Hell’s Kitchen Brownstone

| August 15, 2010
Classic New York brownstone near Hell's Kitchen

Classic New York brownstone near Hell’s Kitchen

I shot this brownstone on 44th Street in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood at about 6:30am last Friday. There weren’t many people out at that time except at a Yellow Taxi depot about two blocks to the right toward the Hudson River. There must have been fifty of them parked all over the place and the garage was buzzing with the sounds of pneumatic wrenches getting a few cars ready for the rough day ahead.

Per Wikipedia, Hell’s Kitchen figured prominently in the New York City underworld, especially in the Irish American Mob. Gangsters like Owney Madden, bootleggers like Bill Dwyer, and Westies leaders James Coonan and Mickey Featherstone were Hell’s Kitchen natives. Various Manhattan ethnic conflicts formed the basis of the musical and film West Side Story. Over the last three decades, Hell’s Kitchen has undergone gentrification as a result of its proximity to Midtown. Today, a great number of actors reside in the neighborhood due to its proximity to the Broadway theaters and Actors Studio training school. I am not sure if one lives here or not. I just liked the inviting glow of the porch light against the hard surface of the brownstone’s facade.

I have been to New York City many times and nine times out of ten I will visit this neighborhood to eat at my favorite pizza place called Don Giovanni’s located at 44th and 9th Street. If you ever go to New York, I highly recommend it. I have been eating there for about 12 years and love it every time. The restaurants in the area are reasonably priced and have a great New York neighborhood ambiance. They are always bustling with locals engaged in lively conversations.

Richard Schmid painted near this brownstone in 1965 at 9th and 43rd Street. There is a picture of his painting on page 32 in his most recent book called The Landscapes.

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Category: Photography, Travel

Comments (3)

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  1. AutumnLeaves says:

    This is one gorgeous brownstone. I love the slight gothic touches in the iron fence and the arched door. Just beautiful Lee. The light is exquisite as well.

  2. Nancie says:

    Another great NYC shot Lee, great work! Like you said, love the warm light against the hardscape of the wood & stone. And the cool green ivy also.

    It is amazing, isn’t it, just how many “neighborhoods” are in Manhattan. “Hells Kitchen” was an area you did not want to spend much time in during the 70’s & 80’s – it was quite gang dominated. Today, altho it’s not a major tourist attraction, it does have wonderful buildings & history – as you pointed out. (Some areas are still rundown, and it has it’s fair share of abandoned buildings.) If not for the recent recession, it would have gone through a stronger renewal. As the times get better, I’m sure it will.

    As far as the name “Hell’s Kitchen” there is much speculation as to how it got it’s name. There seems there is no one definite source. (Unlike the area know as Tribeca – which is the “Triangle Below Canal” — TriBeCa.) The one source for the “Hell’s Kitchen” name is from the various kitchens, deli’s & food sources that existed in the area. During the summer, the kitchens made most of the area very, very hot – which coined the expression “Hell’s Kitchen.” There are other stories as well, but I’ve always preferred this one – it seems to add a bit more “flavor” to the neighborhood.

  3. Lee says:

    Thanks Ladies! Nancie, your comment is very interesting. Thanks for letting us in on the local perspective. Much more interesting than Wikipedia and I will now be able to impress my friends with more cool facts about New York!