Many stories vie for how this neighborhood got its name: from the shantytown overflowing with dock workers of mid 1800s, to the rumrunners of Prohibition, to the violent Irish mob domination of the mid-20th century. It was considered worse than hell, which had too mild a climate. It was Hell’s Kitchen! The real estate industry has tried to change the name to Clinton or Midtown West as the area has sloughed off its now very out-of-date reputation, but folks in the neighborhood are proud of its colorful history and name.
Dining and Nightlife
As new high-end condo developments are being built among the many six-story brick buildings and commercial spaces, this increasingly hip neighborhood has maintained its low-key, slightly gritty feel. Trucks rumble down 9th Avenue and up 10th Avenue past the many fabulous established ethnic and new restaurants and bars that attract people who are perhaps on their way to see a taping of Last Week Tonight or The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, or perhaps catch a class or a performance at modern dance mecca Alvin Ailey. 11th Avenue is home to Gotham West Market, a vibrant market dining destination, as well as The Press Lounge rooftop bar with views of the Hudson River.
Art and More
Along this section of the river is docked the Intrepid, a retired aircraft carrier, which is now a museum and home of the space shuttle Enterprise. The long piers host a variety of hugely popular art and design shows throughout the year. A restored old boat has new life as floating lobster shack North River Lobster Company, which ventures out onto the Hudson for short cruises.
New Spaces Meet Old Soul
At the southern edge of Hell’s Kitchen, bordering Chelsea and the north end of the High Line, a huge new neighborhood is under construction. Hudson Yards buildings are being designed by the top names in architecture to create luxury apartments, shops, restaurants, performance spaces, and over 14 acres of public open space.
More affordable than other areas in Manhattan, Hell’s Kitchen attracts many artists who work nearby in the theaters of Broadway as well as the many other performance spaces in Midtown. Young professionals also find a comfortable home here with a walkable commute to Midtown or an easy subway ride to anywhere in the city.
Hell’s Kitchen is served by the 1, 2, 3, A, C, E, B, D, N, Q, R, and 7 subway lines, although most of these (except for the 7) are either along the eastern edge of the neighborhood or one block outside the neighborhood. The area is also served by the NY Waterway ferry at 39th St.