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Is Chelsea Market worth a trip

I am a native now living in Hawaii visiting Ny with my list of CH restaurants and a few of my old faves. Is CM worth it for anything. Never been. I heard there is a malted milk there from my childhood. My Lexington Candy has the same thing. Am I wasting a day?

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  1. You would be wasting a day, but for an hour it's worth it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: serious

      I agree with serious...1 hour is MORE than enough time! Walk, look arund, and be done!

    2. not worth it whatsoever-aloha-from local now living in nyc!

      1. I was SO disappointed on my visit to Chelsea Market. I had heard so much about it and my expectations far exceeded the reality. IF you are in that area, sure, go by. There are a lot of "foodie" places of interest but don't make a special trip.

        1 Reply
        1. re: texann

          Right - I'd much rather hang out on Bleecker St., head over to Despana, down to DiPalo's and Chinatown.

        2. from one tourist to another...waste of time.

          1. I was less than impressed. Very disappointing. The only place there worth visiting for me was the Italian shop, and I can get much of what they had from a good salumeria in Queens.

            Don't waste your time.

            1. I don't see why Chelsea Market would be a tourist destination. It's like a busload of Europeans getting off to see Stop & Shop. Unless cheap produce, good bread, a milk bar, a basket store and a gift shop are must-sees for you in New York, I think you can skip CM.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JungMann

                Yeah I agree. So much of the food sold there is perishable anyway. Unless your hotel has a kitchen, it's not what you're looking for.

                The building is cool though. If you're in the neighborhood, there's no harm in walking through.

              2. Go Friday evening for the Tango. Free dance lessons at 5 and music at 6

                1. If you're in the area I think it's fine for a diversion. I wouldn't go out of my way to see it though -- unless you want to stock up on Italian Nutella (different than the American one). It seems that a few stores closed down there as well.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    Agree--I think it's fun to kill a half hour or hour or so if you're in the area. There are a couple of places worth visiting (Buon Italia, Amy's Bread, L'Arte). But, like MMRuth said, Bleecker St. is an even better nearby excursion that likewise has an Amy's, a L'Arte nearby, and an Italian grocer (Faicco's), among other shops (Murray's, Cones, Rocco's, etc.).

                  2. It's cool to check out for an hour or so, some tasty treats incl. great cupcakes from Delia's. I actually went there for NY Open House Weekend and met the architect. It's a rather interesting building design but I would hardly say it's a must-see. Go walk around the Village instead.

                    1. You can hit it up pretty quickly, and pick up a few baked good type items, or some goodies from the italian shop which is pretty much the standout there. The wine shop isn't bad either, and if you needed say a few food gifts like a Sarabeths jam or something, then it might be worthwhile. You would probably have a more nostalgic time going to Zabars instead though!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sugartoof

                        Go! For the architecture (a converted Nabisco plant), for the behind-the-scenes look at the art of bread baking, for the innovative dairy bar (Ronnybrook's beautiful diner/store), for the brownies and the gelato and the Italian food imports. For anyone visiting the Meatpacking District or the West Village, this is indeed, a must stop of any tourist's culinary itinerary.

                      2. definately if you want your milk. it won't take you too long to see it, maybe tie it in with something else, like a restaurant visit or shopping/a night out in the meatpacking neighborhood.

                        1. For me an native NYer, the whole meatbacking district is a new tourist attraction as is Soho and all th oh's but I don't really like Soho except the buildings. I actually never heard of the Nabisco factory but I really hate the idea of a busload of Euros cause they can come here and I can't afford to go there. lol I wanted to go to the milk place but think I will go to Lexington candy for a real malted. Hey UES mayor, don't know if I should be jealous of you or for you to wish you were here Aloha

                          1. For food-to-eat, no, not worth a trip, though it's worth walking through if happen to find yourself close by. Everything else aside, I don't think you could spend a day there if your life depended on it. It's not that big and I think it'd take only a couple-few hours if you look at everything closely.

                            The Italian market is very good in terms of what they carry - lots of imported stuff you don't usually see all together in one place and a few things you rarely see at all since Balducci's went corporate, but it's not always so great in terms of prices and freshness of fast-expiring perishables. Their prepared food - not all that much to begin with - is not bad but not worth a trip. There's a kitchenwares place that's worth a walk-through if you're really into window-shopping that stuff (like me :) ) but otherwise, it doesn't especially stand out.

                            Opinions vary about the other places there but the only other place I ever bother with at all is the fruit&vegs market, usually because I've gone to the Italian place. There's a pretty good fish market there, but what they have to prepared-to-eat probably isn't worth a trip and is more or less takeout. The wine store's OK but not noteworthy, and overpriced, Amy's bread exists elsewhere, if you like it to begin with.

                            Oh, I believe it * is * the home of the Food TV/Food Network/whatever-they-call-themselves-these-days if that interests you - I have no idea what they do for/with the public at large but probably something.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: MikeG

                              How does the Italian market there compare to, say, DiPalo or Arthur Avenue? I found Chelsea Market a bit souless the one time I went there.

                              1. re: MMRuth

                                The Italian place is great, IMO. They have a huge selection of imported stuff--from butter, to frozen fish/seafood from the Mediterranean, terrific olives, many types of anchovies, dried pastas, hard to find spices, the above-mentioned Italian Nutella. Plenty of stuff that you can't find at DiPalo's or in the Bronx.

                                No one has mentioned the 9th Street Espresso in the Chelsea Market--it's worth a visit. Plus, you can pair their fine espresso drinks with some really good gelato or sorbet from right across the hall.

                                I'm still not sure it's worth a special trip if you're coming from out of town, but if you're strolling northward through the village and want to check out the Meat Packing District, by all means do a walk through.

                                1. re: PAL

                                  Thanks for the information - I'll have to stop by some time.

                                  1. re: PAL

                                    Good NYer that I am, I've never actually made it to Arthur Ave (nor the Statute of Liberty lol) but they carry a lot more packaged/dry goods things than DiPalo's and smaller deli type places in Bensonhurst. I've never been to Coluccio in Brooklyn, but I suspect that might be more comparable. They have fewer oils and vinegar, stuff like that, than DiPalo's (or Dom's, etc.) but they have things like big bags of amaretti and lots of cookies/snack foods, among other things. A couple of meats that I don't see at DiPalo's much but fewer dried sausages. Pretty good fresh sausage, I think on a par with DiPalo's which I think is good but not mindblowing. I got a chunk of guanciale from them that looked better than what I've seen at the other usual suspects. Honestly I think their dairy cases often border on the gross - like at Fairway where some things just don't turn over - but presumably newly arrived things are in good shape. They also have some things like glazed terracotta cookware I haven't seen elsewhere locally.

                                    1. re: MikeG

                                      DiPalo's feels more historical or old school, while the stock at Buon Italia represents what you might find nowadays in a small Italian supermarket. It carries a lot of dry good type stuff that I remember expat Italian friends of mine cooking with all the time, and the snacks and cookies that they prefer. The cheese and salumi selection is much better at DiPalo's, but Buon Italia has good fresh mozzarella and prosciutto and I love their mortadella.

                                      I shop in Chelsea Market all the time but it's mystifying to me that groups of tourists go on tours of the place.

                                  2. re: MMRuth

                                    MMRuth, I don't think you'll be that impressed with Buon Italia. It's a perfectly charming place to stop by if you happen to be in the area, but everything I've ever bought there I've gotten better quality and cheaper from other places. The cheese is simply HORRIBLE. The fresh pasta is frozen, old and crumbling. The olive oil is overpriced. The salumi were rather wretched compared with DiPalo's or Calabria Pork Store.

                                    They did have a good selection of well priced dry goods from Italy. Interesting flour, jarred condiments, pastas, risotto rices, candies, etc.

                                    Supposedly they make an espresso there that is unmatched in the City. There was an Italian executive in my office who used to make a daily trek to the Chelsea Market from 20th and 5th for a single cup of properly made espresso from them.

                                    The kitchen supply store is good fun, nothing new, but quite good.

                                    The fruit and veg market is rather sickly compared to Fairway, but the prices are unbeatable and occasionally they'll have something hard to find and fun.

                                    For me it's worth the trip only because I work nearby so it's not out of the way, and the wine store is quite excellent, it's the closest location for me for Amy's Bread, I can't resist Ronnybrook Farms products, and the fish at the Lobster Place is really good.

                                2. I only liked Chelsea Market for the Bowery Kitchen Supplies store, beyond that they don't have anything overly unique, although the Ronnybrook Milk Bar was interesting.

                                  1. I live nearby and it's a great place to do your shopping, but really I don't think of it as a tourist attraction, but rather as a neighborhood amenity. Check it out but really the city itself is a great marketplace to explore.