Hell's Kitchen

Hell's Kitchen, a Must-See in New York City's Manhattan district
Hell's Kitchen area NYC

Hell’s Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen – a must see in New York City

Hell’s Kitchen, on the west side of New York’s midtown Manhattan, is one place you need to see.  Make sure this once poor working class Irish community is high on your list of places to visit when you come to New York City.

Hell's Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen and Sebastopol, c. 1890, photographed by Jacob Riis

Once upon a time, Hell’s Kitchen, also known as Clinton, was home to the working poor of Irish descent. Located west of 8th Avenue, between 34th and 59th street, legend attributes its name to a quote by Davy Crockett from 1835:  “In my part of the country, when you meet an Irishman, you find a first-rate gentleman; but these are worse than savages; they are too mean to swab hell’s kitchen.” He was referring to the Five Points area, a notorious Irish slum in Manhattan.

 

Perhaps it’s important to mention, here, that while many people know of the often terrible plight of people of color in early America, the terrible plight of the Irish is often forgotten.  Fleeing persecution and famine in their own country, they came to the United States with the idea of escaping the shackles of their English rulers and making something of themselves.

Instead, the found that they were treated even worse than slaves, because while slaves had to be bought and cared for, the Irish were often considered totally worthless and expendable.  They were worked to death, paid terrible wages, if they were paid at all, and forced to live in terrible, cramped conditions.

In these conditions, not only was poverty everywhere, but so were the gangs, vicious thugs who preyed on their own impoverished countrymen for profit.  Thus it would seem that the story of  “Dutch Fred the Cop, a veteran policeman, is the most widely accepted source for the once infamous area’s name. Dutch Fred the Cop, was watching a small riot on West 39th Street near Tenth Avenue with a rookie cop. The rookie is credited with the statement, “This place is hell itself.”  Fred is said to have replied, “Hell’s a mild climate. This is Hell’s Kitchen.”

Hell’s Kitchen, Today

Today, Hell’s Kitchen is a simply amazing place.  Its infamous days have passed into history, with the last holdouts of its red light district closing down in the 1990s.  It has become world renowned for its dizzying number of excellent restaurants.  Almost no ethnic culinary delights have been overlooked in Hell’s Kitchen.

Hell's Kitchen Cruise Ship Dock

Hell’s Kitchen is now a beautiful place, with cruise ships docking at its waterfront, green space everywhere, and everywhere you turn, the awe-inspiring Manhattan skyline.

Did I mention the food?  Truly, if the inhabitants of hell had a choice, they would probably choose Hell’s Kitchen.  However, unlike in it’s notorious past, the area, today, is home to something for just about everyone.

As already mentioned, there’s food from all around the world, but that’s just the beginning.  There’s nightlife of every flavor and taste: speakeasies, some reportedly dating back to prohibition days, LGBTQ clubs, dive bars popular with the locals, jazz clubs and rooftop lounges. Although only a stone’s throw from Broadway (literally), theater and dance are alive and thriving in the Hell’s Kitchen of the 21st century. You can get to the High Line, a simply amazing raised park from the rail yards at the southern tip of the area. Walk along almost a mile and a half of parkland created on a retired section of raised railroad.  Then there’s the harbor, museums, stores and so much more.

Hell’s Kitchen, the place where poor immigrants from Ireland tried to make a new life, is, itself, reached that goal, brimming with life and bright hope for the future.  Book a chauffeured limousine from Fateh Limo Service to take you on the tour of a lifetime!

2 Responses

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