Spend more than five minutes in Chelsea and you’ll find a smattering of galleries, installations, and one of New York’s most prominent art scenes, from the famous David Zwirner Gallery, now social media famous because of recent exhibitions by Yayoi Kusama to the blank, spacious Gagosian Gallery, now hosting legendary recluse and architectural sculptor Michael Heizer.
What may go unnoticed, however, is the history behind the neighborhood, as is the case for most areas on the lower half of Manhattan. Last Saturday, we took a tour with David Behringer, founder of The Two Percent, whose Chelsea art gallery tour, called Audio Hop, showcases both sides of Chelsea culture and focuses almost as much on the walk to each of Chelsea’s galleries as it does on the galleries themselves. Audio Hop will continue into June, take a break for the summer, and return in the fall with all new tours. Here were some of the weirdest things we found.
Before the advent of widespread subway systems and Chelsea’s portion of The High Line (back when it was a railroad and not a tourist destination), 10th and 11th avenues once used street-level trains. Incidentally, they caused a fair number of deaths when people who wanted to avoid waiting at the intersections for the trains to pass would attempt to run across the tracks. The High Line was constructed as an above-ground train track partly because of the number of accents that occurred around the area.