Chelsea Garden Center opened for business in 1984 on a rubble-strewn 2,700 square-foot corner of industrial Chelsea with just a garden umbrella, a cash box, a tiny cedar potting shed and a spare lot brimming with plants specially selected for urban and city gardens.
Ten years later and in need of more space we moved to a vacant lot on the corner of Ninth Avenue and 22nd Street. It was at this location, in 1994, that we created a new, larger garden center with brick paths and hundreds of plants — all surrounding a massive purple leaf plum tree that soon became our company logo. During our time on Ninth Avenue we also opened the Chelsea Garden Store, which allowed us to offer customers a much larger line of furniture, indoor-plants and a comprehensive selection of garden books, fountains and elegant gifts.
In the summer of 1999, the burgeoning real estate boom forced us to relocate the nursery to a parking lot on Second Street and the Bowery in Lower Manhattan. We brought along our special plum tree to sit in the center of a great new landscape filled with outdoor plants. Into this, our largest space to date at the time, we again expanded the variety of plants and furniture we carried and brought a much-needed green space to a part of New York City that had long been associated with cracked sidewalks and deteriorating buildings. (It is now the site of NYU dormitories).
Responding to our customers’ needs for more indoor plants, furniture and gifts, we opened the 6,000 square-foot Chelsea Garden Center Home Store on Hudson Street, just above Tribeca. This spacious, loft-like space allowed us to provide an enormous selection of the finest tropical plants in Manhattan combined with an extraordinary garden-inspired collection of furniture, home accents, pottery and gifts for the metropolitan home.
In 2001, the quest for larger and more suitable spaces began again and we relocated our primary garden center, returning to the Chelsea neighborhood where we’d gotten our start almost twenty years earlier. We settled downtown West 16th Street in a large lot just above the Meatpacking District. We filled the lot and store space with an even wider variety of outdoor and tropical indoor plants and maintained our large stock of other gardening materials and tools.
In the spring of 2004 we opened a second garden center location near the Javits Center at 38th Street and Tenth Avenue. We felt we had finally found a location that allowed us the best of both worlds: plenty of space for outdoor plants and amendments, as well as an indoor space in which to house our vast houseplant, gift, and furniture selection.
Eventually Manhattan’s full-blown real estate boom forced our hand again and we consolidated all facets of our business at 38th Street and Tenth Avenue. The old 16th Street location is now well on its way to becoming a part of the Highline development.
Our newest locations are springing up in two boroughs, 580 11th Ave at 44th street in Manhattan and our first Brooklyn location at 444 Vanbrunt Street adjacent to the new Fairwary market on the waterfront in Redhook.
Now, conveniently located close to Upper Chelsea and Manhattan’s East and West Sides, we have used the opportunity to recreate our past enterprises – bringing the most successful elements of each of our previous locations together into one space. We can now fulfill the needs of every customer, from the most casual of shoppers to experienced garden enthusiasts.
We have big plans for the future and are enormously appreciative of our long-time customers who have stayed with us through every re-invention and relocation.
Chelsea Garden Center
Beautifying New York since 1984.