Hell’s Kitchen

I’m taking care of a friend’s cat this weekend who lives in Hell’s Kitchen. I haven’t been up there in years and I was a little nervous about what it might look like. The last time I was there it was on its way to total gentrification, and it was one of the last places that looked like the New York of my youth and I couldn’t bear it.

Turns out my neighborhood is a thousand times worse, and the total gentrification didn’t happen up here. It’s kind of a nice mix of old and new. And my favorite restaurant Ralph’s is still there!


And lots of places that are not Starbucks.


A close-up so you can see they are selling pig toes, for the love of God, among other things.


Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

3 thoughts on “Hell’s Kitchen

  1. Wow, Stacy, I’m impressed.

    You would be hard pressed to find that variety of game meat in small Texas towns where people regularly hunt and fish.

    I know what you mean about the gentrification. Here it happens in our more rural communities. You’ll have a nice, quiet town with lots of bucolic charm, and suddenly it get discovered. Within a couple of years every fast food venue in the nation has moved in, driven the local merchants out of business, and are rapidly turning the place into another suburban community.

    One day people are walking around in boots and majoring in agriculture and animal husbandry in college, and the next day it’s Gucci loafers and people talking about their stock portfolios.

    There really should be laws against this kind of deconstruction.

    (The neighborhood in your picture looks like a set in the Sopranos.)

  2. The great thing about Hell’s Kitchen is the diversity, which used to be so much of Manhattan. It’s very Italian, Irish, Afghani, etc. Like New York used to be.

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