If there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s that I love to eat. I’m better at eating than I am at cooking – and in my mother’s eyes that disqualifies me as a foodie. She only believes you can be a foodie if you cook too. I disagree- in New York you have tiny kitchens and cooking can be a pain, so I feel like you eat out more. I love scrounging instagram and Eater for new places to check out and add to my favorites on Google Maps. I have a running list (also saved in Google Maps) of bars and restaurants to check out. I think getting into the food scene is part of the fun of living in New York.
Many of my girlfriends, especially those visiting from out of town absolutely love Chelsea Market. I had been a few times; it’s always a fun, quirky spot to take out-of-towners for lunch, usually followed by a walk on the High Line. However, I always found it to be always insanely busy and full of tourists- standard for the trendy spots in New York. I don’t recall exactly how Gansevoort Market made it’s way into my New York bucket list, but I’ve had my eyes on it for a while now. I recently reconnected with an old friend, Eugene, and we decided to have a fat-ass day and do both in one day…and then dinner afterwards. So which is better- Gansevoort or Chelsea Market?
True to New York, I had some time to kill due to some train delays for Eugene. I found myself stopping in the Anthropologie shop in Chelsea Market and checking out the remnants of their Labor Day Sale. I grabbed a couple things for myself and headed out front right as my friend arrived.
Both markets have been in Manhattan since the late 1800’s, Gansevoort since 1884 and Chelsea since the 1890s. Gansevoort started as one of the City’s first open-air produce markets in the historic Meatpacking District. Chelsea Market started as the baking facilities for Nabisco until the 1950s. Currently, Google’s New York offices sit between the two markets. Google actually owns Chelsea Market. While Chelsea Market is considerably larger, taking up the entire city block, Gansevoort Market is definitely a hidden New York gem. Chelsea Market is definitely the flashier site, with more shopping options to go along with the food fare, but Gansevoort offers a bit of a more calm and relaxed vibe, with much more available seating.
Eugene and I popped into Amy’s Bread to get a couple coffees and a Parisian style ham and butter sandwich on a baguette for me. It’s such an underrated sandwich, honestly. In the past, I usually gravitate towards Chelsea Creamline for a burger and a milkshake or the doughnuttery for some mini donuts (seriously they’re so cute). Amy’s Bread had been on the list for a while, but I have a bad habit of gravitating to the same restaurants. After that we strolled around and checked out some of the shops on offer. One of my favorites, is Artists and Fleas. They have a couple shops, including one in Soho, but it’s a fun, eclectic collection of local artisans. We stopped by the Heatonist to see if they had a hot sauce Eugene didn’t already own (they did not). Bowery Kitchen Supply is always a good stop too for professional grade cookware. I will say this – if you are looking for a unique gift or souvenir, head to Chelsea Market.
After that, we decided to walk over to Gansevoort. I was surprised they were so close to each other, just a couple block’s walk. Immediately, you notice it’s smaller but with much less people and a more calm vibe. Getting away from the tourist hustle and bustle is always a nice reprieve within New York City. Gansevoort Market had a number of trendy food options, including a Milk and Cream bar location. Eugene and I headed to the back bar and ordered a bar to kill some time before our 5 PM dinner reservation at Scampi. I was incredibly tempted by a Belgian waffle from Waffle de Lys, but ultimately resisted. I could definitely see myself bringing friends and coworkers to Gansevoort for dinner and drinks after work. It’s like a cool food hall with lots of dinner and dessert options for everyone. (For the record, you can drink at Chelsea Market too, but it is much less obvious where.)
After this, we walked off to Scampi over on 18th. I would absolutely highly recommend Scampi. This restaurant was absolutely adorable and delicious. I ended up ordering the vegetarian Cappelletti which was divine. I’m not vegetarian but something about ricotta cheese spoke to me today. Absolutely stuffed at this point, we had to pass on the dessert menu. We said our goodbyes and walked off to our respective trains in our post-food haze into the drizzly New York evening.
All in all, I would say Gansevoort won this market smack down today. Chelsea Market feels like the obligatory touristy thing to do in New York. Gansevoort feels like a hidden New York City secret gem. Chelsea Market certainly wins hands down in regards to shopping. However, the one I can see myself coming back to regularly (especially on rainy/snowy days) is Gansevoort. It’s definitely getting saved as a favorite in my Google Maps.