The History of NoMad nyc
History of nomad nyc
Manhattan boasts a wealth of history on nearly every block from Harlem to the Financial District, but few neighborhoods have quite the dynamic past you’ll find in NoMad. This popular Manhattan neighborhood has recently experienced an influx of residents, but it’s the area’s storied history that has made it such a vibrant place to live.
The history of NoMad dates back over 300 to the construction of Madison Square Park in 1686. The park, which was one of New York City’s earliest public spaces, was a popular gathering spot throughout the 17th century, but it wasn’t until nearly 200 years later that the area became a residential mecca. In the mid-1800s, some of New York’s most prominent families started to build homes near the park, many of which are still standing today. The influx of notable residents, including relatives of Winston Churchill and many prominent members of the Democratic Party, spurred on the development of businesses. Nightclubs and hotels soon flooded the area, including the Fifth Avenue Hotel, The St. James Hotel, The Hotel Seville (now known as The Carlton), The Breslin Hotel, Hoffman House, The Grand, and The Gilsey House, the last two of which are still standing in something similar to their original form today. Following hot on the heels of the city’s socialites came an influx artists and chefs. This included the founders of Delmonico’s steakhouse — known as the birthplace of Lobster Newberg — who locked to the area, breathing new life into what was once a relatively empty space.
By the end of the 19th century, NoMad had cemented a reputation in New York and beyond as a haven for creative types, from writers to musicians. The latter congregated on 28th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, forming what would come to be known as “Tin Pan Alley,” an area known for its music publishers, songwriters, singers, and instrumentalists. When the Gilded Age’s art-friendly culture faded, the neighborhood’s focus turned to commerce. In the later part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th, NoMad became a major destination for wholesalers, with the neighborhood’s proximity to the Garment District providing ample opportunity for vendors selling perfume, jewelry, and notions to ply their wares.
In the late 20th century and early part of the 2000s, NoMad has transformed once again. The revitalization of Madison Square Park in 2001 was the major catalyst for the neighborhood’s about-face. Helmed by the Madison Square Conservancy, the park transformed from a beloved, yet not entirely cohesive green space, into a center for the arts and a destination for families. In addition to a major construction project that provided a more walkable park with greater biodiversity, Madison Square Park has become home to a number of celebrated community events, including free concerts, stage productions, and programming for children. Since the late 1990s, the area has exploded as a prime destination for everything from shopping to luxury real estate, with numerous developers setting their sights on NoMad as a home for their latest buildings.
Today, NoMad is one of Manhattan’s most sought-after neighborhoods, boasting some of the most elegant architecture in all of New York City. One of the neighborhood’s most unique features since its inception has been its ability to retain and transform much of its original architecture. The former Colony Club, erected in 1904, still stands to this day, transformed in the early 1960s into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. The Johnston Building, a stunning beaux arts building built in 1900, was similarly revitalized when it became the chic NoMad Hotel. Yet another NoMad hotspot was born when the Breslin Hotel, built in 1904, became the fashionable Roman & Williams-designed Ace Hotel in 2009. Even mogul Richard Branson has set his sights on NoMad in recent years, breaking ground on the world’s second Virgin Hotel on Broadway between 29th and 30th Streets in this year. More recently, the area has become a major hub for luxury residential development.
NoMad buildings that have transformed from office space, hotels, or businesses into residences, like The Whitman, 212 Fifth Avenue, and The Centurian Building, have retained much of the charm of their earlier incarnations while updating to suit the needs of their modern residents. While these homes have maintained their original elegance, they’ve become something the neighborhood’s original residents could have hardly imagined, with state-of-the-art kitchens, meticulously designed interiors, landscaped green spaces, and luxury amenities in place of the homes that once stood there. Along with the NoMad’s latest luxury construction has come a new wave of buzzed-about businesses. In recent years, NoMad has become something of a culinary destination, with Eataly, Hill Country Barbecue, Sweetgreen, and The Breslin attracting tourists and locals alike. The neighborhood has similarly become a nightlife hub, thanks in part to the area’s booming hotel scene, with the rooftops at Ace Hotel and Gansevoort Park packed nearly every night of the week.
NoMad’s transformation into the exciting cultural destination it is today may have taken centuries, but it was well worth the wait. From the area’s early mansions to its current luxury homes, elegant eateries, and notable nightlife, NoMad is truly one of Manhattan’s most remarkable neighborhoods.