Rediscovering New York

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

2020/03/24 - Chelsea

[EPISODE] Chelsea

This week’s show will take us to Chelsea, one of New York’s most exciting neighborhoods. My guests will be Kevin Draper, Director of New York Historical Tours, and Monica Saxena, owner of aRoqa, a restaurant serving superb and contemporary Indian cuisine.

Segment 1

Jeff introduces the first guest of the show, Kevin Draper, who talks growing up in Long Island and Manhattan and how he got into the current business he is in now, which rose from a passion he formed in childhood. The conversation begins with the Native pre-colonial history of the Chelsea area transitioning to the arrival of the Dutch and the American Revolution. The two highlight a notable resident, Clement Clarke Moore, who is credited with writing the poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and talk about his legacy in the neighborhood. The segment ends with the industrialization of Chelsea. 

Segment 2

Kevin gives out information for New York Historical Tours and promotes new short virtual tours that people can experience at home. The conversation continues with how modern Chelsea first started to take shape as how it is known today back in the sixties, the architectural evolution and standouts of the neighborhood, and the continual development through the twentieth century of the socioeconomic, visual and cultural aspects of Chelsea.  

Segment 3

Jeff introduces the second guest of the show, Monica Saxena who talks about her origins growing up in India, living in London, and moving to the United States, before talking about the history and the mission of her nonprofit aRoqa and how she first got involved in the first place. The conversation steers towards Monica’s charitable ventures and her motivations behind supporting those as well as her motivations for opening up her restaurant in Chelsea.

Segment 4

Monica explains the meaning of the name aRoqa and how she came to open up her business in Chelsea. She describes the vibe of the local area and how she chooses to give back to the neighborhood, also discussing changes that she’s seen in Chelsea over time. Monica discusses the demographics of her customers, as well as talks about what she’s learned owning an independent business, especially during times like these, the show closing on what she thinks is currently lacking in the neighborhood.