Map: Tribeca, New York

The name stands for the TRIangle BElow CAnal. In the 1970s and '80s, artists yearning for space to sculpt, paint, and dance colonized the warehouses; Tribeca took shape in this cauldron of creativity. The confluence of imagination, spirit, space, and, most recently, disposable income has produced a neighborhood rich in upscale restaurants, shops, and galleries. The lofts have morphed into multimillion-dollar homes, making the local zip code, 10013, the city's most affluent. The locals, from Gwyneth Paltrow to Harvey Keitel, can be seen sauntering the swank streets.

Begin at the (1) Franklin Street subway stop. Walk north to (2) Ladder Company 8 (14 N. Moore St.), where portions of Ghostbusters was filmed. Head west, crossing Varick Street (which becomes Seventh Avenue above Houston).

Even fabric stores are fancy downtown, as evidenced by (3) Baranzelli Silk Surplus (32 N. Moore St.). (4) Cheryl Hazen Gallery (35 N. Moore St.) showcases mosaics and paintings, while (5) Steven Amedee (41 N. Moore St.) has an amalgam of frames and contemporary art. As you wander, look for posted pink paper signs—notices from the mayor's office announcing upcoming film shoots.

If you could use some home cooking, stop at (6) Bubby's (120 Hudson St.), where the mac and cheese is divine, and pies stretch to the sky.

(7) Issey Miyake's flagship store (119 Hudson St.) is adorned with metallic installations created by architect Frank Gehry; the clothes are structural wonders, too.

For foodie fans of all things Japanese, it's (8) Nobu (105 Hudson St.), though savvy locals flock to (9) Nobu Next Door (105 Hudson St). The little-sister eatery doesn't take reservations. You can, though, walk in and give your cell phone number—you'll get a call when your table is ready.

Another option: Head to Tribeca's first Japanese restaurant, (10) Zutto (77 Hudson St.), a favorite of John F. Kennedy, Jr., who lived close by. His photo is behind the bar.

(11) Puffy's Tavern (81 Hudson St.), a 1950s relic, retains the cozy feel of yore, while (12) Chanterelle (2 Harrison St.), home to culinary adventures, is all glam. Owner Karen Waltuck says, "Even if you don't have a reservation, come by: Plans change, we get cancellations—you might get in."

Wander west to wide-open (13) Hudson River Park, whose walking/biking path traces the island. (14) Duane Park (Duane and Hudson Sts.) was bought from Trinity Church in 1797 for five dollars. Exquisite shops (selling nothing for five dollars) ring the park. Chef David Bouley's (15) Danube (30 Hudson St.) is just east, as is (16) Bouley (120 W. Broadway); both require reservations. But (17) Bouley Bakery (130 W. Broadway) has café tables, the same stellar food, and takeout.

Original star hub (18) Odeon (145 W. Broadway) opened in 1980. Downtown denizens still fuel up on the fabulous fries, and opening credits for Saturday Night Live continue to be shot here.

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