Numbers Confirm Chelsea Is Still New York’s Top Gallery District, but Lower East Side Gains Ground


While there are plenty of trend pieces alleging that the gallery scene has shifted from Chelsea to the Flower District, deep in Brooklyn, or even all the way to Los Angeles, Crain’s has data that shows the number of galleries in the neighborhood is down only slightly from its peak.

In 2007, Chelsea boasted a whopping 362 spaces. While the number has fluctuated since then, there are currently a reported 294 galleries, revealing that the tony neighborhood is still holding the top spot in the New York art world. It’s worth noting, however, that between 2014 and 2015, Chelsea lost 22 galleries.

Meanwhile, the Lower East Side is rapidly gaining traction with a total of 224 galleries currently in the neighborhood. In 2007, there were just 69 art galleries.

Since 2014, 19 new spots have opened in the area. Much of this can be attributed to gallerists who ditched Chelsea for the greener pastures of the Lower East Side. The neighborhood has rapidly emerged as an affordable spot for first-time gallerists, and several boldface names with headquarters in Chelsea, such as James Cohan and Lehmann Maupin, have opened outposts in the area.

Inside Luhring Augustine's Bushwick space. Photo: Luhring Augustine.

Inside Luhring Augustine’s Bushwick space.
Photo: Luhring Augustine.

Sadly, the numbers show that Bushwick hasn’t lived up to its hype as the next big art hub. Despite the fact that its brimming with artist studios, only three new galleries opened in the Brooklyn neighborhood this year, and it accounts for just 3.6% of New York’s overall art gallery population.

Are dealers concerned Manhattanites won’t brave the fabled nightmare that is the L train? We’d still like to see more established gallerists take a page out of Luhring Augustine‘s book and look to the east.

The biggest takeaway from Crain’s report? Don’t let anyone tell you the New York art scene is dead. Despite soaring rent prices, the city has seen a massive 442% increase in art galleries since 1965.

Related stories:

Forget Chelsea—The 15 Brooklyn Art Galleries You Need to Know Now

Art World Bias by the Numbers

2015 Fall Art Preview: The 28 New York Exhibitions Everyone Should See

The Wrecking Ball Is Coming for Chelsea Building Housing Three Key Galleries

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