3. A Townhouse Hides a Tibetan Monastery

Tibetan Monastery 16th Street in Chelsea

19 West 16th Street in Chelsea looks like a classic Greek Revival brick townhouse with four floors and a stoop that goes up to the parlor level. It blends in perfectly within a stretch of similar row houses. But the townhouse is actually a Tibetan Buddhist monastery called Yeshe Nyingpo, founded in 1976 by His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche. Rinpoche, who lived from 1904 to 1987, was appointed by His Holiness Dalai Lama XIV (the current Dalai Lama) as the “the first supreme head of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.”

In addition to a strikingly ornate interior filled with colorful tapestries, carpets, and sculptures, there is a throne used only for the Dalai Lama, who has visited during his trips to New York City. In 2018, the New York Landmarks Conservancy awarded a $3,000 matching grant to Yeshe Nyingpo, part of 17 Sacred Sites Grants given by the organization $279,500, to restore the double-leaf mahogany front door.