Historical Reasons Why Hell’s Kitchen Is a Notable Neighborhood

Most people recognize the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in NYC because it is where Daredevil lives. Although the Marvel comic, series, and movie might have made it famous, it was a notable neighborhood before the entertainment industry came calling.

More people refer to it as Clinton these days, but it is still worth taking a deep dive into Manhattan’s West Side.

Things Changed in the 1970s for Hell’s Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen is a popular spot for storytelling because it was the place for working-class Irish immigrants and the poor until the 1970s. It earned a reputation for being a gritty place to live, with real estate prices often depressed.

It started gentrifying in the 1990s, which means there was a unique period in the 1980s when the different cultures of NYC began to mix on the west side. That’s when the multi-ethnic developments started happening, leading to an extensive bodega culture, bars, delis, and nightlife.

Some people call the area Clinton because the state’s former governor, George Clinton, had a farm in the area. A pre-1800s carriage house is still in the neighborhood, serving as a testament to the neighborhood’s notable nature.

The Hudson River Railroad Changed the City’s Dynamics

As NYC started growing in the 19th century, it crept closer to Hell’s Kitchen. Once the Hudson River Railroad was complete, the infrastructure served as a natural commuting point for people in and out of the city.

The neighborhood eventually formed along the river with shantytowns from immigrants who worked odd jobs in the area.

After the Civil War was over, people came to the city to start a new life. With room in NYC at a premium, Hell’s Kitchen became overcrowded quickly. This trend created higher poverty levels, leading to the formation of gangs – especially after Prohibition.

When you look at Hell’s Kitchen today, it still carries some of that grit it was known for having in the past. If you can make it in this neighborhood, you can make it anywhere.