Hell's Kitchen Boundaries
There are no official boundaries to Hell's Kitchen. However, most agree
that it runs from 30th Street to 59th Street, give or take a few blocks,
and from Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River.
Our tour will take you through the Heart of Hell's Kitchen, ten blocks
from 47th Street to 57th Streets, from Ninth to Tenth Avenues.
Historically a close-knit, working-class district, Hell's Kitchen is
rich in architecture and tradition. It boasts a human-scale, low-rise streetscape
predominated by sturdy tenements, but including brownstones, churches, schools,
community gardens, and thriving businesses.
Hell's Kitchen vs. Clinton:
The Naming of a Neighborhood
In the 1960s, in an effort to smooth its rough-and-tumble image, some
community groups supported renaming the neighborhood Clinton. (The community
already had a park and high school named in honor of De Witt Clinton, former
New York mayor and governor.) However, a vibrant name like Hell's Kitchen
has not been extinguished and continues to be used as often as Clinton,
both on the street and in the media.
Urban historians have yet to agree on the origin of the name Hell's Kitchen.
But there are many stories; here is a version of one that's popular:
Two policemen, a veteran and a rookie, are on patrol in the 1860s. After
listening to the veteran cop recount tales of rampant crime in the area,
the rookie remarks, "Working this beat must be like hell, as hot as
hell." "Oh, no," responds the old-timer. "This is hotter
than that, this is Hell's Kitchen."