Before embarking on this trip around Chelsea, you might want to hear why some people call this great neighorbood home, and why these people even moved here to begin with.
The first woman I interviewed was a native Floridian. She looked to be in her mid-twenties, and a little stressed out, with a laptop and notebook in front of her. She moved here for work and is now living in a “rent-controlled apartment.” She has been living in Chelsea for around 10 months, and she has not seen a difference in the neighborhood in the short amount of time she has been here. In terms of authenticity, she explained that “It’s very…commercial when you are on the main avenues, and then gets residential…it’s authentic in that there are a lot of people, and that it is a very transient neighborhood…people coming in and out all the time…it’s not like it’s a home where you would have your neighbors that you live around.” She feels that Chelsea will remain the same, and “If [she] could afford it, [she] would. If she could move anywhere else, she says that she would want to “live on Bleeker Street.”
In my second interview, I interviewed a woman who came from the UK. She seemed like the total opposite of the Floridian woman. She wore a fur coat, leather boots, and what looked like a very expensive leather bag. She was reclining on the sofa, sipping her latte, seemingly without a care in the world. She has lived in Chelsea “for over a year.” As for her reason for living in Chelsea, “I came to New York a while ago, I found a house, and that was it.” Just like the other woman I interviewed, she did not find any changes in the neighborhood, other than “shops turning over.” According to her, one of the reasons that she likes Chelsea, other than just finding an apartment there, was that it was “central”, and that she “loved the High Line” She believes that the “subsections of culture” in Chelsea make it unique. She doesn’t think that anything is threatening Chelsea’s authenticity, and she also mentions that as of right now, she has no reason to leave, but does mention that she would only consider the West Village or Soho as other areas of residence in the future.
The most interesting thing about my two interviews was that both of the people I interviewed were not native New Yorkers. One was a recent graduate in search of a job, looking to make ends meet, and hoping to be able to afford an apartment in this area in the future. The other interviewee, just by the look of her clothing and the fact that she could just buy an apartment in Chelsea just after arriving in Manhattan, showed a completely different story. In the end, both were young gentrifiers who were drawn by Chelsea’s central location and the culture that surrounds the area. When it came to moving to another area, the only place that both of them would consider moving to is further downtown. These two women are proof of the appeal that Chelsea and the downtown area has for young gentrifiers.
Interview #1: Michael is an employee at Spices and Tease in Chelsea Market with a friendly smile and nice ginger hair – his interview reveals some of the real effects of gentrification.
Interview #2: Sazar is an interesting character with a big black mustache curled up very dramatically on the sides – he also gives insight to gentrification in Chelsea.