Author and weight management senior physician assistant Bobby Hold has lived in Hell’s Kitchen for 10 years. He loves the neighborhood for its color, nightlife and open spaces, among other things. This is Bobby’s West Side Story.

Bobby Hold
Bobby is the senior Physician Assistant at NYU Langone Health’s Weight Management Department. Photo: Naty Caez

So, what’s your New York story? Born here, or just arrived?
I moved to New York City in 2008, so I’ve been here about 15 years. I came up from Winter Park, Florida to pursue a career in medicine and weight management after graduating from UCF with my Sports and Fitness BS. My first NYC neighborhood was the LES — I was going to Pace University to complete prerequisites before gaining admission to the Physician Assistant Master’s Program at NYiT. After a year on the LES, I moved to Long Island City for the three-year duration of the Masters program as I had to commute to Old Westbury and it was easy to get on the LIE from there. I officially moved to HK in 2013 and have been here ever since! 

What was your first job? What do you do now?
My very first job ever was working at a little sandwich shop called East India, which was in my hometown of Winter Park. I was terrible as a server and was so overweight at the time I was always sweating; one time I sweated into someone’s soup when setting the bowl down at their table. I was let go soon after. (Manager: “I’m making the schedule for next week, you don’t really want me to put you on it do you?” Me: “No, I’m good thanks.”) The first job that I took seriously (and started my health-focused career) was at the Central Florida YMCA where I was a wellness counselor and a group exercise instructor. This is when/where I lost the hundred pounds. The YMCA asked me to be in a promotional ad campaign which highlighted my weight loss story…the rest is history in the making! Now I’m senior Physician Assistant at NYU Langone Health’s Weight Management Department.

What’s your favorite New York minute (or moment) so far?
There have been so many over 15 years — one standout moment, and a classic story of mine, is meeting Madonna when I was able to sneak into a private birthday party she was attending here in HK actually.

Share with us why you love Hell’s Kitchen
In an ever-changing landscape, HK serves classic New York City vibes. A colorful neighborhood with the right mix of grit and glam, unbeatable nightlife, lots of outdoor open spaces and some great apartments. Much like its residents, HK doesn’t try too hard to impress and it doesn’t apologize for who it is. Not to mention HK is THE gayborhood (she is the moment). 

What’s your superpower or hidden talent?
Not much about me is hidden. The Bobby magic is a combination of self-awareness, empathy, and the ability to connect with and understand the life experience of other human beings.

What else should we know about you?
I’m the senior Physician Assistant at NYU Langone Health’s Weight Management Department, and I’ve recently revised the 10th anniversary edition of my book Lose Weight, Find Yourself! 6 Steps to Having a Healthy Relationship with Food…Bite by Bite and Pound by Pound.

I would really love some exposure for this little book that is doing great things for people. It’s been a labor of love and it’s a valuable tool for people struggling with creating positive change.

About 20 years ago I lost over 100 pounds, through lifestyle modifications, once I made the decision to come out and start living a transparent and truthful life. I have a focus on LGBTQ+ wellness, but I help all humans get healthy and achieve their weight loss goals.

Bobby’s Favorite Hell’s Kitchen Places

RISE — 859 9th Avenue (bw W55/56th St)
A friendly and fun neighborhood bar, a good place to mingle with a good looking crowd. I have a special connection to this place as one of my good friends used to be a DJ there before he passed — DJ Xavier. Also I’m still so impressed at how perfectly they executed business during the pandemic. (And they have seriously delicious bar snacks!)

Bobby has a special connection to Rise. Photo: Naty Caez

The Jin — 856 10th Avenue (bw W56/57th St)
Amazing Korean fried chicken, french fries and fried rice.

TMPL Gym — 355 W49th Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
If you know, you know! Totally liberating queer gym with fabulous lighting! 

Washland — 794 9th Avenue (bw W52/53rd St)
I wanted to mention Washland laundromat on 9th, because they’re so friendly and do a great job with my laundry. Free delivery and pick up too!

Delphinium Home — 353 W47th Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
A super fun place to browse and shop. They have really cute and sometimes rare finds.

Amish Market — 731 9th Avenue (bw W49/50th St)
Great fruit and fresh produce.

Bobby loves getting produce at Amish Market. Photo: Naty Caez

You can follow Bobby on Instagram @lw_fy. If you know someone who would make a great West Side Story (or you would like to nominate yourself), please fill in this form —

You can check out more West Side Stories and reader recommendations on W42ST’s Hell’s Kitchen Local App.

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  1. Bobby Magic! Everyone in the HK loves Bob. We need him to have a regular column- he’s hilarious!

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