Why is it called Hell’s Kitchen? – New York City Forum

what is hell’s kitchen

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Hi…..my apologies in advance for a silly question, but I’ve always wondered about this area? Great name…..there must be a good story behind it.

Plus, I’ll be staying at the Belvedere in September, so it’s nice to have some history of the neighbourhood.

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It used to be a pretty rough area of town. The term supposedly orginated with a cop during the late 1800s who was there during some kind of riot. He said something along the lines that it had a hotter climate even than Hell, that this is Hell’s Kitchen.

Now that it’s a more up-and-coming area, people are starting refer to it as Clinton.

I stayed at the Belvedere last month and really fell in love with the area. It’s got a lot of great restaurants and it’s close to the theaters without being in the middle of all the tourist madness. Enjoy.

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It was a very rough neighborhood in the 1930s and 1940s, mostly Irish. Not the same any longer.

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Thanks for the quick replies! I’m really looking forward to seeing the city for the first time…..

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This is from factspider.com…

“Originally the expression “Hell’s Kitchen” referred to a rough neighbourhood on the South Side of London. The term in reference to New York first appeared in print on September 22, 1881 when a New York Times reporter went to a police guide to get details of a multiple murder there. He referred to a particular tenement at 39th Street and 10th Avenue as “Hell’s Kitchen,” and said that the entire section was “probably the lowest and filthiest in the city.” According to this version, 39th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues became known as Hell’s Kitchen and the name was later expanded to the surrounding streets.”

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Very appropriate that “Hell’s kitchen” can be now be associated with Clinton!

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Hell’s Kitchen is an area boundaried by 34th Street and 59th Street on the south and north respectively and by 8th Avenue and the Hudson River on its east and west sides. Up until the gentrification of the 80’s and 90’s it was largely an Irish enclave for years.

There are any number of stories about the derivation of its name, but two of the most commonly accepted are that once, two Irish cops were watching a riot in the neighborhood and one said to the other “This place must be Hell.” The other responded, “Hell has a milder climate than this place. This is Hell’s Kitchen.”

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The second story has to do with a German immigrant named Heil who owned a diner popular with dockworkers some time after the Civil War. The diner was called Heil’s Kitchen but through mispronunciation became, through the years, Hell’s Kitchen.

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Much of the original “Hells Kitchen” neighborhood was wiped out over the years by giant renewal projects, including the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the Javits Convention Center, Lincoln Center and entry ramps to the Lincoln Tunnel. It ain’t what it used to be.

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My father was raised in Hell’s Kitchen (www.operationplayground.org/bob_moretti.html) in the 1930s-50s. He spoke of his growing up days alot. He also said that even though HK was a tough neigborhood, he also said people there respected each other. A woman could walk around at night, and often had her groceries carried home for her by local boys.

It was Irish and Italian. And the boundaries are quite exact. You often will hear of someone boasting of their years living in HK, when in fact they were a block off. People want to ‘tell fish tales’ about living there, because they want to feel like they were a part of HK, even when they weren’t.

My father passed away just last Wednesday. He moved out of HK in 1953 to join the Air Force, retiring as a Lt Colonel.

Clinton. Oh well. He voted for Bush.

Johnny

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The new name Clinton has nothing to do with Bill Clinton!!!

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