TriBeCa is like a small slice of Hollywood in Lower Manhattan. The neighborhood has one of the city’s highest concentrations of celebrity residents — A-listers like Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, Billy Crystal, Jon Stewart, Meryl Streep and Jeremy Piven. And each spring, the neighborhood hosts the glitzy TriBeCa Film Festival, which was co-founded by Robert De Niro.
The name TriBeCa is an acronym based on the neighborhood’s shape and location, a “Triangle below Canal Street.” It’s bordered by Broadway and the Hudson River and extends south to the World Trade Center site at Vesey Street. To the north and northeast, you’ll find traffic congestion caused by the Holland Tunnel and the noisy vendors of Chinatown. But TriBeCa itself has a decidedly refined air. The neighborhood’s large warehouses, many built in the 1880s in the stately Romanesque Revival style, house loft-style apartments and upscale boutiques and restaurants (including the Nobu flagship). TriBeCa is one of the most expensive places to live in New York, and it’s not hard to see why: Quiet cobblestone streets lead to a pretty park along the Hudson River, and with the Financial District immediately to the south, many residents can walk to work. Low crime rates and good public schools attract families, so you’ll see a number of parents and nannies pushing strollers during the day.
There are still resident artists, but not as many as there were a few decades back. TriBeCa originally developed as a commercial district. But by the 1960s, the textile industry and other businesses had moved elsewhere, leaving huge factory buildings vacant. In the 1970s, artists moved in to take advantage of the big, cheap spaces. In the 70s and 80s, TriBeCa earned a reputation as a cutting-edge artists’ haven. In 1996, resident artists founded the TriBeCa Open Artist Studio Tour, a nonprofit run by the artists themselves to provide free walking tours of their studios. The subway stop at Chambers Street, for the 1, 2 and 3 trains, is a convenient place to start your TriBeCa tour. It’s fairly easy to find a cab here during the day; because the neighborhood isn’t a major nightlife destination, you may have trouble locating one late in the evening.