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February 01, 2007

...and up to Hell's Kitchen.

So I go to NYC and have two meetings in Midtown Manhattan--and then I have an attack of dreaded W-L balance, which is for slackers and people under 35. I lie down in my hotel for a while, hoping the feeling will go away. It doesn't. So I escape The Business of Law, take a cab to America's First Hood and, as James would say, "do the walk" in Hell's Kitchen:

Near Times Square, but still worlds away, Hell's Kitchen was for 150 years an uneasy mix of poor and working class Irish along with Everyone Else. It got yuppie-fied 15 years ago but still has the strong feel of the "old neighborhood". It's on the west side of Midtown: 34th Street to 57th Street, from 8th Avenue to the Hudson River. Like the equally notorious but now cemented-over and gone Five Points to the south, another Irish Hood with a gritty past, HK means poverty and crime to most of us--or maybe we remember "West Side Story". True, Mafia enforcer Mad Dog Coll was from Hell's Kitchen and killed here in the 1920s and 30s like hundreds of other mobsters for generations. (Remember the brutal "Westies" of just 30 years ago?) But Robert De Niro and Alicia Keys grew up here, too. The Actors' Studio is on West 44th Street. For years, the Studio and cheap housing had drawn actors to HK.

Posted by JD Hull at February 1, 2007 01:20 AM

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