Hell’s Kitchen in New York was a bad neighborhood, but nowadays it mainly distinguishes itself by many nice little bars and restaurants. Nobody in New York knows the exact story behind the name Hell’s Kitchen, but there are many interesting theories about it.
The neighborhood is also called “Clinton” or “Midtown West”. The latter name actually indicates the location of the neighborhood: in Midtown Manhattan, between the Hudson River, 59th Street, Eighth Avenue and 34th Street. It is therefore a great base, with Central Park and the Broadway theaters within easy reach. But if you only use Hell’s Kitchen as a base, then you are actually short of this raw neighborhood – and yourself -. This is the melting pot as it should be; with the elderly, families, yuppies, creatives, homosexuals and heterosexuals who co-exist comfortably.
The sounds of ship’s horns and horse hooves
This part of the city is in full development, and not yet extremely popular with the general public. That means there is still plenty for you to discover. Hell’s Kitchen used to be a poor, rugged, dangerous neighborhood inhabited by Irish-Americans. In the meantime, house prices have even risen above those of the rest of Manhattan and the neighborhood can be called lively and energetic in a good way. You can only tell by the sounds that are heard. The stables of the horse and carriage horses are here, which causes the click-clapping of horse hooves, and also the horns of the cruise ships that moor here can be heard regularly.
The heavenly kitchen of Hell’s Kitchen
Despite the high housing costs, there are still – right! – enough affordable restaurants and bars. Especially on 9th Avenue you can go for a snack and a drink. The kitchens and prices are as varied as the people who live here: from Irish to Afghan, from expensive Wagyu steak to pizza points for a dollar (at the Port Authority Bus Terminal!) And from Memphis to Marseille. You can taste Memphis in the barbecue restaurant of Justin Timberlake, Southern Hospitality; tasty dishes such as spare ribs, hot wings and nachos. You can taste Marseille in the eponymous restaurant, Marseille, in dishes such as Bouillabaisse and fresh pasta. The 5 Napkin Burger served here became such a stand-alone success that “Five Napkin Burger” grew into an independent restaurant, and now a chain. The first branch is also located on 9th Avenue, on the corner of 46th Street. You will undoubtedly find queues there, but that is quite normal here. And then there’s John’s Pizza, one of the best pizzerias in town. You will find this on 44th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenue. If you prefer to explore the neighborhood with a guided tour and want to combine it with local delicacies, take a look at this Hell’s Kitchen Food Tour.
On West 46th Street you will find the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Here is the space shuttle Enterprise and the legendary aircraft carrier Intrepid. Very special to see that up close. After you have felt yourself in the clouds here, you walk in an effort to the piers south of the museum. Here you can board the Circle Line, the New York Water Taxi and other tour providers. And for those who prefer to go ashore: you can also rent bikes here!
A unique and vibrant “gay borhood”
With its vibrant nightlife and high percentage of homosexual residents, Hell’s Kitchen is also known as “gay borhood”. To illustrate: here are by far the most gay bars in all of New York, plus the first straight-friendly hotel in the world. A gay hotel “where heterosexuals are also welcome”: The OUT NYC. Maybe it has to do with the many actors who live here – close to the Broadway fire. Whatever it is, the gay scene here makes this district so unique and bustling. Hell’s Kitchen also has its own Theater Row on 42nd Street, with six historic theaters combined.