The first thing that should be said about this vibrant community is to not let the name put you off! Hell’s Kitchen is a nickname that was given back in the 1880s and referred to the riots that used to take place in the overcrowded tenements when factories dominated the west side. This traditional blue-collar neighborhood has been gentrifying for decades since then and has become a very desirable residential neighborhood in which to live.
And though it can sometimes be difficult to find affordable accommodation in Manhattan, Hell’s Kitchen is an exception to the rule. It also has just the right blend of fantastic restaurants and shops, great apartments, and a thriving cultural life. High-rise doorman buildings (many of which were constructed since the late 1990s), stone row homes and flats above shops make up most of the area.
The community is comprised of both younger and older business people, professionals, teachers (F.I.T. and Parson’s are nearby), and many actors, who benefit from being close to the Theater District (Central Midtown). The neighborhood also has a significant gay community, though not as visible as in West Village or Chelsea.
The area is also referred to as Clinton or Midtown West and is part of Midtown Manhattan. The northern border is usually considered to be 59th street, the eastern border is 8th Avenue, the southern border West 34th Street and the western border is the Hudson River. This means the neighborhood includes two major transportation hubs: The Port Authority Bus Terminal and Penn Station. The A, C and E subway lines also run along 8th Avenue, making it easily accessible.
The two main shopping streets in Hell’s Kitchen are 8th Avenue and 9th Avenue:
- Eighth Avenue offers a variety of unique shops, along with fashion and department stores. At 59th Street & 8th Avenue, you’ll find Columbus Circle and Time Warner Center, also terrific places to shop.
- Along Ninth Avenue you’ll find stores ranging from quaint boutiques to department stores.
- If you’re looking to buy fruits and veggies for competitive prices, stop by Stiles Farmers Marketon located on 41st Street & 9th Avenue or 52nd Street between 8th and 9th Avenue. These little markets are open every day and offer unbelievably affordable fruits and vegetables. On 57th Street & 9th Avenue, the 57th Street Green Market is held twice a week and is a great place to purchase fresh produce from local farms.