The One With The First Evening In Chelsea, New York

Views of Chelsea, New York

As I ascend the steps from the dismal-looking subway station to the ground of Chelsea, I could smell the icy-fresh wind and the occasional whiff of spring. I can’t believe I am here, in New York! When finally the best of Chelsea came into view, I was stunned into a broad grin that I couldn’t wipe off my face.

Views of Chelsea, New York

Chelsea has a wonderful mix of everything – a great nightlife, a slew of art galleries, a dizzying menu of gourmet choices, and a location that was neither too south not too north for travelers who are most happy on their feet. Exploring this town on feet is a great choice; especially so during my trip, when signs of spring were, well, literally springing up wherever I go!

Chelsea International Hostel

The budget traveler in me compelled my choice to this famous accommodation. Chelsea International Hostel has a festive, international scene, where the back patio could have served as a party central if it was not overrun by a gang of Spanish teens who seem to grow in number by the minute during my stay. The staff was, well, efficient, and the accommodation itself was comfortable, so I would rate it as “okay” – you get what you pay for.

Sunset at Hudson River Park

For the first time as far back as I could remember, I explored a new town without the use of a guidebook. Usually I will do the walking tour, but as Chelsea is famous for its galleries and I am not much of an art-lover, so I decided to explore the town on foot instead. Which brought me to the beautiful Hudson River Park, just in time to catch one of the most glorious sunsets I ever saw in my life.

Hudson River Park

All around me, the residents of Chelsea were all doing their thing; jogging, cycling, walking (the dogs), roller blading, hoola-hooping (no, really) and meditating (now, seriously!). It was an insight into what life could offer here in Chelsea, and I was incredibly grateful to have witnessed it in all its glory.

High Line, an elevated garden at Chelsea

Walking back from the riverside park, I stumbled upon The High Line, one of the two elevated parks in the world. Transformed from a set of abandoned (but long) railway tracks not used since the 1960s, this park encompassed a long swatch of West Side with green public space in total contrast with the somewhat gritty neighbourhood below and alongside this beautiful garden.

Rudin Museum of Art

Soon I returned to the Rubin Museum of Art. I was here earlier but was told that admission will be free after 7 p.m. I mean, how nice was that? I bet any other museum operators would want your ten bucks to get an admission and won’t bother to tell you that you could save that if you can come back later. So, come back later I did, though I have to say again, I am really not a museum kind of guy. Though my interest was piqued somewhat by an exhibition about deaths across culture. The Latin phrase, “memento mori” means “remember that you will die”.

You know, I am not a morbid kind of a person, but this exhibition of skulls, heavens and hell, tombs and what-nots has a ring of reality-check in it.

Dinner at Cafetaria, Chelsea

Dinner was an affair at Cafetaria, a gorgeous little eatery at a corner of Chelsea streets with a slew of equally gorgeous wait staff. The waiting list was a foot long, but I was lucky to be offered a basement pub seat since I was dining alone. It was incredibly unnerving to be started at in the packed restaurant – it is my hair? – or was it my imagination, or did the word “sex” got mentioned repeated by the busy chatter around me?

Again I was reminded how big a portion of an American is. The chicken cobb salad I have order was so huge, I left more than half untouched. The beer, something called Southampton Ale, was a breeze to finish though. Ah, the alcoholic in me resurfaced again.

Oh, they even have “suggested gratuity” in their bill! It was my first experience of the tipping culture in New York. Perhaps that explains the exceedingly impressive service standard here, and I am not joking. Especially for someone from my part of the world.

After a quick shower back in the hostel, I hit the street again, this time to check out the nightlife here. I wasn’t disappointed. Whatever rocks your boat – strip shows, anyone? – you bound to find it here.

It was almost four in the morning when I return to a dormitory of three sleeping dudes. Of course I won’t tell you the details of what I have experienced!

Click here for more photos of my first day in Chelsea.

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