Living in Hell’s Kitchen: Things to Do and See in Hell’s Kitchen, New York

Hell’s Kitchen, New York—Luxury Living on the Doorstep of New York City’s Theater District

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Hell’s Kitchen has undergone a dramatic transformation over the last 25 years and has evolved into a chic urban enclave that has retained much of its urban “west side” character made famous by Leonard Bernstein’s iconic 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story. The neighborhood’s diverse performing arts scene includes Broadway and off-Broadway shows, experimental theater, and world-class ballet and contemporary dance at the Baryshnikov Arts Center and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Where is Hell’s Kitchen Located in NYC?

Hell’s Kitchen is on the west side of Midtown Manhattan, bordering Times Square and the Theater District, north of Chelsea, and south of the Upper West Side.

  • East to West Boundaries: Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River
  • North to South Boundaries: 59th Street to 34th Street
  • Subway: A, C, E, B, D, 7
  • Ticket Out of the City: The Lincoln Tunnel, Pennsylvania Station, and Port Authority Bus Terminal

What to Do in Hell’s Kitchen?

The colorful moniker of Hell’s Kitchen was first referenced in a newspaper article from 1881. After the American Civil War, the area along the Hudson River was inhabited by a number of street gangs with names such as the Parlor Mob and the Gorillas. According to The New York Times, “the block of West 39th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues saw so much fighting it was nicknamed Battle Row.” It was in one of these tenements that the name Hell’s Kitchen was born. The neighborhood was referenced in the 1927 novel Gangs of New York (later made into a film by Martin Scorsese) and made famous in Leonard Bernstein’s iconic 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story. The gangs have long since departed and today the streetscape is one of gourmet shops and boutiques; clubs, bars, and restaurants, including world-famous Restaurant Row, which runs along West 46th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues.

Hell’s Kitchen is a mecca for the performing arts. In addition to Broadway and Off-Broadway, The Actors Studio, which was founded in 1947, continues to offer workshops for professional actors, directors, and writers. Once home to Sony Studios, the area still has a number of music and television studios, including CBS Broadcast Center. The neighborhood is a beacon to up-and-coming actors and musicians. Notable past residents include Charlton Heston, Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Alicia Keys, and Larry David.

While the heart of the New York art scene is just south in Chelsea, there are several notable galleries in Hell’s Kitchen: Jadite Galleries represents a number of international contemporary artists, Triton Gallery exhibits theater art and posters, and the San Kelly Gallery showcases avant-garde and experimental installation and performance art. Fountain House Galleries is a unique art space that represents artists living with mental illness.

The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center is a premier event space for trade shows and conventions, ranging from Comic Con to the New York International Auto Show. Just off Pier 86 is the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex, an educational and cultural non-profit institution situated on the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier. The NYC Greenway travels through Hudson River Park with its stunning views of the river. One of Hell’s Kitchen’s largest green spaces is DeWitt Hell’s Kitchen Park, which encompasses nearly six acres comprising formal gardens, sports fields, bike trails, children’s playgrounds, and dog runs.

What to See in Hell’s Kitchen?

Hell’s Kitchen’s luxury real estate offerings range from 19th-century townhouses and apartment buildings to contemporary residential towers. Because of zoning laws, most of the buildings in the central part of the neighborhood are limited to six stories. The neighborhood’s 18 churches and synagogues, which date from the mid-1800s, also lend to the village-like atmosphere. Newer apartments on 10th, 11th, and 12th Avenue add a luxurious dimension to the neighborhood, while penthouses or high-floor apartments on 57th Street and West 42nd Street offer dazzling city views of Central Park, downtown Manhattan, and the Hudson River.

Where to Eat in Hell’s Kitchen?

Torishin, a Michelin-starred restaurant on West 53rd Street, bills itself as “the only really authentic Yakitori specialty restaurant in the U.S.A.” Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare was the first New York City restaurant outside Manhattan to receive the coveted three Michelin stars. The highly acclaimed French-Japanese counter spot has since moved to Hell’s Kitchen’s West 37th Street. New York City’s other three-Michelin star restaurants are nearby: Per Se and Masa, both situated in the Time Warner Center; and Le Bernadin, at 155 West 55th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. Restaurant Row, located between Eighth and Ninth Avenues on 46th Street, has more than a century’s worth of culinary delights. Barbetta, Joe Allen, are local landmarks favored by theatergoers and residents alike. Other Italian mainstays include Becco and Lattanzi. Over on Ninth Avenue, the culinary hotspots include Casellula, Empanada Mama, Nizza, and Vnyl.

What Schools are in Hell’s Kitchen?

P.S. 212, on West 48th Street, has a progressive curriculum affiliated to the Bank Street College of Education. P.S. 51, situated on West 44th Street, focuses on the arts, with dance, music, fine art, and theater workshops forming a large part of the curriculum—its elementary students score twice as high as the New York average on the statewide reading/arts exam. Success Academy Charter School, over on West 49th Street, currently serves grades five through seven. The Repertory Company High School for Theater Arts on West 43rd Street is popular for its small class size and comprehensive theater arts classes. John Jay College of Criminal Justice, one of the City University of New York’s seven senior colleges, specializes in criminal justice programs.

How Many People Live in Hell’s Kitchen?

Population: 52,518

What Languages Are Spoken in Hell’s Kitchen?

Language: English

What is the Currency in Hell’s Kitchen?

Currency: USD

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