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Where is Hell's Kitchen?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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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.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including America Explained, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By Chmander — On Jul 16, 2014

Not only does the term "Hell's Kitchen" have a very interesting origin, but even more so, it really shows how a lot of terms and phrases don't always have a correct origin, so to speak of. For example, notice how the article mentions that its name originated from many different sources. More than often, the origin of a word can also be helped by word of mouth. Until reading this article, I also didn't know Hell's Kitchen was a real term, as I only associated it with the reality show. However, this is a great article that gives some unique insight on the meaning and its true origins.

By Viranty — On Jul 15, 2014

Speaking of Hell's Kitchen, has anyone seen the reality show of the same name? To make a long story short, it revolves around Chef Gordon Ramsey as he tours kitchens and restaurants, striving to make sure that there's improvement. It's fairly interesting.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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