In honor of the new Daredevil show on Netflix I decided to head into Hell’s Kitchen this week. It’s not clear where Hell’s Kitchen, also known as Clinton or Midtown West, gets its name as the stories are varied but the common thread is that the neighborhood was not a great place to be. Originally the area was used for industry and trains due to the proximity to the Hudson river but soon Irish immigrants moved in. During Prohibition many gangs operated out of Hell’s Kitchen driving the shantytowns deeper into crime and poverty. Up until the 1990’s the neighborhood remained gritty and crime ridden despite being adjacent to the bustling Time’s Square Theater District. You can see why a superhero like Daredevil would operate out of here trying to clean the neighborhood up. Nowadays Hell’s Kitchen, like most of New York, is being heavily gentrified with many new establishments and high rise residential buildings but still remains industrious. Bounded by 57th St. and 34 St. from North to South and 8th Ave to the Hudson River from East to West, Hell’s Kitchen is easily accessible from the A, C, E, and Port Authority Bus Terminal.
My first stop was to grab a bite to eat at Añejo. They are known for their modern Mexican fare. The rustic interior adds nicely to the vibe but I just couldn’t resist sitting outside on the patio on such a wonderful spring day. Although the whole menu sounded delicious I settled on the mushroom tacos and a side of yucca fries with the house sauce. I happened to go during happy hour and had to get the Añejo Margarita. The half salted rim was great for choosing which sips I wanted plain or not. Maybe it was partly because I was so hungry but everything I ordered really hit the spot.
New York has a lot of parks to choose from which offer a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. But coming in at 2nd largest just after Central Park is the Hudson River Park. I’ve talked about visiting this park before but that was down in the West Village and TriBeCa. Now we are at the Northern most end of the Hudson River Park. At 54th St. and the West Side Highway you’ll find the entrance to a well kept lawn to sprawl out on. Unfortunately for you pet owners, the lawn doesn’t allow dogs. During the summer (May – October) be sure to check out the Manhattan Community Boathouse at Pier 96 (right there in the park); they offer free kayaking lessons! You can walk-up but on a first come first serve basis or you can sign up for one of their classes. And boom, just like that you’ll be paddling along the Hudson River…for FREE! Be sure to take in the skyline while you’re floating around out there.
To keep with the spring/summer feeling I’d had all day I popped in to Réunion. The entrance is catchy with the bright blue awning and the lifeguard chair and once you head in down the stairs you’re greeted by a surf shack. You’d think you had been transported to some beach bar on the West Coast. Everything is tropical and island themed including the drinks, some with names like Shark’s Blood, Mermaid, and Hawaiian Pog. I landed on the Acid Drop, a grapefruit vodka, and grapefruit juice drink with a vanilla sugar rim. It was quite refreshing and exactly what I was looking for to match my mood. The frozen Mojitos sounded pretty tasty too though.
And here are some more views from around Hell’s Kitchen:
Marseille (French), Hallo Berlin (beer garden), Pam Real Thai Food (Thai), Gazala’s Place (Middle Eastern), Tulcingo Del Valle (Mexican), Mercato (Italian) Daisy May’s BBQ USA (BBQ), Nizza (Mediterranean), La Silhouette (French/American), Totto Ramen (Ramen), Azuri Cafe (Falafel), Meske (Ethiopian), Larb Ubol (Thai), Ageha Sushi (Sushi), Basera Indian Bistro (Indian), Empanada Mama, The Marshal (American/Farm-to-Table), City Sandwich, Inti NYC Restaurant (Peruvian), or Westway Diner (open 24hrs). If none of those places work out then take a stroll down 9th Ave (aka Restaurant Row) and have your pick of some great ethnic food.
Valhalla (beer), Beer Authority, Rudy’s (dive), Pony Bar (20 beers on tap), Albert Hall Tavern (beer), Ardesia (wine), Fairytale Lounge, Flaming Saddles (country western/gay), Xai Xai Wine Bar, Ivy (lounge/cocktail), Havana Social (Cuban/cocktails), Manhattan Cricket Club (cocktail), Barcelona Bar (specialty shots), The Rum House (lounge/cocktail), La Pulperia (Latin/cocktail), The Skylark (lounge/cocktail), Bar Downstairs (lounge/cocktail), On The Rock (cocktail), The Press Lounge (rooftop bar), or Print (lounge).
Don’t Tell Mama (cabaret shows/drinks), Dewitt Clinton Park (park and sports areas), Birdland (live jazz music), see a play at one of the many theaters in the area, or attend the taping of a tv at one of the studios in Hell’s Kitchen (CBS, 106 & Park, Sony Music).
Ink48 Hotel (river view), 414 Hotel, The GEM Hotel Midtown West, or of course snag an AirBnB
Photographed and edited by: Nick Pierce
p.s. Did you guys watch Daredevil? Wasn’t it fantastic?!