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Neighborhood Guide: Middle of Somewhere: Newcomers Put Far West Side on the Map

By Katherine DykstraAugust 24, 2011

New York Post

 

Sara Axelrod has been a long and hopeful proponent of the Far West Side as a residential neighborhood. She moved to the area five years ago because the price was right.

“I was originally looking in Chelsea and the West Village, but I couldn’t find anything for [under $1,300].”

She was able to stay within her range, but that meant taking a share at 30th Street and Ninth Avenue: “It wasn’t necessarily where everyone wanted to be, but it was convenient and close to the subways.”

At that time, the neighborhood was best defined by the neighborhoods around it. Essentially, it was the blocks between Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, roughly 28th to 42nd streets, from Eighth Avenue west. The area consisted of gas stations and parking lots, and it was choked with the traffic heading toward the Lincoln Tunnel. Basically, it was a wasteland.

She notes with irony that since opting to move within the neighborhood, when she and her boyfriend decided to live together, that “there is still no grocery store now that we’re eight blocks up. That’s the one thing the neighborhood is still missing. So we’re back to FreshDirect.”

At least Casa Nonna, a new 8,000-square-foot restaurant, from the BLT chain has opened in the base of Emerald Green, the Glenwood-developed building Axelrod moved into. And Ark Restaurants plans to open an eatery in 505 W. 37th St. These amenities, like Orion’s free breakfast, allow residents to dine without leaving the premises. The developers are creating the neighborhood.

To come are the extension of the 7 train to 11th Avenue and the erection of the Related Companies’ Hudson Yards development, a mixed-use colossus that will drastically change the area, including driving up prices. But for now, rents remain relatively low.

 

Read the full article, Middle of somewhere: Newcomers Put Far West Side on the Map, at NewYorkPost.com.

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