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.”
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.