4.9 out of 10

Chambers St, Civic Center

40.7139235146904 -74.0057844957718
Great for
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Public Transport
  • Clean & Green
  • Gym & Fitness
Not great for
  • Eating Out
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Tourists


3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5

"Beautiful, old governmental buildings"

Chambers starts its run through Civic Centre at Church street and this block is quite the motley mix of just what you would expect in the really downtown part of Manhattan. There are a few little restaurants (Indian, Cuban, etc) but none of them are a big draw to the street. There are a number of discount stores, a homeless center and a lot of big buildings. I like these big buildings, though, because they're older and quite pretty. The Manhattan HQ building now houses government offices but it was an actual HQ where things like the atomic bomb were invented. Speaking of death, the corner of Chambers and Broadway was were the printer Sam Adams went to collect a very small debt from John Colt. Colt beat him to death with a hammer and tried to ship the body to New Orleans of all places. He was caught but killed himself the night before his execution. Quite the rambunctious fellow, this Colt.
But the rambunctious history doesn't stop there. Across Broadway, you run into City Hall Park which has pretty much been a park since New York was New Amsterdam. People used to bring their animals here to drink from the pond. The first non fatal battle of the Revolutionary War was here as was an anti-Slavery riot and a chunk of the Draft Riots. If there's a riot in New York, you can almost count on it being here. Jack London lived in this park when he had no money but presumably didn't start any riots. The other side of the block features some beautiful Italian inspired old buildings which all have pretty boring enterprises in their walls now, but the likes of the first Opera House to sell tickets for assigned seating was in the building on the northwest corner.
The street leading down to Centre is taken up by two very different but equally magnificent courthouses, the Tweed and the Surrogate. The Surrogate was built at the turn of the 20th century and has a gorgeous gothic architecture with a ton of statues and a very over the top but beautiful Renaissance looking interior. This building is featured in many films and it's easy to see why. It really is a work of art and makes going to court not so bad, I imagine. The Tweed Courthouse is a federal style building that cost 20 times more than it should have to build because Tweed was taking most of the money. It is really pretty, though, and looks much more like a courthouse than the Surrogate.
The street ends at the Muncipal Building (another stunning one). It has a pointy tower so it's hard to miss even from afar. It houses most of the mayor offices and has over a million square feet of space. It's massive so the fact that it's so lovely makes me wonder why people don't make buildings like this anymore.
You can't really live on Chambers, but I wouldn't even if there were plenty of residential spaces. It's very government oriented and though it's beautiful to go look at for a day, there's nothing to do here at night and the neighborhood feel is non-existent
  • Stunning architecture
  • More government than anything else
  • Nothing to do outside of look at buildings
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Tourists

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Unranked Streets in Civic Center

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Chambers St

"Beautiful, old governmental buildings"
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