art scene, with many galleries (around 300!) paving the streets and The High Line, a disused rail track turned into a public space. I was also intrigued to learn more about The Hudson River, and the part it plays in New York History and how it relates to Chelsea and the Stories theme. Chelsea is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in New York City, as it was founded in 1750 by Thomas Clarke who had come across from England, and named the area after Chelsea in London. It was an industrial area and many different types of people have walked through its doors.

I discovered that the Chelsea Piers, which creep into the Hudson, used to be the first point of call for many immigrants coming to New York (before registration on Ellis Island), in addition to being a port for huge ships coming in across the atlantic. The ill-fated Titanic was scheduled to dock at the Chelsea Piers on 16th April 1912- the conclusion of it’s maiden voyage. Sadly, this was never to happen, although the 675 passengers saved from the sinking ship did make it on the 20th April.

After decades of service, the piers were no longer needed for transatlantic shipping, and fell into disrepair and were scheduled for demolition. Although some were saved and now mainly harbour a sporting complex and park.

There was also a 13th Avenue in New York, a little known fact, but it was demolished for the building of the piers. A secret part of New York history.

I’m also quite intrigued to learn more about The Hudson River, and the secrets that it withholds and what lies under its water.


The stories of the people and events that happened around this area and it’s location within a less eclectic part of New York could make for a fascinating area in which to base my building and uncover the local secrets.

In terms of the drawing, I want to try and incorporate some of the stories and historical events into it


/Users/elyssa/Documents/POSTGRAD/MArchD Yr 2/DS7/New York Site P


New York Chelsea Hudson flat

One thought on “Initial New York Site Idea: Chelsea & The Hudson

  1. Great choice of site – I like the idea of river being involved and the idea of migration, thresholds, entry and registration are interesting – how were people arriving at the chelsea pier being recorded prior to this being shifted to Ellis Island? What are the objects that would tell stories about this area? How can you draw your site to reflect this? At the moment the drawing relies too much on the pictorial – how can you give importance to the river versus the city or redraw the city with chelsea at its centre to emphasise the importance of the area and then highlight the specific storytelling aspects within it? This is an interesting article about the ways maps are drawn to reveal bias or a skewed perspective – if you look at the Saul Steinberg drawing that was on the cover of the New Yorker in 1976 places Manhattan in the foreground followed by the Hudson River and it really frames the reading of the rest of the world with Mexico and Canada as little blank patches on the boundary of the image near the frame: – keep working on it to really draw what you successfully evoke with your written description of the site – the river carrying new people into the city with new stories, objects and lives to enrich the city, art and industry, what happened and what almost happened…

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