He may have only lived in Hell’s Kitchen since 2021, but Paul Gealone is a familiar face in the neighborhood — he recently des(s)erted Amy’s Bread for Hershey’s after 10 years of working at the popular bakery. This is Paul’s West Side Story.
So, what’s your New York story? Born here, or just arrived?
I was born in Hershey, Pennsylvania (I like to say I’m sweet by nature and geographic association) and moved to NYC in 2011. My husband and I became Hell’s Kitchen residents in 2021 in the middle of the pandemic.
What was your first job? What do you do now?
Believe it or not, my first job in NYC was as a magician that I landed three days after moving here. I don’t even know how to do magic, I have no idea how I convinced them I was the right person for the job. After my failed career as a magician, I worked for Amy’s Bread for 10 years. I now work for Hershey’s in Times Square (you can take the boy out of Hershey…). I’ve also been an actor for the past 30-something years.
What’s your favorite New York minute (or moment) so far?
I will never forget a few moments, but one was when Stephen Sondheim and I shoulder bumped one another walking down the sidewalk. I was so in awe that I couldn’t speak.
Share with us why you love Hell’s Kitchen
The community! We’re neighbors, we’re friends, we go through it all together. Truly, I don’t think there is a better, stronger neighborhood than Hell’s Kitchen.
What’s your superpower or hidden talent?
I’m an avid runner but recently began entering races. I competed in my first NYC marathon in November 2022 and just finished my second NYC half marathon on March 19! Hell’s Kitchen is the best neighborhood for runners since we’re so close to the Piers and Central Park.
What else should we know about you?
I’m fascinated by Hell’s Kitchen history. When we first moved to the neighborhood, I took my husband, Rolando on a self-guided “ghost tour” of Hell’s Kitchen.
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Paul’s Favorite Hell’s Kitchen Places
Amy’s Bread — 672 9th Avenue (bw W46/47th St)
Amy’s Bread was and still is such an impactful part of my life. Amy is one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. And there’s cake! What else do you need?
RiceXBeans — 688 10th Avenue (bw W48/49th St)
Comfort food at its best!
Delphinium Home — 353 W47th Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
A great place for quirky, fun things that you never knew you needed!
Beaupierre Wine — 664 10th Avenue (bw W46/47th St)
What a great new addition to our neighborhood! Heidi has turned us onto so many delicious wines that we wouldn’t have known about without her knowledge.
Pocket Bar — 455 W48th Street (bw 9th/10th Ave)
Just the best, laid back, no frills bar that has the best music! And everyone who works there is so genuinely kind and treats you like a friend.
Schmackary’s — 362 W45th Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
Who doesn’t love cookies? So many delicious options. I also love how much they celebrate and assist the Broadway community.
Domus — 413 W 44th Street (bw 9th/10th Ave)
The perfect shop to grab a perfectly curated gift from around the world for someone or yourself! Nicki and Luisa are the sweetest!
Tradisyon — 790 9th Avenue (bw W52/53rd St)
My husband is from the Philippines and Tradisyon allows us to indulge in authentic Filipino fare. We’re so happy to have them a few blocks away, since the Philippines is a 16+ hour flight.
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
I’m currently a Producer on a film that’s in pre-production, written by the brilliant Frances Lozada!
You can check out more West Side Stories and reader recommendations on W42ST’s Hell’s Kitchen Local App.