Hell’s Kitchen NYC wasn’t always the tourist hotspot it is today. During the years after the American Civil War, this part of New York became very popular among returning servicemen. At the same time, it developed a reputation for the slaughter and processing of animals for meat. During the late 1800s, crime and gang culture in the area became so bad The New York Times labeled the area “Hell’s Kitchen.”
This gritty and relatively deprived area of New York City struggled with gang violence throughout most of the 20th century. Italian, Chinese and Irish mobsters battled for control of the area for decades — until efforts began to gentrify the area during the mid-1990s. If you’re visiting Hell’s Kitchen in NYC, expect a very different experience to the one you might have had just two or three decades ago.
Here are a few tips to help you plan the perfect day out in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC.
Famous Landmarks and Tourist Attractions in Hell’s Kitchen
Simply walking around the streets of Hell’s Kitchen gives you the opportunity to soak up a history that stretches back to Dutch rule. There are so many wonderful landmarks and attractions to enjoy, but a few simply can’t be missed if you’re only visiting for a day or two. Make sure you spend some time aboard The Intrepid, which is a World War II aircraft carrier that serves as a museum dedicated to sea, air and space travel.
If you want a little respite from the charged, bustling ambiance of Hell’s Kitchen, head to Hudson River Park for a picnic. This is where you’ll find the NYC Greenway cycle path, Pier 84 and lots of green space to enjoy. If you have small children, enjoy ball games and lots of open space at De Witt Clinton Park.
Sample the Culture of Hell’s Kitchen
There’s an abundance of culture to be enjoyed in Hell’s Kitchen, and most of the main attractions are located within a short walk of one another. Hell’s Kitchen hosts a wide range of off-Broadway productions throughout the year, including dramatic plays, musicals and one-man shows. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Baryshnikov Arts Center are two of the most popular theaters in the area.
Modern and fine art are also well represented throughout Hell’s Kitchen. If you want to explore contemporary works from local and international artists, spend a few hours at Affirmation Arts, which is an exhibition venue with continually changing exhibits. Also in Hell’s Kitchen is the Sean Kelly Gallery, which houses works from acclaimed artists such as Terence Koh, Antony Gormley and Marina Abramovic.
Shopping and Eating in Hell’s Kitchen
Hell’s Kitchen is perfect for people who like to browse fashions, souvenirs and craft items at leisure. If you shop anywhere in the area, make sure it’s Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, which sells everything from discount T-shirts to antique housewares. For a luxury gift to take home with you, check out Fine and Dandy, which sells men’s fashions and accessories from some of the most acclaimed labels in America. Domus (artisan goods) on West 44th Street and Stiles Farmer’s Market on West 52nd Street are also worth checking out.
You’re really spoilt for choice when it comes to dining in Hell’s Kitchen. Whether you’re looking for classic Italian fare or Oriental cuisine, you never have to walk too far to find exactly what tickles your taste buds. One of the most prestigious eateries in the area is Mario Batali’s Esca, which serves a wide range of delicacies from the south of Italy. Toloache on West 50th Street has a reputation for serving classic Mexican dishes in a Paris bistro dining environment. Or Druze specialities such as fattoush salad and za’atar are always on the menu at Gazala’s Place on 9th Avenue.
Plan your NYC visit carefully with the help of Gosur, and you won’t have to worry about missing out on any of the world class attractions awaiting you in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC.