Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Neighborhood Focus: Hell's Kitchen

Hell's Kitchen refers to the area between 34th Street and 59th Street from 8th Avenue to the Hudson River. The neighborhood has been home to gangs and violence in the past but has transformed into a lively area frequented by actors and some of NYC's best bars. Irish immigrants settled in Hell's Kitchen in the mid-19th Century, falling victim of the Great Famine in their home country. These immigrants found work on the docks and railroads, but soon overpopulated this "land of opportunity" and the increasing poverty led to gang formation. It was around this time that the neighborhood was coined the name "Hell's Kitchen" even though it's exact origins are not known. Some claim Davey Crockett started the term when he used it to describe the Five Points slum, while others claim the name is traced back to particular tenements in the area. One thing is for certain, it did not have a positive connotation.
Gangs were on the rise through the next several few decades, with increased violence during Prohibition and the arrival of Puerto Rican immigrants in the 1950s. The hostility among the Puerto Rican, Irish, and Italian immigrants in the area is highlighted in the film West Side Story. The Irish-American gang, the Westies, who had violent tendencies and ties with the Gambino family, controlled Hell's Kitchen from the mid-1960's through the 1980's. In 1986, convictions under the Rackateer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act haltered the gang activity in Hell's Kitchen, and by the early 1990's, the neighborhood was in full swing of a gentrification.
With the prominent Midtown as its neighbor, Hell's Kitchen started to become more elite as Midtown continued to prosper. Young professionals and actors moved into this area and continue to enjoy the close proximity to the business district and Broadway theaters alike. Some celebrities that have lived in Hell's Kitchen include Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stalone, Jerry Seinfeld, Madonna, and Alicia Keys. Despite the increasing prominence of the neighborhood, we will never forget the famous gangsters like Owney Madden and James Coonan that dominated Hell's Kitchen before all that. The municipality, gentrifies, and real estate agents tend to refer to the area as "Clinton" to erase the reputation of the neighborhood's past, but Hell's Kitchen will always be Hell's Kitchen.To get a more in-depth and interactive history of Hell's Kitchen as well as enjoy a few beers at historic bars in the area, check out the Hell's Kitchen Pub Crawl offered Wednesdays at 7:30 pm.

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John Clark said...

Activity may be a assortment of individuals, work items, communications, and processes that represent a cooperative effort to realize a goal.Thanks for this beautiful idea!
Activities in New York

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