Stand-up comedian Vicky Kuperman took a circuitous route to arrive in Hell’s Kitchen in 2001, but she’s been here ever since and can’t imagine living anywhere else. This is Vicky’s West Side Story.
So, what’s your New York story? Born here, or just arrived?
I came here in 2001, via Boston, via Russia. I’ve always lived in Hell’s Kitchen. Lived here through many good times and not-so-good times, like 9/11, the 2003 blackout (though that was kind of fun), being robbed at gunpoint, and I never left during the pandemic. At this point, I think when and if I do leave, it’ll be on a bright, sunny day, because obviously bad and scary times don’t drive me out. 🙂
What was your first job? What do you do now?
My first job was dog walking. Now I work in comedy and publishing and travel advising.
What’s your favorite New York minute (or moment) so far?
A boring minute in New York is still a lot more interesting than an exciting minute somewhere else.
There’s too many to name. I do remember making eye contact with a guy sharpening his machete as we both rolled our eyes at a woman who was being a “Karen” and yelling at someone about her package delivery. Then we both commented that she was using a plastic bag. If that’s not NY, I don’t know what is.
Also, I remember seeing our corner drug dealer a few years ago, sitting in an ergonomic office chair on the corner of 42nd and 9th. That was amazing.
Share with us why you love Hell’s Kitchen
It’s the only neighborhood I’ve ever lived in since moving here, and I can’t imagine living in another NYC neighborhood! People here are a little more real, no pretenses. And I love that there aren’t high rises on 9th Avenue between W43rd and the W50s.
What’s your superpower or hidden talent?
Making a joke out of everything and anything, to most peoples’ dismay.
What else should we know about you?
I perform comedy all over NYC. Come to a show! IG: @vickykuperman website: http://www.vickykuperman.com
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Vicky’s Favorite Hell’s Kitchen Places
Lovely’s Old Fashioned — 642 9th Avenue (bw W45/46th St)
This is a new burger joint on 9th Avenue. BEST BURGER EVER. And it’s not too huge. It totally hits the spot.
El Rancho — 359 W45th Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
The Acapulco burrito is sooo good. Green sauce, pinto beans, vegetarian. Love those wet burritos … the wetter the better. I’ve been going to this gem for over 15 years.
Little Pie Company — 424 W43rd Street (bw 9th/10th Ave)
It’s my go-to for iced and hot coffees and to meet up with friends in their new outdoor seating area. A real neighborhood place which always delivers, whether it’s a dessert, a muffin, or a pie for a holiday.
Sullivan Street Bakery — 533 W477th Street (bw 10th/11th Ave)
Love going here for coffee and their amazing bread on Saturday mornings. And they’re dog friendly!
Poseidon Bakery — 629 9th Avenue (bw W44/45th St)
This place is epic. I’ve been going here since I moved to NYC. Great pastries, Greek specialties, wonderful people. And don’t forget to get yourself a cup of coffee, too — it’s really good!
Domus — 413 W44th Street (bw 9th/10th Ave)
The best destinations for beautiful gifts and unique and endorphin-boosting items for your home and your soul. Luisa and Nicki are the best and treat you like family as soon as you walk through the door.
Pure Paws Vet — 506 W42nd Street (bw 10th/11th Ave)
For those of you with furry loved ones, Pure Paws has been such a blessing for our dog’s care. I have been going here for seven years. They’re so good, and our dog LOVES them.
West Vibe Salon — 451 W46th Street (bw 9th/10th Ave)
I have been looking for a local hair salon like this for years! So grateful I found Caesar, Maria and team. Everyone who works there is so good at what they do, so nice and the prices are reasonable. West Vibe Salon is a gem!
Claudio’s — 598 10th Avenue (bw W43/44th St)
Don’t underestimate this corner pizza joint. There’s a bottomless well of delicacies inside. It’s my first stop for a quick Greek Salad. Their grandma slices are awesome.
Stony Hill Farmer’s Market — W43rd Street (bw 9th/10th Ave)
April-December, I look forward to browsing for fresh produce and more at this family-run farmer’s market on W43rd between 9th and 10th. Haven’t bought it in a while, but they have delicious ice-cream!
You can follow Vicky on Instagram @vickykuperman. If you know someone who would make a great West Side Story (or you would like to nominate yourself), please fill in this form — w42st.info/WSSnominations.
You can check out more West Side Stories and reader recommendations on W42ST’s Hell’s Kitchen Local App.