Hells Kitchen .bz

Neighborhood Blog

A place to share experiences and information about people, businesses, events and changes — fabulous and otherwise — in Hell's Kitchen, New York.

The 505, Hell's Kitchen Luxury Condo Complex

Whoo-hoo. A new luxury apartment building for Hell’s Kitchen — is having it’s topping-off party tomorrow (September 4) at noon.

This is the 505 (at 505 West 47th Street) — a “seven-story ground-up condominium that will have a total of 109 residences situated in two buildings surrounding a garden courtyard that make up a half acre of land.”

It’s 95% sold already but there are six apartments left.

For more information, tours or photos and renderings, please contact Jill Feldman at (212) 867-8778 or [email protected]


Wednesday September 3, 2008   


Reconstruction Taking Place on Hell's Kitchen .bz website

Apologies if you came by looking for the blog in the past couple of weeks. It’s been down because this website is in the process of some reconstruction.

The website as a whole is going to look a bit more like this page eventually. Meantime, it’s just this one.

However, there’ll be new pages, including:

  • an events section for local artists and organizers to post notices of upcoming events in and around the neighborhood
  • more details on all the businesses – with an option for you to add your reviews/experiences
  • maybe, one day, an auction area where locals can stage their own online garage sales?

And in the meantime, the ability of others to post on this blog is disabled, but it’ll be back in a bit. Those links on the right aren’t working yet, either, but the list will give you a quick idea of what there is here to read if you scroll down in this section.

Thanks for visiting!


Tuesday February 12, 2008   


New Year's Eve in Hell's Kitchen & Local Designers: Elisa Jimenez and Tania Bass

Ah, so I’m going to miss all the hooting and carrying on after the ball drops this year. I’d have missed it anyway, ‘cause I’m going to be in the East Village tonight, but I have to say, I always liked spending New Year’s Eve in the ‘hood when I could. I can’t say I understand how anyone’d want to spend all day standing around squashed like sardines in Times Square so they can be there to see that ball to drop but, hey, the aftermath is always super cheerful.

A word for a couple of Hell’s Kitcheners of note before the year ends…

For those of you who didn’t already know… Elisa Jimenez, Hell’s Kitchen fashion designer (OK, so she moved to New Mexico a few months ago, but she was one of us for a long time) has been successfully making the rounds on Project Runway this season (Bravo, Wednesdays, 10pm). Give her a big hand and watch it if you can. She’s great. And if you’d like to catch her on YouTube, her friend (Hell’s Kitchen artist), Gwyneth Leach has created a channel just for her:

And while we’re on fashion, especially those of you who are into figure skating, I hope you know that the skating couture designer, Tania Bass – who designs costumes for many of the big winners (like Miki Ando in the World Figure Skating Championships earlier this year) – is a local; lives on Ninth Avenue right in the middle of Hell’s Kitchen! And she is one fabulous person.

Check out her creations at:

So for these great people and for all the others, hoot and cheer away tonight!

And may 2008 bring you all much joy.


Thursday December 13, 2007   


Moving To Chelsea

Argh. Well I was away all July and August, as usual but I did mean to write something from my New Zealand outpost – especially when I recommended Two Fish Standing to a friend who was under stress and heard that they’d closed up. Closed up! Did not enough people know how wonderful it was to have these Chinese masseurs who could take you without a long-booked appointment? (Do any of us know when we’re going to get stressed out?) You could have ten minutes or an hour. Or more. And they weren’t expensive. I’m sorry I didn’t shout out before: go to Two Fish Standing for a great massage! Too late now. They’re gone.

And then I meant to write something when I got back in September but we got this extraordinary news: after being on the list for 16 years, we were finally offered an apartment at Penn South. An apartment in Chelsea that is bigger and less expensive than the one we lived in on 47th Street. Yes I did say that. Lived in. Who could sneeze at such an offer? We have moved.

So what am I going to do? I love Hell’s Kitchen and I put this website together and obviously you like it too because so many of you visit it (even if you’re all too shy to take over this blog). I think I’m going to just potter along with the website until it takes off without me. At least I still visit Hell’s Kitchen. Came up last night to visit a friend who’s just moving to 50th Street: welcome Philip! And had a drink at a fine new fusion bar on 50th and Ninth (Epoque). Try it sometime. A lot of fancy drinks.

But anyway, join me here, too… The ‘hood is looking good but the blog is a sleeping dog?


Friday November 16, 2007   


Ninth Avenue Food Festival 2007

I’ve lived here so long I guess I don’t feel a need to spend too much of the Food Festival weekend walking around Ninth Avenue but I did a little wander and here’s a picture:

Ninth Avenue International Food Festival 2007

I ate a plate of paella from Costa del Sol – which probably wasn’t the best paella in the world but I haven’t had any seafood for a while and I can always eat rice so I was happy enough. Plus, it was an inexpensive sampler.

This is my favorite part about the Food Festival. All the local restaurants bring their food specialties out to the street. So you get dishes that aren’t at every other street fair around town. And you know the food is cooked in a restaurant kitchen. Where the food is kept in refrigerators and the staff have access to bathroom facilities where they can wash their hands.

Hey, it’s worth thinking about.


Sunday May 20, 2007   


Dance Performance in Hell's Kitchen

Did you know that Metro Baptist Church (40th Street between 9th & 10th) hosts a bunch of cultural events quite outside its own ministry? The second Rhythm in the Kitchen Festival was held there recently and coming up there’s a weekend’s worth of dance and music improvisation performances.

I watched a rehearsal of one of the pieces recently – a couple of improvised duets by Sarah Pope and Mark Lamb. One of them told a personal story while moving; the other described his/her movements in mundane detail. The results (different every time) were wonderful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone place their foot on the floor with more awareness than Sarah Pope.

These performances are all happening May 18-19 (the weekend of the Ninth Avenue Food Festival), so this would be a happy ending to a day of street fair ambling.


Wednesday May 9, 2007   


Wonderful Vet in Hell's Kitchen

Our lovely little cat, whom we’ve had for just over three years (adopted as an adult when her previous owner died) has started drooling. Worse than drooling, it turns out – she’s been having convulsions which cause the drooling. And a little incontinence. The drooling began last week and didn’t seem to be anything serious other than possible old age, but over the weekend it ramped up and began to distress her – especially when she fell off a sofa she’d been snoozing on.

So a visit to the vet seemed like a good idea this morning. I looked up vets in Hell’s Kitchen and, having been to visit Dr. Romeo Perez at the Westside Animal Hospital, I’m here to recommend him.

Our little cat came to us nearly feral (either she’d been abused or the weeks when she’d been left nearly alone apart from feedings by a friend had turned her) and she’s only slowly, over the years, come around to being a cuddly cat in our household. When guests come near her she still hisses and scratches. In this vet’s office, though, she relaxed completely and let him handle her as if it happened every day – despite the fact that she’s in distress. And he was patient and thoughtful and careful with her.

Perhaps other vets have the same effect on animals but at any rate, I bumped into a neighbor on the way home and he’s had the same impression of this man. So I’m going to recommend him to anyone looking for a vet in Hell’s Kitchen:

Dr. Romeo M. Perez, D.V.M.
Westside Animal Hospital
733 Ninth Avenue (between 49th & 50th)
Tel. 212-247-8600

They also board cats and dogs. While I was waiting for my appointment their dog-walker returned from taking one of the currently-boarded dogs for a two-hour walk. So I would say they do a great job looking after boarded animals too.


Monday April 30, 2007   


Matthew Fagbo and Peanut Soup

Last week I made the Senegalese sweet potato and peanut soup that’s in the recipe pages on this site. It was delicious and it made me think of Matthew Fagbo who used to own the little late-night deli around the corner from where I live (on Ninth Avenue between 47th and 48th – you know, the place where a Yemen restaurant has been getting ready to open for about the whole last year).

Matthew was the most friendly shopkeeper in the neighborhood, as I remember, always cheerful. I remember buying my usual milk and orange juice in there one night and asking him how he was and I don’t know how the conversation turned this way but he mentioned that he ate peanut butter on brown rice for dinner. “Mmm That sounds delicious.” I said, without thinking. I meant it, spontaneously, but from his facial reaction, I realized he had been letting me know that that was all he could afford to eat.

He died, in his thirties, of a heart attack one night soon after that. He used to work until midnight, then close up his shop and go home to Queens – to be back by 5am the next morning (7 days a week) to open up again. Peanut butter on brown rice and – what? three hours’ sleep a night? No wonder he died. And, it turned out after he died, he had been sending money back to his family in Nigeria all that time. I don’t have with me the photos I have of his store after he died, but you might remember how the neighborhood (who must all have loved him) piled flowers outside his store.

Ironically, after making the peanut soup the other night, I read in a paper the next day about a study done on rates of depression around the world. Rich USA has one of the highest rates of depression. Not-so-rich (despite the oil) Nigeria has THE lowest.

Why am I not surprised. Rest in peace, Matthew.


Friday March 16, 2007   


Finding Good Books in Hell's Kitchen

Such a lovely day today, how could I do anything but go out and run errands outside. One of which had to be going to the Columbus Library to return a few books and pick up my latest stash of reserved books. Columbus Library (Tenth Avenue between 50th & 51st) is a sweet place, the nicest staff, and a few good books on the shelves but the best thing about the New York Library system has to be that you have access to every library in the city online ( http://leopac.nypl.org ) and can request books from wherever. You can keep up to 100 books/videos on a list of your own on their website and request up to 15 books/videos at a time.

What’s not to love about books?One of my favorite evening walks is up to Barnes & Noble on Broadway just north of the Lincoln Center. An evening of browsing books is as good as going to a movie any day. And you can buy one to take home if you can’t stop reading. This is the wrong thing to say so soon after Oscar night but never mind.

And because I was told yesterday that if you write anything for online reading it should be three blocks of text long (1-2 is too few; more than three is too many), I’ll just put this here to let you know. And see what you think of the theory while you’re at it.


Wednesday February 28, 2007   


Doug Aitken at MoMA - Sleepwalkers

It’s good to live in Hell’s Kitchen, so close to MoMA – and especially, now that we’re finally having a bit of real cold and there’s a major piece of public art to go and see.

That would be Doug Aitken’s “Sleepwalkers” – which is screening all over the walls of MoMA (around the sculpture garden and around the museum exterior) and shows five New York workers dragging themselves out of bed and off to work in a depressed zombie state. And then some. There could and should be more diversity among the characters (four out of five New Yorkers are white?), and we could skip the repetition of round shapes after a while, but the performances are compelling for the most part. I liked the older guy and the electrician particularly.

If you’re not already a fan of watching life when almost nothing seems to be happening, you might be after this.

You don’t even need to buy museum admission to see it. It screens from 5 – 10pm every night (through February 12) on exterior walls of and around MoMA on 53rd Street, 54th Street and in the empty lot between them. It’s best where you see more than one sequence at a time (the sculpture garden screens five at a time).


Wednesday January 17, 2007   


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