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Hell’s Kitchen is rising in popularity and home prices

Hell’s Kitchen is no longer one of Manhattan’s best kept secrets.

Instead, the midtown west neighborhood is becoming the next Chelsea, with new luxury developments and trendy venues amidst the area’s remaining mom and pop shops, according to area experts.

Though the fresh highrises along the Hudson River are changing the skyline, other parts of Hell’s Kitchen still boast the same old red brick low-rises for which the area is known.

From West 41st Street to West 56th Street between Eighth and 10th avenues, buildings are limited to a height of 66 feet — about seven stories tall — under a city zoning law, which preserves the Hell’s Kitchen from the days when it was home to mostly working-class immigrants and theater performers.

Lily Fable, who owns the fifth-generation Poseidon Bakery — a favorite of Alec Baldwin — on Ninth Avenue, found the neighborhood was a good place to raise her son.

“Because we’re lucky enough to own the entire building, we’ve always lived in the apartments above the bakery and gotten to know all of our neighbors and visitors,” she said.

Today, Ninth Avenue is often packed with local food enthusiasts and tourists. However, 10th and 11th avenues, which are a hike from the local subway stations, still have much less foot traffic.

“My front windows face Ninth Avenue,” said Porter Pickard, an actor and 26-year resident. “Not only is it filled with restaurants and bars, but the sidewalks on Ninth Avenue are probably 10 to 12 feet narrower than they are on 10th Avenue. So you’ve got all of this foot traffic, which is shoved into this tiny narrow corridor on either side of the street. So yeah, it gets noisy.”

Despite its popularity, not all the shops on Ninth Avenue have survived, according to Bobby Esposito, the third-generation owner of Esposito Meat Market, which opened at Ninth and 38th Street in 1932.

“A lot of the other family shops are gone,” he said. “But we’re still here, grinding sausages every day.”

Hell’s Kitchen is becoming more like neighboring Chelsea these days, according Christopher Ritchey, a real estate salesperson with Compass.

“People are getting priced out of Chelsea and moving here,” he said. “It’s convenient — you can walk to Central Park or see a Broadway show or walk down to the West Village for drinks.”

According to real estate listings site StreetEasy, the median rental price in Hell’s Kitchen in 2015 was $3,660, and the median sales price was $1,002,537. The area was just slightly less expensive than Chelsea, where the median sales price in 2015 was $1,150,000 and the median rent was $3,750.

One tip for prospective Hell’s Kitchen renters is that the walk-ups toward Eighth Avenue often have studio apartments for under $2,000 a month, which tend to appeal to young professionals, Ritchey noted.

To entice residents to the far-flung regions of 10th and 11th avenues, the new highrises come with luxury amenities and offer shuttle buses to subway stations.

Gotham West, a 32-story residence at West 45th Street and 11th Avenue that opened in 2013, created the Gotham West Market on its ground floor for its residents to shop in. Its other offerings include a health center with daily yoga classes and a curated art gallery.

The new 71-story Sky, which opened last year at West 42nd and 11th, includes spas for people and their pets, an NBA regulation-sized basketball court and a lap pool, among other amenities.

Developer Douglas Durst’s new pyramidal building, Via 57 West, which is currently under construction between 11th and 12th avenues, will feature numerous social and health-related activities, along with various forms of greenspace.

The closest subways to these buildings are over on Eighth Avenue, and “it would have been nice to have a 7 train extension,” admitted Dan McLaughlin, a six-year resident and owner of The Pony Bar, Kiabacca Bar and Lansdowne Road, all on 10th Avenue, referring to a plan to build an extension to West 41st Street and 10th Avenue that was dropped in 2007.

But living in Hell’s Kitchen makes the periodic long walks worth it, residents said.

“I’ve considered leaving Hell’s Kitchen, but I just can’t bring myself to do it,” said Andy Padian, a 26-year resident. “From getting coffee from Sergio at Sugar Deli [on Ninth Avenue] to the friends I’ve made at the [Clinton] Community Garden, I like my small and intimate community here.”

Find it:

Hell’s Kitchen is bordered by West 34th Street to the south and West 57th Street to the north. It sits between Eighth Avenue to the east and the Hudson River to the west.

Hell's Kitchen restaurants

Joe Allen Restaurant326 W. 46th St.Spot your favorite
Photo Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

Joe Allen Restaurant

326 W. 46th St.

Spot your favorite Broadway stars before and after shows here, as bartender Dan Conway estimated that 75% of the employees are performers. Joan Rivers used to frequent here for the banana cream pie.

Underwest Donuts

638 W. 47th St.

Located in a carwash alongside the West Side Highway, this shop sells cake donuts in innovative flavors, like espresso bean and mulled cider.


355 W. 46th St.

This family-oriented Italian restaurant offers unlimited refills of three fresh pastas made in-house for $24.95.

Bars and nightlife

Lansdowne Road599 10th Ave.Head to this Irish pub
Photo Credit: iStock

Lansdowne Road

599 10th Ave.

Head to this Irish pub to catch a game on its big screen TVs or to try something off the whiskey menu.

Birdland Jazz Club

315 W. 44th St.

A Beat Generation favorite that's still popular among midtown executives.

Beer Culture

328 W. 45th St.

Tap into some of the latest microbrews that are all the rage in NYC these days.

Things to do

Terminal 5610 W. 56th St.Catch a big act
Photo Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

Terminal 5

610 W. 56th St.

Catch a big act like The Neighborhood on June 15 or At The Drive-In on June 17 (sold out) at this multi-level event space that fits 3,000 people.

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Pier 86, West 46th Street and 12th Avenue

This former U.S. Navy ship is a popular tourist attraction, but for New Yorkers, it also offers Operation Slumber, a series of overnight sleepovers for families and youth groups.

Clinton Community Garden

434 W. 48th St.

A community garden built by Hell's Kitchen residents in a vacant lot in 1978. It has a six-year waitlist for one of its 106 plots, but the park in the front is open to the public.

Shopping in Hell's Kitchen

Hell's Kitchen Flea Market519 Ninth Ave.Open on Saturdays
Photo Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

Hell's Kitchen Flea Market

519 Ninth Ave.

Open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with everything from vintage Chanel shoes to home decor. Cash only.

Couture du Jour

349 W. 44th St.

This vintage shop's proximity to the Theater District means shoppers might find a one-of-a-kind piece from a Broadway costume designer.

Delphinium Card and Gift

353 W. 47th St.

Founded by three former theater actors, this cute stationery and craft store is curated for all your Pinterest-worthy projects.

Celebrities who have lived in Hell’s Kitchen

Sylvester StalloneBruce WillisPete DavidsonAnthony BourdainDavid BlaineChevy ChaseLarry DavidVanessa
Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Frederic J. Brown

Sylvester Stallone

Bruce Willis

Pete Davidson

Anthony Bourdain

David Blaine

Chevy Chase

Larry David

Vanessa Carlton

Alicia Keys

Henrik Lundqvist

Transit basics

Trains:A, C, E to 34th Street-Penn Station and
Photo Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang


A, C, E to 34th Street-Penn Station and 42nd Street-Port Authority

C, E to 50th Street

7 to 34th Street-Hudson Yards


M11, M12, M20, M31, M34A, M42, M50, M57, M104

Hell's Kitchen real estate data

Median recorded sales price: $1,002,537 Number of units
Photo Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

Median recorded sales price: $1,002,537

Number of units on market: 825

Median rent price: $3,660

Number of rentals on market: 3,328

(Source: StreetEasy)

The buzz

While Hell's Kitchen is becoming known for its
Photo Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

While Hell's Kitchen is becoming known for its wave of new developments, not all the area's new residences are changing the Manhattan skyline.

The Stella Tower at 25 W. 50th St., designed by art deco architect Ralph Walker in 1927 for the New York Telephone Company and converted into condos last year, still houses a telephone company, Verizon, below the 10th floor.

Above it are 51 boutique condos with starting prices at $4 million.

"Stella Tower is right across the street from me, and it's gorgeous," actor, producer and 26-year resident Porter Pickard said. "That's adaptive use of an existing building, which I'm a big proponent of. They didn't just knock it down to build something taller."

For those on a slightly tighter budget who want to avoid the skyscrapers, another new residence of limited height is the seven-story, 55-unit Nine52 at 416 W. 52nd St. -- the former home of St. Vincent's Hospital -- where prices start at $1.1 million.

Q&A with William Hooker, resident and musician

William Hooker, 69, is a drummer who has
Photo Credit: NOEL DUAN

William Hooker, 69, is a drummer who has been living in Hell's Kitchen with his wife for 44 years and he raised his son in the neighborhood in the mid-1970s. He is the co-founder of the Hell's Kitchen Cultural Center, a non-profit that showcases works from local artists at various venues in the area, and hosts an annual jazz fest, "Rhythm in the Kitchen." We spoke with Hooker about art and life in Hell's Kitchen.

What does Hell's Kitchen contribute to the rest of the city?

Let me give you an example: Alvin Ailey [American] Dance Theater [on West 55th Street] is the most diverse dance company in the world. They are three blocks from me. I walk up there and I see little children of every race doing dance, I see older individuals doing dance. We go into the [Alvin Ailey's] black box theater and we can get tickets for about $20 to go see dance shows. That's an incredible thing. That brings a certain intelligence to the neighborhood, which brings a cultural intelligence to the rest of the city.

What do you think about the new developments?

Look at Harlem, the East Village, Bushwick: All these other places are undergoing these exact same gentrifications that Hell's Kitchen is undergoing, too. And I'm not going to change the way I live. Just as we have to put up with how other people define life, people have to put up with how we define life as well. So we just have to find a way to co-exist and to keep that wholesomeness in the neighborhood. I raised my son there in the '70s, and what's exciting for me is that if I go outside Saturday morning and I look at the park next to P.S. 111, I still see parents with their children -- just as I had done over 30 years ago. It was, and is, a diverse place. And if we can co-exist in our neighborhood, that's an example to the rest of the city.

What's the music scene like here?

So many of the people that live in Hell's Kitchen are the great people performing throughout the world. And it's a beautiful thing when you can just take your drums and walk five blocks to go and give a concert and there's people from the jazz and experimental scene that don't have to go all the way to Gowanus or Red Hook or Bushwick, which people think are the only places where things are happening.


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