After a seasonal hiatus, I decided to make up for lost time with a long one. I had Good Friday off of work and decided to walk the entirety of 23rd street through 14th street, taking me through the neighborhoods of Chelsea on the west side, Flatiron and Union Square in the middle, and Peter Stuyvesant Town/Cooper Village on the east side. In total it was just a little over 20 miles.
I started at 23rd St. and 11th Ave. in Chelsea, named for the estate of Thomas Clark, a British Officer, who purchased the land in 1750. His grandson, Clement C. Moore (writer of the poem, "The Night Before Christmas"), was born there and later sold most of the land for development. Today it's a trendy neighborhood, full of art galleries and boutique shops and expensive apartments. One of Chelsea's main features is the old elevated railroad running along 10th Ave. from 30th St. down to about 13th St. It fell into disuse by the 1970s but was repurposed as a pedestrian park in the early 2000's. Today it's one of the largest tourist attractions in the city.
Next I passed through the Flatiron District, named for the distinctive Flatiron Building (b. 1902), and then Gramercy Park. Gramercy Park is a high-rent residential neighborhood surrounding Gramercy Park (the only privately owned park in New York). If you don't live in the buildings surrounding it, you can't get in.
East of Gramercy Park is Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town, two residential developments originally meant to attract middle-class families. Today they're as expensive as anything else in the city, but pretty much devoid of charm (architecturally, at least).