For tourists and local foodies alike, the forty-odd ethic and artisanal eateries and shops dazzle the eyes, tweak the nose, and seduce the palate. You can also find some non-food shops happily coexisting at the Chelsea Market: barber, bookshop, boutiques, newsstand – but the focus is definitely eating. So get ready to see mouth-watering images.

Chelsea Market: one of the top tourist destinations in the city

A Visual Storytelling by Lucas Compan

Before it became the New York icon that it currently is, the Chelsea Market was actually a factory for the National Biscuit Company, also known as Nabisco

For more than 50 years, beginning in the 1890's, the building had been part of a large factory operated by Nabisco (National Biscuit Company). The famous Oreo cookie was invented here.

Even in its early days, this building brought about one of America’s most beloved treats: it's where the Oreo Cookie was invented. That’s right, even before its food court and foodie-mecca days, the soon to be Chelsea Market was already breaking into the culinary world.

Yep! The famous Oreo cookie was invented in this building.

Chelsea Market builing: former Nabisco factory

Occupying a full city block bounded by Ninth and Tenth Avenues, and 15th and 16th Streets, in the hyper-hip Meatpacking District – The High Line passes through the building – Chelsea Market helped revitalize the entire neighborhood.

The High Line passes through the building that was once Nabisco (Image: New York Public Library, 1930s)

The High Line, passing through the Chelsea Market (Image: Google, 2016)

Chelsea Market and The High Line intersection, from the street level

Exploring this subterranean bazaar you'll discover food, drink, and accessories from virtually every corner of the world. It's all here: breads, crepes, sushi, fresh produce, spices, teas, coffees, tacos, meats, seafood, pastries, herbs, cheeses, gourmet and health foods, wines, and spirits – for all kinds of living souls.

The atmosphere and the environment is outstanding. The decor is post-industrial. Shop-lined tunnels, with stripped-down brick and pipes, giant factory fans, sanded steel doors, corrugated ceilings, stone benches, salvaged architectural artifacts, works of arts, and possibly the biggest attraction, a deep well fed by a gushing overhead drainpipe that changes colors all the time – spreading sense of humor, stimulating smiles.

Chelsea Market main entrance at 75 Ninth Ave, New York, NY

Shop-lined tunnels, with stripped-down brick and pipes.

Wall decor at Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market – Ninth and Tenth Avenues, and 15th and 16th Streets, in the Meatpacking District

So when you visit the Chelsea Market, don't just bring a big appetite. Bring your sense of adventure and contemplation as well.