Once a nefarious playground for an array of street thugs, Hell's Kitchen is now a hot spot for foodies, theater aficionados and tourists.
Long gone are the days when Irish, African-American and Hispanic street gangs with names like the Gophers and the Gorillas roamed, violently clashing. But the gritty name remains, adored by many residents and resilient to past proposals aimed at rebranding the neighborhood as Clinton.
During the 1800s and early 1900s, warehouses, tenement buildings, slaughterhouses, lumberyards and factories dominated. These days, Hell's Kitchen is home to Theater Row on 49th Street between Ninth and Dyer avenues, Restaurant Row on 46th Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues, and the scenic piers overlooking the Hudson River.
Though parts of Hell's Kitchen remain industrialized, it has its share of green spaces: Hudson River Park along the West Side Highway; the Clinton Community Garden at 434 W. 48th St.; Hell's Kitchen Park at 10th Avenue between 47th and 48th streets; and DeWitt Clinton Park at 52nd Street between 11th and 12th avenues.
Sandwiched between Chelsea and the Upper West Side, Hell's Kitchen stretches from 34th Street up to 59th Street. Its eastern border is Eighth Avenue and to the west is the Hudson River.
WHERE TO EAT
QUEEN OF SHEBA, 650 10th Ave. Experience traditional Ethiopian cuisine such as Doro Wat (slow-cooked chicken stew) and shiro (split peas), mopped up with spongy injera bread. (212-397-0610, shebanyc.com)
WHERE TO DRINK
SKY ROOM, 330 W. 40th St. This rooftop bar offers a panoramic view of the city and happy hour specials during the week. (212-380-1195, skyroomnyc.com)
WHAT TO DO
INTREPID SEA, AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM, West 46th Street at 12th Avenue. Get an up-close view of the space shuttle Enterprise, a Concorde jet or a Cold War-era submarine aboard this decommissioned aircraft carrier. (212-245-0072, intrepidmuseum.org)
BIRDLAND JAZZ CLUB, 315 W. 44th St. Birdland has hosted some of the most famous acts from Charlie Parker to John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie. There's still live jazz nightly; this weekend is the Django Reinhardt NY Festival. (212-581-3080, birdlandjazz.com)
HELL'S KITCHEN FLEA MARKET, 426 W. 39th St. Open Saturdays and Sundays year-round, the market offers vintage and contemporary finds from more than 30 vendors. (212-243-5343, hellskitchenfleamarket.com)
TRITON GALLERY, 630 Ninth Ave., Suite 808. Specializing in theatrical posters and art, especially Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. (212-765-2472, broadwayposters.com)