Tribeca is far and away the most expensive neighborhood in New York City. Its remarkable loft-style architecture, trendy shops and cafes, and seeming insulation from the rest of the city make it a perfect destination for those looking to find some peace in the Big Apple. Stars aren't just like us: they live in Tribeca.
In the the sections below, you'll get a glimpse into life in Tribeca. But before you go anywhere, make sure you scroll through the photos in the gallery below. Nothing can tell the story of a neighborhood as well as a few good photos.
Tribeca's reputation for chic loft spaces isn't just the product of some clever real estate development, it's actually a relic of an industrial period gone by.
In 1705, Queen Anne of England granted 215-acres of western Manhattan to the Trinity Church, including modern day Tribeca. Over time, the church sold off parcels of the land to wealthy and middle class families for homes. Nine of these original homes still stand on Harrison Street today.
By the 1850s, Tribeca began its transformation into a thriving commercial district. Textile factories, warehouses and food distribution businesses were built, mostly on top of demolished residential areas. The neighborhood quickly established itself as the textile and wholesale food center of the city. Washington Market became the largest fruit and produce exchange in the country and the main supplier of food for the city's shops, restaurants and residents.
Hundreds of commercial buildings were built in Tribeca during the industrial heyday of the 19th century and it wasn't enough for them just to be functional. In a local game of one-upmanship, wealthy merchants sought to outspend each other with elaborate designs by top architects. Referred to as the "Mercantile Palaces of New York," the buildings were known for their beauty and elegance.
As the 1900s progressed, most Tribeca businesses began to close or relocate. Many industrial buildings were left vacant, and the Washington Market buildings were torn down in the 1960s after the market relocated to Hunts Point in the Bronx. Inexpensive rents attracted artists to the empty warehouses and lofts, but the neighborhood was largely empty in 1970. During that time, a city planning study designated the neighborhood as the "Triangle Below Canal Street," and the name Tribeca was born.
With the help of the Washington Market Urban Renewal Project, Tribeca was slowly transformed into a residential neighborhood. Commercial buildings were turned into apartments and offices, and new residential buildings and schools were constructed. Despite all of the new construction, at least one building from the 1800s can be found on almost every block.
Today, the days of inexpensive rents are gone, and discussions of beauty and elegance are primarily focused on the many celebrities who call the neighborhood home.
Tribeca is trapezoid shaped neighborhood bounded by Canal Street, West Street, Broadway, and Chambers Street (or Vesey Street, depending on who you ask). And it's home to many celebrities and for a good reason – it’s considered one of the city’s most fashionable areas. As we mentioned earlier, glamour comes with a price; back in 2006, Forbes magazine ranked Tribeca as one of New York City’s most expensive neighborhoods. And if you’ve got the cash, the neighborhood comes with other perks. In recent years, the NYPD ranked Tribeca as one of NYC’s safest neighborhoods. In terms of architecture, Tribeca has a lot of similarities with nearby SoHo; including many loft apartments that are housed in former industrial buildings.
To some, Tribeca seems more like a suburb of New York than one of its neighborhoods. It's relatively secluded from from the hustle and bustle of midtown and it's close proximity to Hudson River Park offers great access to green space. If you're looking for an escape from the city's frenetic energy and your bank account is willing, Tribeca could be worth the price tag.
You won't be hearing the rumble of the subway in most parts of Tribeca, which is great for peace and quiet, but not so ideal for your morning work commute. The eastern edge of the neighborhood puts you in close proximity to a few lines, but as you move west, you are going to be a little bit isolated from a transportation standpoint. Then again, maybe you'll just be taking Ubers.
Tribeca Subway & Walking Times
Just off the western edge of Tribeca is the Holland Tunnel, one of the more popular ways of getting back and forth from New Jersey. But for Tribeca residents, that can mean jammed up streets during rush hour near the tunnel entrances.
Tribeca Guidebook Landmarks
African Burial Ground
In 1991, workers were digging on a construction site on Duane Street, and found boxes with human remains buried deep under the street. A little bit of historical research found that 300 years ago, the site was a segregated burial ground for African slaves. Today, the site is a national historic landmark.
Saint Paul's Chapel
Built two and and a half centuries ago in 1764, Saint Paul's Chapel is the oldest surviving church in Manhattan. For modern New Yorkers, though, the Chapel holds a much more unique place in the city's history. Following the attacks of September 11th, the chapel opened its doors to the recovery workers who worked at the nearby Ground Zero site, and in doing so, became a central hub in the recovery efforts. In the days, months, and years after the attacks, the Chapel has become a living monument to those who lost their lives in the attacks and those who worked tirelessly to try to save others.
In 1910, Frank Woolworth needed a new headquarters for his rapidly growing Woolworth discount stores. Naturally, his headquarters needed to be the tallest building in the world. When the building was completed in 1913, he was successful, eclipsing the MetLife Building and coming in at 792 feet. Although Woolworth only took a few floors for its headquarters, it helped elvate the company to one of the best known in the country. Impressively, it is still one of the 20 tallest buildings in New York.
Tribeca Insider LANDMARKS
Fire Engine Company 31
At 87 Lafayette Street, Fire Engine Company 31 is the prettiest old firehouse around. Built in 1895, it actually resembles a 16th-century French chateau with gabled roofs, but the large red garage doors are a giveaway that the building used to be an FDNY base. The fire department hasn't used the space since 1972, though, and now the landmarked building houses the Downtown Community Television Center.
Tribeca Parks & Recreation
Duane Park (0.1 acres)
Although there are a handful of older parks in New York, Duane Park has the unique distinction of being the first park that was purchased by the city with the specific objective of creating a park. The Park was purchased in 1797 from Trinity Church for the generous sum of five dollars. Today, the Park blends into its surrounding neighborhood and is best suited for people watching and a cup of coffee.
Hudson River Park (550 acres)
The Hudson River Park, one of the City's most popular lesisure destinations, came into being following an aboveground road collapse and a failed highway project that left a large portion of the west side of the City unused. After years of political battling over how to handle the space, Hudson River Park was approved in 1998. The Park's first section was opened in the West Village in 2003. Today, the Park stretches along the river from Battery Park City up to 58th Street. The Park is extremely popular for runners and cyclists who provide a steady stream of traffic for the bikeway, but is equally popular among the multitudes of sunbathers who take up camp on the Park's green banks. One of the Park's most interesting features is its incorporation of old piers, which have been converted into public park space.
Washington Market Park (2.2 acres)
Most public spaces in New York can trace their histories back to the 1700's, otherwise land is generally built-up and lost forever as open space. Washington Market Park, however, is one of the few exceptions, having been reclaimed in an urban renewal project in the 1960's and then dedicated as a park in 1978. The Park is best known for its bright red playground, but also features basketball and tennis courts, as well as a public garden. The Park's name harkens back to a time when Tribeca, and specifically, Washington Market, was the primary produce wholesale market.