Neighborhoods: Tribeca

Here’s a funny thing about architecture: Tribeca is highly prized as a residential community, in large part because the buildings weren’t designed to be residential. The appeal is in the industrial warehouse feel: those high ceilings, big open spaces, loading docks with enormous garage doors, and massive windows–people pay through the nose to live in buildings. Tribeca prices are about as high, per square foot, as anywhere in New York City.

Not that long ago, it really was industrial. In my lifetime even, the titans of the neighborhood were sponge wholesalers and the like. Now it’s all Bobby DeNiro and his film festival and restaurant investments that started in the late 1980s. The place is flooded with celebrities like Mariah Carey, Scarlet Johannson, Gisele Bundchen, Harvey Keitel, Josh Hartnett, sometimes David Letterman… the list goes on and on.

And the flood of investment and downtown rebuilding post-9/11 has changed the feel of the place yet again. One of my favorite aspects is the nicely developed Hudson River esplanade–a massive swath of bike paths, trees, lawns, incredible playgrounds, and river views that extends more or less the entire length of Manhattan. Tribeca has especially benefited, with all kinds of activities in easy walking distance, especially in the warmer months.

In recent years there are more and more strollers all over Manhattan, but they stand out more in this neighborhood which had been all about hipsters and nightlife for more than a decade. Tribeca is also now home to the pride of Manhattan public schools–PS 234 and the gleaming Stuyvesant High School–are in Tribeca. (If you don’t know about Stuyvesant, watch the video.) (Just for fun, you might also want to watch Conan O’Brien’s two part graduation speech.)

This is another neighborhood with lots of big name restaurants, like Nobu, Bouley, and Chanterelle. But I’m a sucker for the comfortable, and can’t argue with the breakfast at Bubby’s Pie Company–another place where prices are reasonable, and a table can be hard to find.

By the way, in case you don’t know: it’s called Tribeca, because it’s a TRIangle BElow CAnal street. Check out the map. Find Canal Street. See the triangle? That’s Tribeca.

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