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Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan


Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan

Hell's Kitchen
Neighborhood of Manhattan
Looking south on Ninth Avenue from 49th Street
Looking south on Ninth Avenue from 49th Street
Nickname(s): HK, Clinton
Map of New York City, with the dot showing the position of Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan
Hell's Kitchen
Location in New York City
Country United States
State New York
City New York City
Borough Manhattan
 • Total 0.841 sq mi (2.18 km2)
Population [1]
 • Total 45,729
 • Density 54,000/sq mi (21,000/km2)
  2008 figures for Hell's Kitchen
 • White 88.3%
 • Asian or Pacific Islander 6.2%
 • Hispanic 5.6%
 • Black 2.3%
 • Other 3.3%
ZIP code 10018, 10019, 10036
Area code(s) 212, 917

Hell's Kitchen, also known as Clinton and Midtown West, is a neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City, between 34th Street in the south, 59th Street in the north, Eighth Avenue in the east, and the Hudson River to the west.[2] The area provides transport, medical, and warehouse infrastructure support to Manhattan's Midtown business district.

Once a bastion of poor and working-class Irish Americans, Hell's Kitchen's proximity to Midtown has changed it over the last three decades of the 20th century and into the new millennium. The 1969 City Planning Commission's 1969 Plan for New York City reported that development pressures related to its Midtown location were driving people of modest means from the area, and the gritty reputation that Hell's Kitchen developed afterward kept real estate prices below those of most other areas of Manhattan. Since the early 1990s, the area has been gentrifying, and rents skyrocketed.

Being close to both Broadway theatres and Actors Studio training school, the area has long been a home to actors learning and practicing their craft.


  • Boundaries 1
  • Name 2
  • History 3
    • Early history and development 3.1
    • Unity with the city and deterioriation 3.2
    • First wave of gentrification 3.3
      • Special Clinton zoning district 3.3.1
      • Windermere 3.3.2
      • Failed rezoning attempts 3.3.3
    • September 11, 2001 3.4
    • Redevelopment and second wave of gentrification 3.5
  • Parks 4
  • Culture 5
    • Entertainment industry 5.1
    • Food 5.2
  • Transportation 6
  • Education 7
  • In popular culture 8
  • Notable residents 9
  • Notes 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Location map of Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan

"Hell's Kitchen" generally refers to the area from 34th to 59th Streets. Starting west of Eighth Avenue, city zoning regulations generally limit buildings to six stories. As a result, most of the buildings are older, and are often walk-up apartments. For the most part, the neighborhood encompasses the ZIP codes 10019 and 10036. The post office for 10019 is called Radio City Station, the original name for Rockefeller Center on Sixth Avenue.


Looking south from Eighth Avenue and 46th Street
View from between 47th and 48th Streets on Ninth Avenue looking northeast toward Time Warner Center and Hearst Tower

Several explanations exist for the original name. An early use of the phrase appears in a comment Davy Crockett made about another notorious Irish slum in Manhattan, Five Points. According to the Irish Cultural Society of the Garden City Area:

When, in 1835, Davy Crockett said, "In my part of the country, when you meet an Irishman, you find a first-rate gentleman; but these are worse than savages; they are too mean to swab hell's kitchen." He was referring to the Five Points.[3]

According to an article by Kirkley Greenwell, published online by the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association:

No one can pin down the exact origin of the label, but some refer to a tenement on 54th Street as the first "Hell's Kitchen." Another explanation points to an infamous building at 39th as the true original. A gang and a local dive took the name as well.... a similar slum also existed in London and was known as Hell's Kitchen.[4]

Local historian Mary Clark explained the name thus:

...first appeared in print on September 22, 1881 when a New York Times reporter went to the West 30s with a police guide to get details of a multiple murder there. He referred to a particularly infamous tenement at 39th Street and Tenth Avenue as "Hell's Kitchen," and said that the entire section was "probably the lowest and filthiest in the city." According to this version, 39th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues became known as Hell's Kitchen and the name was later expanded to the surrounding streets. Another version ascribes the name's origins to a German restaurant in the area known as Heil's Kitchen, after its proprietors.[5] But the most common version traces it to the story of "Dutch Fred the Cop," a veteran policeman, who with his rookie partner, was watching a small riot on West 39th Street near Tenth Avenue. The rookie is supposed to have said, "This place is hell itself," to which Fred replied, "Hell's a mild climate. This is Hell's Kitchen."[5][6]

Hell's Kitchen has stuck as the most-used name of the neighborhood, even though real estate developers have offered alternatives of "Clinton" and "Midtown West", or even "the Mid-West". The Clinton name, used by the municipality of New York City, originated in 1959 in an attempt to link the area to DeWitt Clinton Park at 52nd and Eleventh Avenue, named after the 19th century New York governor.


Early history and development

New York Passenger Ship Terminal in Hell's Kitchen at 52nd Street

On the island of Manhattan as it was when Europeans first saw it, the Great Kill formed from three small streams that united near present-day Tenth Avenue and 40th Street, then wound through the low-lying Reed Valley, renowned for fish and waterfowl,[7] to empty into the Hudson River at a deep bay on the river at the present 42nd Street (Manhattan).[8] The name was retained in a tiny hamlet, Great Kill, that became a center for carriage-making, while the upland to the south and east became known as Longacre, the predecessor of Longacre Square (now Times Square).[9]

One of the large farms of the colonial era in this neighborhood was that of Andreas Hopper and his descendants, extending from today's 48th Street nearly to 59th Street and from the river east to what is now Sixth Avenue. One of the Hopper farmhouses, built in 1752 for John Hopper the younger, stood near 53rd Street and Eleventh Avenue; christened "Rosevale" for its extensive gardens, it was the home of the War of 1812 veteran, Gen. Garrit Hopper Striker, and lasted until 1896, when it was demolished. The site was purchased for the city and naturalistically landscaped by Samuel Parsons Jr. as DeWitt Clinton Park. In 1911 New York Hospital bought a full city block largely of the Hopper property, between 54th and 55th Streets, Eleventh and Twelfth Avenues.[10] Beyond the railroad track, projecting into the river at 54th Street, was Mott's Point, with an 18th-century Mott family house surrounded by gardens that was inhabited by members of the family until 1884 and survived until 1895.[11]

Harborview Terrace public housing buildings between West 54th and West 56th Streets, and Tenth and Eleventh Avenues, part of the New York City Housing Authority[12]

A lone surviving structure that dates from the time this area was open farmland and suburban villas is a pre-1800s carriage house that once belonged to a villa owned by ex-Vice President and New York State governor

  • Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association
  • New York Magazine neighborhood profile
  • Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Business and Services Directory

External links

  1. ^
  2. ^ Benson, Michael R. "Clinton frets over that gleam in developers' eyes", The New York Times, December 22, 1985. Accessed February 17, 2008. "Hell's Kitchen, which stretched from 40th to 59th Streets and from Eighth Avenue to the Hudson, is now called Clinton. The modern district reaches south to 34th Street."
  3. ^ Walsh, John (September 1994). "The Five Points". © Irish Cultural Society of the Garden City Area. Retrieved April 21, 2015. 
  4. ^ Greenwell, Kirkley. "Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association". HKNA Official website. World Wide Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Klara Madlin Real Estate Inc. "Clinton/Hell's Kitchen". Retrieved 10 January 2009. 
  6. ^ a b "Hell's Kitchen Park Highlights". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  7. ^ Gerard T. Koeppel, Water for Gotham: A History, 2001:10. ISBN 0-691-01139-7
  8. ^ Eric W. Sanderson, Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City, 2009: Appendix A, p. 253 ISBN 978-0-8109-9633-5; refs. G.E. Hill and G.E. Waring Jr, "Old wells and water-courses on the isle of Manhattan", in Historic New York, M.W. Goodwin, A.C. Royce, and R. Putnam, 1897; and others.
  9. ^ Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace, Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, 1999:721. ISBN 0-19-511634-8
  10. ^ "NEW HOSPITAL HOME ON OLD HOPPER FARM; Elegant Country Mansion for Over a Century on Block Bought by the New York Hospital.". The New York Times. 1911-03-12. Retrieved 2015-09-20. 
  11. ^ "New York's New Up-town Centre; Long Acre Square of To-day and Yesterday -- Scenes Witnessed in the Neighborhood "During Revolutionary Times -- Property Owners Whose Gardens and Farms Once Made the District Attractive -- Washington's Connection with the Place -- A Famous Road House and the Civil War.". The New York Times. 1902-09-21. Retrieved 2015-09-20. 
  12. ^ "Profile: Harborview Terrace", NYCHA website
  13. ^ Kevin Walsh, Forgotten New York: The Ultimate Urban Explorer's Guide to All Five Boroughs (2006), p.176.
  14. ^ Gilbert Tauber , "Old Streets of New York": "B" Streets.
  15. ^ "New York's New Up-town Centre; Long Acre Square of To-day and Yesterday -- Scenes Witnessed in the Neighborhood "During Revolutionary Times -- Property Owners Whose Gardens and Farms Once Made the District Attractive -- Washington's Connection with the Place -- A Famous Road House and the Civil War.". The New York Times. 1902-09-21. Retrieved 2015-09-20. 
  16. ^ Ken Bloom, Broadway: Its History, People, and Places: An Encyclopedia, "Introduction", 2004, p. xiii.
  17. ^ , 1851.The Hudson River and the Hudson River RailroadBradbury and Guild,
  18. ^ Bayor, Ronald H. and Meagher, Timothy J. (1997). The New York Irish, pp. 217–18. JHU Press. ISBN 0-8018-5764-3.
  19. ^ English, T.J. (2006). The Westies: Inside New York's Irish Mob, p. 39. Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-36284-6.
  20. ^ Stern, Michael (1970-12-08). "6TH AND LAST PART OF MASTER PLAN ON CITY RELEASED; Volume on Manhattan Urges Building of Offices Along 48th St. Transit Line WESTWARD PATTERN SET Condemnation of Big Tracts Intended to Insure Public Use of Some of Area Final Volume of Master Plan for the City Completed". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-20. 
  21. ^ Burks, Edward C. (February 24, 1971). "City Planning Convention Center". The New York Times. 
  22. ^ Darnton, John (1973-02-14). "Convention Center Model Unveiled Here With Pride; A 4-Level Building Docking Privileges A Dissenting View". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-20. 
  23. ^ Tomasson, Robert E. (1973-02-18). "Developers Turning to West Midtown; Developers Turn to West Side". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-20. 
  24. ^ Fowler, Glenn (1974-11-22). "CITY IS LIMITING CLINTON BUILDING; Board of Estimate Enacts Special Zoning Controls on Runaway Development". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-20. 
  25. ^ Kaiser, Charles (1978-04-29). "Convention Site At West 34th St. Chosen by Koch; He and Carey Outline Plans for Center West 34th Street Site Is Chosen for Convention Center Developer Hails Decision A 50-Page Assessment Hope for New Revenues". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-20. 
  26. ^ NYC Landmark report
  27. ^ The Windermere at Curbed New York
  28. ^ "Ninth Avenue Noir" by Elias Wolfberg, The New York Times, January 20, 2002
  29. ^ "An Epic Landlord-Tenant Fight, Crossing Years and Continents" by Anthony Ramirez, The New York Times, October 22, 2007
  30. ^ "Fire Dept. Orders Windermere Tenants Out" by Anthony Ramirez, The New York Times, September 22, 2007
  31. ^ Associated Press (May 10, 2008). "Repairs Ordered at Windermere". The New York Times. Retrieved October 25, 2009. 
  32. ^ a b Mitchell L. Moss (November 2011). "HOW NEW YORK CITY WON THE OLYMPICS" (PDF). Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.  
  33. ^ a b Lyons, Richard. “Glittering Javits Center Kindles Dreams For West Side.” New York Times. New York. April 6, 1986. Section B, Page 7, Column 1.
  34. ^ Finder, Alan. “Developers Named For Hudson Complex.” New York Times. New York. February 11, 1987. Section B, Page 1, Column 2.
  35. ^ Scardino, Albert. “Project Would Extend Office Towers To Ninth Avenue.” New York Times. New York. April 22, 1987. Section B, Page 1, Column 2.
  36. ^ Gottlieb, Martin. “New Sports Arena Planned For Site West Of 10th Ave.” New York Times. New York. April 26, 1986. Section 1, Page 1, Column 1.
  37. ^ Scardino, Albert. “12-Block Office-Entertainment Center Planned On West Side.” New York Times. New York. April 6, 1987. Section B, Page 1, Column 2.
  38. ^ Oser, Alan. “Perspectives: The West 30’s; Land Uses Near the Convention Center.” New York Times. New York. February 4, 1990. Section 10, Page 9, Column 2.
  39. ^ Buder, Leonard. “Area Near Javits Center Is Rezoned.” New York Times. New York. February 24, 1990. Section 1, Page 29, Column 2.
  40. ^ Howe, Marvine. “Neighborhood Report: Midtown; After 30 Years It’s Ciao, Giordano.” New York Times. New York. October 24, 1993. Section 13, Page 6, Column 1.
  41. ^ Lambert, Bruce. “Neighborhood Report: Clinton; On Ninth Ave., A New Call For Help...” New York Times. New York. July 10, 1994. Section 13, Page 6, Column 4.
  42. ^ Lyons, Richard. “Postings: For Pioneers?; Housing Near Javits Center.” New York Times. New York. July 2, 1989. Section 10, Page 1, Column 4.
  43. ^ Rozhon, Tracie. “80’s Giant Dreams Facing 90’s Economic Realities.” New York Times. New York. June 9, 1996. Section 9, Page 1, Column 4.
  44. ^ Dunlap, David. “The Taming Of the ‘Wild West’.” New York Times. New York. August 24, 1997. Section 9, Page 1, Column 5.
  45. ^ Runs and Workers – 2007
  46. ^
  47. ^ "Hell’s Kitchen: NYC’s gentrified, yet homey neighborhood". Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  48. ^ Critchlow, Katharine (April 29, 2013). "Hell's Kitchen – April 29, 2013". Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  49. ^ "Manhattan Rental Market Report". April 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2014. 
  50. ^ Joseph J. Varga, Hell's Kitchen and the Battle for Urban Space: Class Struggle and Progressive Reform in New York City, 1894–1914. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2013.
  51. ^ a b Fitzsimmons, Emma G. (2015-09-10). "Subway Station for 7 Line Opens on Far West Side". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-13. 
  52. ^ a b Tangel, Andrew (2015-09-13). "New Subway Station Opens on NYC’s Far West Side". WSJ. Retrieved 2015-09-13. 
  53. ^ Volpe, Joseph (May 7, 2014). "New York's next big neighborhood is its smartest".  
  54. ^ "10 Hudson Yards Availabilities | Hudson Yards". January 22, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  55. ^ Hogan, Gwynne (2015-08-13). "New Park Begins Transformation of Industrial Hudson Yards District". DNAinfo New York. Retrieved 2015-08-20. 
  56. ^
  57. ^ Malloy, Allie (January 1, 2014). "Bill de Blasio: Central Park's horse-drawn carriages should ride into history". CNN. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  58. ^ "'"Liam Neeson blasts Mayor de Blasio for skipping carriage horse stable tour: 'He should have manned up and come. New York Daily News. March 9, 2014. 
  59. ^ "Behind the Scenes in the Clinton Park Horse Stables for the Central Park Carriages". Untapped Cities. April 28, 2014. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  60. ^ "The Stables Where Central Park Carriage Horses Live". Business Insider. April 6, 2012. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  61. ^ "MTA’s 469th Station is First Addition to Subway System in 26 Years". MTA. September 13, 2015. Retrieved September 13, 2015. 
  62. ^ a b , July 15, 2012The Wall Street Journal, in New Charters Proposed for ManhattanFleisher, Lisa, , as accessed July 25, 2012, (a version printed as New Charters Proposed for Manhattan., p. A17 (U.S. ed.), July 16, 2012).
  63. ^ Name: (Success Academy Charter Schools) (official website)Success Academy Hell's Kitchen, as accessed December 2, 2012.
  64. ^ Antonson, Rick (2012). Route 66 Still Kicks: Driving America's Main Street.  
  65. ^ Jamieson, Wendell. "City Lore; Hard-Boiled Tales, Told by a Gentleman", The New York Times, January 1, 2006. Accessed August 11, 2009. "BENJAMIN APPEL was an author of more than 25 novels from 1934 to 1977, many of them set in New York. He was raised in Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan and lived much of his life in Roosevelt, N.J., but after he moved he still came back to New York often."
  66. ^ "Disappearing Manhattan." Anthony Bourdain No Reservations. Travel Channel. February 23, 2009.
  67. ^ Grimes, William. "George Cain, Writer of ‘Blueschild Baby,’ Dies at 66", The New York Times, October 29, 2010. Accessed October 31, 2010.
  68. ^ Staff. "Second Cup Cafe: Vanessa Carlton", CBS News, November 17, 2007. Accessed August 10, 2009. "A few years ago, this three-time Grammy nominee was living in New York's Hell's Kitchen and working as a waitress in Lower Manhattan between performances at open mic nights in the city's clubs."
  69. ^ a b McShane, Larry. "The real Kramer says actor no racist: But Richards is 'paranoid,' 'very wound-up'", Chicago Sun-Times, November 26, 2006. Accessed August 11, 2009. "The real Kramer lived for 10 years in a Hell's Kitchen apartment across the hall from Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, and his life became the framework for Richards' quirky, bumbling Seinfeld sidekick."
  70. ^ Mervis, Scott. "Music Preview: Through her first several records, Alicia Keys has a golden touch", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 17, 2008. Accessed August 10, 2009. "Keys, a classically trained pianist raised in Hell's Kitchen by her Italian-Scottish mother, spent a few years after she dropped out of Columbia University trying to launch her pop career with songs on soundtracks."
  71. ^ a b Allen, Kevin. "Mullen brothers come long way from Hell's Kitchen", USA Today, February 7, 1989. Accessed August 11, 2009.
  72. ^ Brantley, Ben; Severo, Richard. "Jerry Orbach, Stage and TV Actor, Is Dead at 69", The New York Times, December 30, 2004. Accessed August 11, 2009.
  73. ^ Homberger, Eric. "Mario Puzo: The author of the Godfather, the book the Mafia loved", The Guardian, July 5, 1999. Accessed August 10, 2009. "Born the son of illiterate Neapolitan immigrants, and one of 12 children, Puzo grew up in Hell's Kitchen on the west side of Manhattan."
  74. ^ via The Milwaukee Sentinel, November 25, 1980. Accessed August 10, 2009. "After growing up in New York's tough Hell's Kitchen area, Raft was a boxer, electrician and baseball player before landing a job as a dancer in nightclubs in the 1920s."
  75. ^ Frankel, Bruce. "Rourke sits in on trial of pal Gotti", USA Today, March 17, 1992. Accessed August 10, 2009. "The bad-boy actor, who grew up in Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan, spent the morning in court on a 'family – the Gotti family – pass, following transcripts of conversations between Gotti, Salvatore 'Sammy Bull' Gravano and others."
  76. ^ Guest Kevin Spacey on YouTube, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, May 2, 2014


  1. ^ Norton, the great-nephew of John Leake, founder of Leake and Watts Children's Home, is listed among early 19th-century owners of considerable tracts in what is now Hell's Kitchen, with John Jacob Astor, William Cutting, Thomas Addis Emmet, Andrew Hopper, John Horn and William Wright.[15]


Notable current and former residents of Hell's Kitchen include:

Notable residents

In popular culture

The Success Academy Charter Schools group opened an elementary school,[62] Success Academy Hell's Kitchen,[63] in the High School of Graphic Communication Arts building in 2013.[62]


Hell's Kitchen is bounded on the east by the New York City Subway's IND Eighth Avenue Line (A C E trains). The MTA built the 7 Subway Extension (7 <7> trains) for the aforementioned Hudson Yards development. The extension to 34th Street – Hudson Yards opened on September 13, 2015,[51][52] making the IRT Flushing Line the westernmost New York City Subway line within Midtown.[61]

Hell's Kitchen begins northwest of Penn Station. Amtrak trains going into the station run along a sunken corridor west of Tenth Avenue, which feeds into the Freedom Tunnel; it is used by approximately thirty trains daily. During the post-9/11 building boom, apartment houses have been built over sections of the train tracks.

Cruise ships frequently dock at the New York Passenger Ship Terminal in the 48th to 52nd piers called Piers 88, 90, 92. Cruise ship horns are a common sound in the neighborhood. Several French restaurants opened on West 51st Street to accommodate traffic from the French Line. The piers originally built in 1930 are now considered small, and some cruise traffic uses other locations. Other ship operations in the neighborhood include Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises at West 42nd and the NY Waterway ferry service.

Many of the horse-drawn carriages from Central Park stay in stables just off the West Side Highway. It is not uncommon to hear the sound of horses in the neighborhood. There have been calls for banning horse-drawn carriages, especially from Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio following a handful of collisions between cars and carriages.[56][57][58] The carriage horses live in historic stables originally built in the 19th century, but today boast the latest in barn design, such as fans, misting systems, box stalls, and state-of-the-art sprinkler systems. As horses always have in densely populated urban areas, the carriage horses live upstairs in their stables while the carriages are parked below on the ground floor.[59][60]

The massive Port Authority Bus Terminal is between 40th and 42nd Streets and Eighth and Ninth Avenues. Several New York City Bus routes (such as the M11, M12, M31, M34 SBS, M42, M50) also service the area.

The Lincoln Tunnel connects New York City to New Jersey. Parking lots dot the neighborhood, but are dwindling in quantity as developments are being built. Eleventh Avenue is lined with car dealerships, many of which claim to have the highest volume among all dealerships for their brands in the country.

Amtrak train in Empire Connection trench
Port Authority Bus Terminal at 42nd and Eighth Avenue


Ninth Avenue is noted for its many ethnic restaurants. The Ninth Avenue Association's International Food Festival, stretches through the Kitchen from 37th to 57th Streets every May, usually on the third weekend of the month. It has been going on since 1974 and is one of the oldest street fairs in the city. There are Caribbean, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Irish, Mexican, and Thai restaurants as well as multiple Afghan, Argentine, Ethiopian, Peruvian, Turkish, Indian, Pakistani, and Vietnamese restaurants. Due to the abundance of restaurants, Restaurant Row is located on West 46th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues.

Restaurant Row on West 46th Street


The headquarters of Troma studios is located in Hell's Kitchen. The Baryshnikov Arts Center opened at 37 Arts on 37th Street in 2005, the Orchestra of St. Luke's opened the DiMenna Center for Classical Music in the same building in 2011. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater opened at 55th Street and Ninth Avenue in 2006.

The Comedy Central satirical program The Daily Show has taped in Hell's Kitchen since its debut. In 2005, it moved from its quarters at 54th Street and Tenth Avenue to a new studio in the neighborhood, at 733 Eleventh Avenue, between 51st and 52nd Streets. The 54th and 10th location was used for The Colbert Report throughout its entire run from 2005 until 2014. As of 2015 the studio is used for The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, following Stephen Colbert's departure from Comedy Central. Next door to at 511 W. 54th St. is Ars Nova theater, home to emerging artists Joe Iconis and breakout star Jesse Eisenberg, among others.

The neighborhood is also home to a number of broadcast and music-recording studios, including the CBS Broadcast Center at 524 West 57th Street, also the home of Black Entertainment Television's 106 & Park show; the former Sony Music Studios at 460 West 54th Street, which closed in 2007; Manhattan Center Studios at 311 West 34th Street; and Right Track Recording's Studio A509 orchestral recording facility at West 38th Street and Tenth Avenue. The syndicated Montel Williams Show is also taped at the Unitel Studios, 433 West 53rd Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues.

Manhattan Plaza at 42nd Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues was built in the 1970s to house artists. It consists of two 46-story towers with 70 percent of the apartments set aside for performing artists. The Actors' Temple and Saint Malachy's Roman Catholic Church with its Actors' Chapel also testify to the long-time presence of show business people.

With the opening of the original Improv by Budd Friedman in 1963, the club became a hangout for singers to perform but quickly attracted comedians, as well, turning it into the reigning comedy club of its time. Located on West 44th near the SE corner of 9th Ave, it has since shuttered, replaced by a restaurant.

Hell's Kitchen's gritty reputation had made its housing prices lower than elsewhere in Manhattan. Given the lower costs in the past and its proximity to Broadway theatres, the neighborhood is a haven for aspiring actors. Many famous actors and entertainers have resided there, including Burt Reynolds, Rip Torn, Bob Hope, Charlton Heston, James Dean, Madonna, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Alicia Keys, John Michael Bolger, and Sylvester Stallone. This is due in large part to the Actors Studio on West 44th at which Lee Strasberg taught and developed method acting.

Manhattan Plaza performing artist residence and Film Center Cafe on Ninth Avenue, looking south
Hell's Kitchen gear for sale in the Video Cafe on Ninth Avenue

Entertainment industry


The Clinton Community Garden, a neighborhood garden, is a result of the actors living in the area. Since they mostly work at night in the local theatres, they took time to create a garden in what was then a rubble-strewn lot. Eventually it contributed to the area's gentrification.

A newer park in Hell's Kitchen is the Hudson Park and Boulevard, which is part of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project.[55]

One such park is Hell's Kitchen Park, built in the 1960s on a former parking lot on 10th Avenue between 47th and 48th Streets.[6]

Hell's Kitchen's side streets are mostly lined with trees. The neighborhood does not have many parks or recreational areas, though smaller plots have been converted into green spaces.

Hell's Kitchen Park


The most prominent real estate project in the area, the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project—a mixed-use real estate development by Related Companies and Oxford Properties—is expected to consist of 16 skyscrapers containing more than 12,700,000 square feet (1,180,000 m2) of new office, residential, and retail space. Among its components will be an extension of the IRT Flushing Line, serving the 7 <7> trains, to the 34th Street – Hudson Yards station. This new station opened on September 13, 2015,[51][52] at 34th Street and 11th Avenue, and will serve a renovation of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, six million square feet (560,000 m2) of commercial office space, a 750,000-square-foot (70,000 m2) retail center with two levels of restaurants, cafes, markets and bars, a hotel, a cultural space, about 5,000 residences, a 750-seat school, and 14 acres (5.7 ha) of public open space.[53] Hudson Yards officially broke ground on December 4, 2012, with the first tower, an 895-foot (273 m) office building in the southeast corner of the site, expected to be complete in 2015.[54]

Hell's Kitchen has become an increasingly upscale neighborhood of affluent young professionals as well as residents from the "old days",[46][47][48] with rents in the neighborhood having increased dramatically above the average in Manhattan.[49] It has also acquired a large and diverse community as residents have moved north from Chelsea. Zoning has long restricted the extension of Midtown Manhattan's skyscraper development into Hell's Kitchen.[50] The David Childs and Frank Williams designed Worldwide Plaza established a beachhead when it was built in 1989 at the former Madison Square Garden site, a full city block between 49th and 50th Streets and between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. The city under Michael Bloomberg relaxed zoning all over the city in the wake of the September 11 attacks. This led to a real-estate building boom with Hell's Kitchen getting some of the biggest projects in the city, including the Hearst Tower at 56th Street and Eighth Avenue. An indication of how fast real estate prices rose in the neighborhood was a 2004 transaction involving the Howard Johnson's Motel at 52nd and Eighth Avenue. In June, Vikram Chatwal's Hampshire Hotel Group bought the motel and adjoining SIR (Studio Instrument Rental) building for $9 million. In August, they sold the property to Elad Properties for about $43 million. Elad, which formerly owned the Plaza Hotel, is in the process of building The Link, a luxury 44-story building.

Looking north on 8th Avenue from 42nd Street

Redevelopment and second wave of gentrification

Larry Silverstein made part of his fortune that eventually earned him the lease for both World Trade Centers by building and managing buildings in the neighborhood. Silverstein's architect David Childs designed the Time Warner Center and Worldwide Plaza buildings in the area before designing the new One World Trade Center.

While almost all fire stations in Manhattan lost firefighters in the September 11 attacks, the station with the greatest loss of firefighters was Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9 at 48th Street and Eighth Avenue, which lost 15 firefighters. Given its proximity to Midtown, the station had specialized in skyscraper fires and rescues and, in 2007, was the second busiest firehouse in New York City, with 9,685 runs between the two companies.[45] Its patch reads "Pride of Midtown" and "Never Missed a Performance". Memorials dot the station's exterior walls and a granite memorial is in a park to its north. Ladder 21, the "Pride of Hell's Kitchen", located on 38th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, and stationed with Engine 34, lost 7 firefighters on September 11. In addition, on September 11, Engine 26 was temporarily stationed with Engine 34/Ladder 21 and lost many firefighters themselves.

Memorial to 15 firefighters from West 48th Street station who died on September 11, 2001

September 11, 2001

By the early 1990s, there was a recession, which scuttled plans for rezoning and severely reduced the amount of development in the area.[43] After the recession was over, developers invested in areas like Times Square, eastern Hell's Kitchen, and Chelsea, but mostly skipped the Far West Side.[44]

Because the zoning regulations at the time did not allow any buildings above 66 feet (20 m) or seven stories, whichever was less, none of these plans were feasible. Even if the buildings were erected, there was very little public transit in the area; they would be extremely far from Penn Station; and none of the proposals for a quick link to Penn Station were viable.[32] No changes to the zoning policy happened until 1990, when the city rezoned a small segment of 11th Avenue near the Javits Center.[38][39] In 1993, part of 9th Avenue between 35th and 41st Streets was also rezoned.[40][41] However, neither of these rezonings was particularly significant, as most of the area was still zoned as a manufacturing district with low-rise apartment buildings.[42]

By the 1980s, though, the area was in decline. Both the state and the city hoped that the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center would renew the area.[32] Hotels, restaurants, apartment buildings, and television studios were proposed.[33] One proposal included apartments and hotels on a 30 acres (12 ha) pier jutting out onto Hudson River, which also included a marina, ferry slip, stores, restaurants, and a performing arts center.[34] At Ninth Avenue and 33rd Street, a 32-story office tower would be built.[35] Hotels, apartment buildings, and a Madison Square Garden would be built over the tracks west of Pennsylvania Station.[36][37] North of the Javits Center, a "Television City" would be developed by Larry Silverstein in conjunction with NBC.[33]

Looking south on Tenth Avenue from 59th Street

Failed rezoning attempts

In 1980, the then-owner, Alan B. Weissman, tried to empty the building of its tenants. According to former tenants and court papers, rooms were ransacked, doors were ripped out, prostitutes were moved in, and tenants received death threats in the campaign to empty the building. All the major New York newspapers covered the trials that sent the Windermere's managers to jail. Although the building's landlord, Alan B. Weissman, was never linked to the harassment, he and his wife made top billing in the 1985 edition of The Village Voice annual list, "The Dirty Dozen: New York's Worst Landlords."[28] Most of the tenants eventually settled and moved out of the building. As of May 2006, seven tenants remained[29] and court orders protecting the tenants and the building allowed it to remain in derelict condition even as the surrounding neighborhood was experiencing a dramatic burst of demolition and redevelopment. Finally, in September 2007, the fire department evacuated those remaining seven residents from the building, citing dangerous conditions, and padlocked the front door.[30] In 2008 the New York Supreme Court ruled that the owners of the building, who include the TOA Construction Corporation of Japan, must repair it.[31]

As the gentrification pace increased, there were numerous reports of problems between landlords and tenants. The most extreme example was the eight-story Windermere complex at the southwest corner of Ninth Avenue and 57th Street. Built in 1881, it is the second-oldest large apartment house in Manhattan.[26][27]

Windermere Apartment at 57th and Ninth


Special permits are required for all demolition and construction in the SCD, including demolition of "any sound housing in the District" and any rehabilitation that increases the number of dwellings in a structure. In the original provisions. no building could be demolished unless it was unsound. New developments, conversions, or alterations that create new units or zero bedroom units must contain at least 20% two bedroom apartments with a minimum room size of 168 square feet (16 m2). Alterations that reduce the percentage of two bedroom units are not permitted unless the resulting building meets the 20% two bedroom requirement. Finally, building height in the Preservation Area cannot exceed 66 feet (20 m) or seven stories, whichever is less.

  • Preservation Area: 43rd to 56th Streets between Eighth and Tenth Avenues. R-7 density, 6-story height limit on new buildings, suggested average apartment size of two bedrooms (this was a response to the fact that between 1960 and 1970 developers had torn down 2,300 family-sized units and replaced them with 1,500 smaller units).
  • Perimeter Area: Eighth Avenue, 42nd and 57th Streets. Bulkier development permitted to counterbalance the downzoning in the preservation area.
  • Mixed Use Area: Tenth and Eleventh Avenues between 43rd and 50th Streets. Mixed residential and manufacturing. New residential development only permitted in conjunction with manufacturing areas. Later combined into "Other Areas".
  • Other Areas: West of Eleventh Avenue. Industrial and waterfront uses. Later combined with "Mixed Use Area"

The SCD was originally split into four areas:

Nevertheless, in 1973 the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center was approved for a 44th Street site that would replace piers 84 and 86. In exchange the City abandoned the 1969–70 master plan[23] and gave the neighborhood a special zoning district to restrict further redevelopment.[24] Since then, new development has filled in the many empty lots and rejunvinated existing buildings. However, in 1978, when the city could not afford to construct the 44th Street convention center, the Mayor and Governor chose the rail yard site originally proposed by the community. Major office and residential development south of 42nd Street went unrealized until the unrelated Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project started construction much later.[25]

To forestall the negative impacts of the master plan, the Clinton Planning Council and Daniel Gutman, their environmental planner, proposed that the convention center and all major development be located south of 42nd Street.[22]

In part to qualify for federal aid, New York developed a comprehensive Plan for New York City in 1969–70. For Hell's Kitchen, the master plan called for two to three thousand hotel rooms, 25,000 apartments, 25,000,000 square feet (2,300,000 m2) of office space, a new super liner terminal, a subway along 48th Street, and a convention center to replace what the plan described as "blocks of antiquated and deteriorating structures of every sort."[20] However, outrage at the massive residential displacement that this development project would have caused, and the failure of the City to complete any replacement housing, led to opposition to the first project — a new convention center to replace the New York Coliseum.[21]

Although the neighborhood is immediately west of New York's main business district, development lagged for more than 30 years because of strict zoning rules in a Special Clinton District designed to protect the neighborhood's residents and its low-rise character.

Eighth Avenue was once lined with porn stores and theaters. The stores have been mostly gone since the late 1990s, but this particular store, which was highlighted in the 2003 film Phone Booth, remained until 2007.

Special Clinton zoning district

First wave of gentrification

In 1959, an aborted rumble between rival Irish and Puerto Rican gangs led to the notorious "RICO convictions of most of its principals in 1986.

After the containerized shipping led to the decline of the West Side piers and many longshoremen found themselves out of work. In addition, the construction of the Lincoln Tunnel had split Hell's Kitchen in the Lincoln Tunnel ramp area at 39th Street, and anything southwest of 39th Street and Tenth Avenue was virtually condemned.[19]

After the Owney Madden became one of the most powerful mobsters in New York.

Mission House, Hell's Kitchen, c. 1915

The formerly rural riverfront was transformed for industrial uses such as tanneries that could discharge their effluent into the river and ship their production by the rails. Hence the beginnings of the neighborhood of the southern part of the 22nd Ward, which would become known as Hell's Kitchen, start in the mid-19th century, when immigrants from Ireland, most of them refugees from the Great Famine, began settling on the west side of Manhattan in shantytowns along the Hudson River. Many of these immigrants found work on the docks nearby, or along the railroad that carried freight into the city along Eleventh Avenue.

The first change that began to unite the area more closely to New York City was the construction of the Hudson River Railroad, which completed the forty miles to Peekskill on September 29, 1849, to Poughkeepsie by the end of that year, and extended to Albany in 1851. As far as 60th Street, the track ran at street grade up Eleventh Avenue, before the independent riverside roadbed commenced.[17]

Hell's Kitchen and Sebastopol, c. 1890, photographed by Jacob Riis

Unity with the city and deterioriation

, who held it before dividing it into building lots as the district became more suburban. William Cutting and John Jacob Astor Seventy acres of the Leake (later Norton) property, extending north from 42nd to 46th Street and from Broadway to the river, had been purchased before 1807 by [16] were being driven along the unpaved route to slaughterhouses on the East Side.Weehawken clear to the river. Before long, cattle ferried from 42nd Street farm, "The Hermitage", to lay out [1]. In 1825, the City purchased for $10 clear title to a right-of-way through John Leake Norton'sStraus Park, and 106th Street, now West End Avenue and the name shifted to the junction of Broadway, [14] From 1811 until it was officially de-mapped in 1857, the diminutive Bloomingdale Square was part of the city's intended future; it extended from 53rd to 57th Streets between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. It was eliminated after the establishment of Central Park,[13]

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