In 1959, the Midtown West/Clinton area started to be frequently referred to as Clinton, after the neighborhood’s biggest city park, DeWitt Clinton Park. But the area has a far more popular name, one which has stuck throughout the years: Hell’s Kitchen.
Hell’s Kitchen was considered a dangerous place to live until the 1980s, due to the high crime rate and violent gangs that once claimed it as their turf. The neighborhood then underwent gradual gentrification that was initiated during the 1970s, but large-scale redevelopment was kept in check for over 30 years due to strict zoning rules that sought to protect the neighborhood’s low-rise character and its residents.
Failed rezoning attempts and a recession during the early 1990s stalled development, but once the recession was over, a second wave of gentrification took place. High rises were and are rapidly constructed in areas that have no height restrictions, and older buildings converted into high-end residences.
A good example of this would be the Stella Tower, a 51-unit luxury condo with multimillion dollar prices at West 50th Street. It is housed in a 1927 Art Deco building that was formerly used by the New York Telephone Company.
Hell’s Kitchen is located in an area that is roughly bounded by West 57th Street to the north, 8th Avenue to the east, West 34th Street to the south, and 12th Avenue overlooking the Hudson River to the west. New York City’s Garment District and Theater District lies to the east, Chelsea to the South, Lincoln Square to the north, and Central Park to the northeast.
Present-day Hell’s Kitchen has transformed into a high-end locale, with old residents mixed in with a new wave of affluent young professionals who have relocated from Chelsea or other parts of Manhattan. As further proof of the neighborhood’s dramatic change of image from seedy to upscale, real estate prices have steadily risen over the last several years.
What was once a feared neighborhood is now dotted with prominent skyscrapers and structures, which include the gleaming Hearst Tower with its unique triangular framing pattern, the three-building, mixed-use complex known as Worldwide Plaza, and the voluminous, space-framed Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, located at Pier 86 on 46th Street, isn’t an actual building, but the former aircraft carrier USS Intrepid that was converted into a museum showcasing various aircraft, including the Space Shuttle.
8th Avenue is lined with skyscrapers, while 11th Avenue offers businesses like car dealerships, gas stations, plumbing supplies, and more. Because of building height restrictions, many cross streets are low-rise, but numerous high-rises that were built in recent years or are still under construction can be found along 42nd Street and 57th Street, including the massive Via 57 West being built on the corner of 12th Avenue and 57th Street.
Via 57 West is a mixed-use residential tower with a highly unusual distorted pyramid shape that is technically called a hyperbolic paraboloid; this project will have over 700 units and is expected to be completed in a couple of years.
But perhaps the most ambitious project in the area is the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project that is currently being constructed on the West Side Yard. When completed, the complex will have 16 skyscrapers containing about 5,000 residences, state-of-the-art office towers, a retail center with over 100 shops and two levels of restaurants, a 200-room hotel, a 750-seat public school, a unique cultural space, plus 14 acres of open space.