City Living: Hudson Square
What used to be an industrial neighborhood full of printing factories is slowly burgeoning into a vibrant 24/7 residential community.
The small west side neighborhood of Hudson Square, sometimes referred to as West SoHo, is headed toward a big transformation after an approved rezoning by the City Council in March 2013 made way for more residential and retail development.
"'The neighborhood around the Holland Tunnel is something we want to get over, said Ellen Baer, president of the Hudson Square Connection Business Improvement District. The BID was created in 2009 to help improve the neighborhood via street beautification projects and plans to ease traffic congestion, among others.
Were on the cusp of that 24/7 vibe, she added. Were beginning to see more activity as residential places are being developed here. Well see a lot more people in the next few years.
According to Baer, Hudson Square goes back to 1705 when Queen Anne deeded the mostly farmland to Trinity Church, which still owns about 40% of the buildings in the area.
Historically it was known as the printing district as printing factories in the 19th and 20th centuries catered to nearby Financial District firms.Remnants of the factories remain throughout the area, such as with its many loading docks.
Today loft buildings serve as office space for media, tech, architecture, publishing, and public relations firms like PR Newswire, Medidata, Penguin Putnam, Viacom, Saatchi & Saatchi and WNYC Radio, which is housed at the 10 Hudson Square building at 160 Varick St.
At 75 Varick St., the recently landmarked One Hudson Square building is home to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, New York Magazine and Getty Images to name a few.
Its an eclectic neighborhood, said Philip Johnson, a real estate agent at Citi Habitats. It has a mix of Federal and Greek revival style townhouses from 1820s to 1840s and those are juxtaposed with loft buildings that serve as offices and glassy condos about 15-20 stories that are very modern.
He noted that the area is quiet at night compared to the day when it is buzzing with office workers.
Some of Hudson Squares residences, on King, Charlton, and Vandam streets, are part of the Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District, designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1966 and consisting of Greek revival and Federal-style townhouses.
Though still on the verge of becoming a vibrant 24/7 nabe, the area is already home to many notable establishments. Several hotels have popped up including Hotel Hugo NYC, Wyeth, Four Points Sheraton and the Trump SoHo at 246 Spring St., the tallest building in the area at 46 stories.
People can meander around here and find lots of things having to do with art and history, Baer said. There are very charming restaurants too; its somewhere where you feel like youve stumbled on New York at its best.
A gallery scene is quickly budding with the Longhouse Projects Art Gallery, Studio Vendome and Fridman Gallery on Spring Street, along with Jack Geary Gallery on Varick Street. Cultural centers also abound ranging from the Film Forum on W. Houston Street to the SoHo Playhouse on Vandam Street and WNYC's Jerome L Greene Performance Space on Charlton Street.
And a range of eateries line its streets like Houston Hall on West Houston Street, Giorgione on Spring Street, PJ Charlton on Greenwich Street and Westville Hudson and Jacques Torres Chocolates on Hudson Street.
A part of Pier 40 and the Hudson River Greenway is also within Hudson Squares boundaries, allowing residents waterfront recreational activities.
There is something very real about Hudson Square; it doesnt feel touristy, contrived or forced, Baer said. She expects about 3,000 residential units for the neighborhood in the future as a result of the zoning changes.
I think youll see more families moving in soon, she added. We sort of are the hole in the donut among Tribeca, SoHo and The Village and were really part of the whole fabric of the lower west side of Manhattan. It sells itself in many ways as a place to live.
-- LISA FRASER
New York City Fire Museum
This charming historic museum showcases the evolution of firefighting from the 18th Century to present day on two floors. Permanent exhibitions include "Firefighters on Parade" and the 9/11 Memorial Room.
HERE Arts Center
Since 1993 this multidisciplinary arts center has featured theater, dance, media, digital art and puppetry.
Children's Museum of the Arts
This 1,100-squre foot children's museum showcases exhibitions and hosts art classes, projects, after school programs and a Summer Art Colony Day Camp from June 16-Aug. 29.