Notes on Hell’s Kitchen MALIN 1 of 2 Below is from Hell's Kitchen, tagged by Kacey Herlihy Hell’s Kitchen spans roughly from 34th Street to 59th Street west of 8th Avenue, and has a history that supports its name. (The original neighborhood included sections of both Chelsea and Lincoln Square following the docks along the West Side. The former being dismantled as a residential neighborhood for the “Lincoln Tunnel Project” (1934- 1937) and the latter being bulldozed as part of the “Lincoln Square Renewal Project” (1950’s-1960’s)). The neighborhood, although it has improved over the years, still retains its diversity and it’s charm. With a background flooded with immigrants, the neighborhood has developed as a center of ethnic cuisine. The neighborhood, also called Clinton, is part of Community District 4.The neighborhood has deep-rooted Irish roots, and has a very large artistic community. The Hudson River Railroad, which ran down 11th avenue and earned the avenue the nickname “Death Avenue,” opened a station at 30th street in 1851, brought factories, slaughterhouses, lumberyards, and tenements to house the workers. Impoverished conditions and close living created tension, and there were often riots or brawls between the Irish Catholics and the Protestants and the Irish and the African- Americans, and gangs took over the streets; the neighborhood was mostly Irish and German immigrants. At the end of the 1950s the City Planning Committee changed the neighborhood’s name from Hell’s Kitchen to Clinton, after DeWitt Clinton, the former New York City Mayor and Governor. The neighborhood, although surrounded by the extremely gentrified Upper West Side to the North Chelsea to the South, and Midtown to the East, still maintains its diversity, and is known for the ethnic cuisine throughout the neighborhood and more specifically on Restaurant Row on 46th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues, and along 9th avenue. The 9th Avenue International Food Festival has ran from 42nd Street to 57th for 37 years, was started by the Ninth Avenue Association, and features clothing, music, and arts and crafts vendors and cuisines from all over the world. The Ninth Avenue Association was created to bring attention to “New York’s most diverse and interesting ethnic neighborhood” in 1973 and their purpose is to “unite the business community, help the neighborhood with every day challenges, to work with city agencies on behalf of local merchants, and to support worthy neighborhood causes.” (http://ninthavenuefoodfestival.com/about_us) Italic Parenthesis added by Bill Malin Notes on Hell’s Kitchen MALIN 2 of 2 The following is from “Hell’s Kitchen”, Wikipedia.org After the American Civil War the population increased dramatically, as tenements were erected and increased immigration added to the neighborhood's congestion. Many in this poverty stricken area turned to gang life and the neighborhood soon became known as the "most dangerous area on the American Continent". At the turn of the century, the neighborhood was controlled by gangs, including the violent Gopher Gang led by the notorious Owney Madden. The violence escalated during the 1920s, as Prohibition was implemented. The many warehouses in the district served as ideal breweries for the rumrunners who controlled the illicit liquor. Gradually the earlier gangs such as the Hell's Kitchen Gang were transformed into organized crime entities around the same time that Owney Madden became one of the most powerful mobsters in New York. After the Repeal of Prohibition, many of the organized crime elements moved into other rackets, such as illegal gambling and union shakedowns. The postwar era was characterized by a flourishing waterfront, and work as a longshoreman was plentiful. By the end of the 1950s, however, the implementation of containerized shipping led to the decline of the West Side piers and many longshoremen found themselves out of work. In addition, the construction of the Lincoln Tunnel had devastated much of Hell's Kitchen to the south of 39th Street. … During the 1950s, immigrants, notably Puerto Ricans, moved into the neighborhood. The conflict between the Irish, Italians, and the Puerto Ricans is highlighted in West Side Story. The movie was filmed from 65th Street and 69th Street between Amsterdam and West End Avenue, north of Hell's Kitchen. Part of the sites seen are old P. S. 94 on the corner of 68th Street and Amsterdam Avenue and St. Michael's Church. The movie was filmed during the demolition of this area that was to become Lincoln Center. In 1959, an aborted rumble between rival Irish and Puerto Rican gangs led to the notorious "Capeman" murders in which two innocent teenagers were killed. By 1965, Hell's Kitchen was the home base of the Westies, a deeply violent Irish American crew aligned with the Gambino crime family. It was not until the early 1980s that widespread gentrification began to alter the demographics of the longtime working-class Irish American neighborhood. The 1980s also saw an end to the Westies' reign of terror, when the gang lost all of its power after the RICO convictions of most of its principals in 1986. Today Hell's Kitchen is an increasingly upscale neighborhood of actors and affluent young professionals, as well as residents from the 'old days'. It has also acquired a large diverse community as residents have moved north from Chelsea.
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