What the hell is Hell's Kitchen?
Hell's Kitchen is the New York City neighborhood located between
34th Street and 59th Street, from 8th Avenue west to the Hudson River.
In its early years, the community was primarily a
working class enclave, and many residents worked on
the docks and wharves along the river. There was a
famous pushcart marketplace beneath the Ninth Avenue
"El" south of 42nd Street. This part of the
neighborhood was largely uprooted to make way for the
Lincoln Tunnel, which crosses under the Hudson to
There are many stories of how the community got its
name. This is one of the most commonly accepted
versions: Two cops - a veteran and a rookie - were
observing a small riot near the corner of West 39th
Street and 10th Avenue (one block from Metro Baptist
Church, our festival venue.) The rookie took one
look at the melee and said, "This place is hell
itself." "Hell is a mild climate," his wizened partner
countered. "This is Hell's Kitchen."
For better than a century, Hell's Kitchen has been
true to its name, and was home to organized crime
outfits and gangs. The notorious gang called The
Westies was based in the neighborhood in the 1980s
and 1990s. An earlier gang war in the community was
immortalized in the musical West Side Story.
After a period of real estate disinvestment and
abandonment in the 1960s and 70s, the neighborhood
was discovered by young urban professionals in the 1980s
and is now perhaps the most rapidly gentrifying
neighborhood in the city. With this gentrification,
some started circulating a new, more genteel name
for the neighborhood: "Clinton".
Today, Hell's Kitchen is facing increasing
development pressures including the recently
defeated stadium for the Jets and the Olympics and a proposal
to develop a new high-rise business district along
Community Planning Board No. 4
Housing Conservation Coordinators
Housing Conservation Coordinators, Inc. (HCC) is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization based in the Hell's Kitchen/Clinton neighborhood of Manhattan to preserve and defend safe, decent and affordable housing.
For over 100 years, Hartley House has responded to the needs of New York Cityís Hellís Kitchen/Clinton community with programs and services for children, teens, seniors and families in an atmosphere of care and concern.
Clinton Seed Fund