For many years, the area now known as NoMad existed as one of New York's last unnamed neighborhoods. The rectangular area is bordered on the east by Lexington Avenue, on the west by 6th Avenue, on the north by 30th Street, and on the south by 25th Street. Up until the last decade or so, it was known simply as that area north of the Flatiron District or east of Chelsea.
That's all changed, though, with the revitalization that has occurred in recent years. A major 2001 restoration of Madison Square Park kicked off the effort. An influx of new restaurants and hotels shortly followed, including the 2009 opening of the Ace Hotel, whose restaurant has become a popular hotspot. Apartments near NoMad are now in high demand.
The area's name became official in 2012 with the opening of NoMad Hotel. The name stands for North of Madison, a nod to the area's historic park. Branded with a new identity and a popular new shops, restaurants, and hotels, the area has become an attractive area for New Yorkers to live and work.
NoMad has the distinction of being one of the oldest populated areas in the United States. It dates back to the opening of Madison Square Park in 1686. The park was founded as a military staging ground. Throughout its storied history, it has served as an armory, a potter's field, and a juvenile delinquent facility. Today, it's one of the city's finest parks and the starting point of New York's annual Veteran's Day parade.
In the 19th century, the park's perimeter became a popular spot for the construction of stately brownstone residences. Some of New York's most well-to-do families moved into those homes and into apartments near NoMad.
Several large churches were founded in NoMad in the 1800s, including the historic Church of the Transfiguration. Other historic churches in the area include Trinity Chapel and Marble Collegiate Church.
In the early 20th century, the area saw a commercial boom and welcomed new restaurants, nightclubs, bars, and hotels. By the middle of the century, much of the area had given way to wholesalers for things like t-shirts, perfume, jewelry, and luggage. Today, you'll still find many wholesalers interspersed among newer restaurants and bars.
By the end of the 20th century, the park had fallen into disrepair. A major restoration project was initiated, which brought the park into its current exceptional condition. That restoration paved the way for the area's resurgence and for new apartments, hotels, and businesses.
Famous NoMad residents
Given its storied history, NoMad has seen its share of famous residents. One of the most interesting was Nikola Tesla, who lived in the Radio Wave Building on 27th Street. He was an eccentric inventor who developed AC power, the world's earliest robots, and the radio.
In 1898, Tesla demonstrated remote controlled boats at Madison Square Garden. The demonstration caused a sensation, with some attendees claiming that the boats were controlled by dark magic or even trained monkeys.
Other famous residents include Henry Ford and Jimmy Stewart, who lived at the Madison Square Hotel in the 1930s. The grandparents of Winston Churchill lived at 41 East 26th Street and young Winston visited them there from time to time.
Although not residents, famous figures like Franklin Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and even Napoleon III frequented the area's many private clubs in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Today, NoMad is especially popular among those looking for pet friendly apartments in NYC. The proximity to Madison park make apartments near NoMad especially appealing.