Posts Tagged ‘West 20th Street Chelsea’

A West Chelsea warehouse with a nuclear past

January 16, 2014

On the prime West Chelsea block just off the West Side Highway and north of Chelsea Piers sits a stretch of handsome warehouses.

West20thsignOnce run by a company called Baker and Williams, these warehouses played a key role in the creation of the atomic bomb.

This is where the heads of the Manhattan Project—the code name for the building of the first atom bomb in the 1940s—decided to store tons of uranium.

According to this federal document, approximately 219,000 pounds of uanium from Africa by way of Canada was stored here before “distribution to U.S. government reservations.”


It wasn’t until the early 1990s when the government cleaned the warehouse of residual uranium. “Workers removed more than a dozen drums of radioactive waste, according to the Department of Energy in Washington,” wrote The New York Times in 2007.

Of course, it’s not the only site in the city that played a key role in Manhattan island’s namesake project.

Research was conducted at Columbia University, administrative headquarters established at 270 Broadway, and an engineering office (set up to acquire crucial bomb-making material) existed at Fifth Avenue and 29th Street.

The loveliest stretch of houses in old Chelsea

January 21, 2013

Chelsea has more than its share of gorgeous homes. But a row of townhouses stretching along the south side of West 20th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues just may be the sweetest and have the most historical cred.


This is Cushman Row, seven red-brick beauties at numbers 406 to 418 completed in 1840. They’re among the oldest homes in Chelsea, considered to be the best examples of Greek Revival architecture in the city.

CushmanrowrailingsThe row was developed by Don Alonzo Cushman, a wealthy friend of Clement Clark Moore.

That’s the same Moore who wrote “A Visit From St. Nicholas” and was the grandson of the 18th century British army captain who built his country estate here and named it after Chelsea Royal Hospital in London.

Cushman lived in Greenwich Village. But as the Village filled up and the city moved northward, he bought property from Moore in Chelsea, which Moore hoped to develop into a graceful new residential neighborhood.

CushmanrowpineappleOn blocks like West 20th Street, with the neo-Gothic General Theological Seminary across the street, he succeeded.

Some of the features that make Cushman row so impressive are the uniform 10-foot deep front yards, recessed doorways, attic windows encircled with decorative wreaths, and the wrought-iron handrails and yard railings.

Check out the pineapple, a traditional symbol of hospitality, on the black iron newel at number 416.

Stribling has a recent listing for this house, with photos of the interior and backyard. No price is given, but with real-estate taxes running around 30,000 a year, it’s going to cost a lot.