Located in the Manhattan area of New York City in the United States, Hell’s Kitchen began life as a section of town with a harsh reputation. However, recent years have seen the area become a more desirable residential neighborhood that increasingly caters to an eclectic mix of business people, performing artists, writers, and others. Providing some of the inspiration for such stage and movie classics as West Side Story, Hell’s Kitchen once served as the base of operations for a number of underworld crime figures, including bootleggers, forgers, and organized crime organizations.
Located in the area of Manhattan that is found between 34th and 57th streets, and from the Hudson River to 8th Avenue, Hell’s Kitchen is an important component in the network that forms the Midtown Manhattan section of town. Because the neighborhood includes essential medical, storage, and transportation support to the surrounding section of town, Hell’s Kitchen sees a great deal of traffic in and out of the area. This has helped the neighborhood to bloom, with many fine restaurants and bistros to accommodate both local residents and others working in the midtown area.
The origin of the name for the neighborhood appears to originate in the late 19th century. Established as a living area for working class immigrants, mainly Irish Americans, Hell’s Kitchen quickly became known as a rough section of New York City. The actual origin of the name is attributed to several different sources, including a local policeman, as a word play on a local restaurant, and as the name for a tenement in the area that was understood to be particularly undesirable. Whatever the true origin, the nickname of Hell’s Kitchen was firmly established by the beginning of the 20th century, and remains popular today.
Hell’s Kitchen began to gain renewed popularity in the early 1990’s, as surrounding property values rose sharply. This led to an influx of new residents who began to repair and enhance existing properties in the neighborhood. Because of the introduction of more residents with stable income, the gradual improvements that had been taking place since the 1960’s began to escalate. Today, promoters tend to refer to Hell’s Kitchen as the New York Midtown West or the Clinton district as a means of distancing the area from it’s old reputation.