Congratulations to all of our deserving winners in this year’s W42ST Best of Awards 2022! On Friday evening we were lucky enough to honor our finalists at the Intrepid Museum, where Hell’s Kitchen residents came together to celebrate the neighborhood’s much-loved businesses and local advocates. Thanks to the awards sponsor Wells Fargo, our event hosts at the Intrepid Museum along with the HYHK Alliance and the Durst Organization for support. Illustration of the Awards was by Joel Holland and Chelsey Hill.
W42ST readers nominated over 600 of their favorite businesses and local heroes. Check out who were the wonderful winners and the fabulous runners up at last night’s event.
There is little argument that Hell’s Kitchen residents are passionate pet owners — whether it be campaigning for a renovated dog run or creating their own, West Siders care deeply about making sure their furry friends get the best care possible. In one of our newest categories, we asked locals to shout out their favorite businesses that keep Fluffy and Fifi happy — and one business rose above the rest. Leading the pack is our 2022 Best of Pet Care Winner, Pure Paws Veterinary Care of Hell’s Kitchen located at 506 W42nd Street between 10th and 11th Avenue.
Reader Thomas White told W42ST that he voted for Pure Paws because “It’s woman-owned and everyone there truly loves and cares for your pet. They never up-charge, and explain exactly why they recommend a certain procedure, medication, or vaccination.” Leslie and others added: “Dr Liff and her staff are so caring and also give back to animal charities.” Readers praised a veterinary practice where procedures were fairly and transparently practiced, the staff are “smart, dependable and caring,” and spend extra time getting to know individual pet needs and personalities. Said reader Nancy Udelson: “Dr Liff treats all her patients as if they were her own!”
Dr Stephanie Liff from Pure Paws NYC was overjoyed to accept the honor presented by City Council Member Erik Bottcher on Friday night, stating: “Thank you so much — we’ve loved being a part of this neighborhood.”
Not far behind Pure Paws for our honorable mention was Hell’s Kitchen’s favorite dog walking service, Tilly’s Walks! Dedicated West Sider Mirjana, owner of rescue pup Tilly, has been helping local dogs get their daily steps in since 2014, and is described as “Always professional, friendly, and [having a ] genuine love for our pups!” by reader Tiffany Kim. Dmitri Ponomarev added: “The owner is the best dog care person I have ever met” while Brenda Lin noted “I can completely trust her with my dog and feel a peace of mind while I’m at school or work.” Readers across the neighborhood agreed: “With Tilly’s Walks, you know your pets are in good hands.”
Other short-listed pet care picks included Heart of Chelsea Veterinary Group Hell’s Kitchen at 453 W46th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue, highlighted as knowledgeable, trustworthy and caring. Said reader Jeronimo Maranion: “You can tell the entire staff are animal lovers and treat your pet like family while providing top-notch care.” Readers also recommended Coco &Toto pet daycare and grooming at 730 11th Avenue between W51st and W52nd Street. Described as “the best groomer in the entire neighborhood” by Alexis Brown and “a real neighborhood gem” by Kathleen Spinelli. She added:”My dog has a great time boarding there. Prices are reasonable, staff is caring, it’s low-key and very HK!” Another favorite for West Siders was the Clinton Veterinary Center at 419 W55th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue. A “caring and straightforward vet that won’t overcharge you,” said reader Scott. “They’re always willing to squeeze you in when your pet is sick,” he added, while reader Christian Voldstad credits the group with saving his cat! Rounding out the group was Bond Vet at 631 10th Ave between W44th and W45th Street, cited by discerning West Siders as “a welcome addition to the neighborhood” who “have been so sweet and accommodating,” said reader Trevor. “They give out free treats to dogs in the neighborhood and have become a staple in our daily walks to stop in and say hello.”
Congratulations to all of the West Side nominees — we think you’re purrfect!
There’s no people like show people, and Hell’s Kitchen residents are no exception in making sure they are always camera-ready (you never know when you’ll be an accidental extra on Law and Order, after all!). We asked West Siders to tell us all of the best places to primp, prep and pamper without needing to hop on the subway. It was a close contest, but one business prevailed — the David Ryan Hair Salon located at 429 W46th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue, which received the award presented by Wells Fargo branch manager Anthony Andrada.
The family-owned salon has quite a few longtime loyal regulars, like reader Abigail Wolf, who told W42ST: “I have been going to David Ryan for more than 30 years. The stylists are not only excellent, experienced and knowledgeable, but they are kind and lovely human beings who care about their work and their clients.” Jody Prusan hailed the salon as “welcoming, spacious and clean. The staff is friendly and professional.” Arista told us “I leave with a fabulous haircut and feel pampered and special” when they visit the team at David Ryan.
Close in the ranks among reader votes was Best Barber at 694 10th Avenue between W48th and W49th Street. Said reader Donnell Williams: “It’s a Queer-owned barbershop, the staff has a diverse skill set, the space is minimal yet comfortable, and the complimentary drink with the stylish cut is a nice touch,” while reader Erick Ferrer touted the shop as “Friendly/modern/cool music, and offers cute drinks while waiting. Overall good chill vibe. Range of talented hair stylists who are well-versed in the industry and will have you looking good and feeling good after a cut!”
Additional personal care picks for Hell’s Kitchen included Calo Studio hair salon at 324 W47th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue, which reader Gail described as “Like visiting a good friend but leaving with beautiful hair and feeling wonderful” and Nam’s Nail Spa 451 W46th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue, which reader Anna Dickson described as the “best nail parlor! Staff is so friendly and fast. The management is helpful and always offers water, candy and wine!”
Thank you to everyone who sent us their suggestions for where to get a West Side glow-up!
Daring to open a new business in the uncertain, volatile past few years is not for the faint of heart. But there are still a number of brave newcomers who have managed to open new Hell’s Kitchen ventures in the past 12 months, and we salute them all! While there were many exciting new places nominated, readers chose The AMT Theater at 354 W 45th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue as their pick as the best new organization bringing world premiere works on the West Side.
Reader Natalie called the Off-Broadway venue an “Innovative and courageous new theater that represents what Hell’s Kitchen is all about!” while Ben Alexander added: “There’s always something playing here, always an entertaining offering for locals to see at an affordable ticket price.” Reader Mary Lauren lauded the company’s commitment to involving community members in their season, adding: “This company is bringing Broadway-caliber entertainment to the community with children’s theatre, professional productions and new works!”
Kelli Maguire Sportiello and Tamara Flannagan from AMT said: “Al Tapper built an incredible new Off-Broadway theater. This theater is intended to bring all of you in — we want to hear from you on what kind of new plays we should plan to bring to the stage, and we hope that you will find a home theater at AMT!”
Another popular pick for our readers was new Jamaican eatery Café 424 at 424 W54th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue, serving up made-to-order Caribbean cuisine and as reader Sharane put it, “already leaving a lasting impact on the community.” David Hecht added: “Cafe 424 has immediately brought an inviting presence and incredible cuisine and coffee to the storefront of Prime Produce on West 54th, between 9th and 10th. Nicola, Zhana, and their team are a delight and people now have a reason to slow down on the crosstown walk, enjoy a fine meal, good company and a charming environment.”
Other West Siders chimed in to highlight Jaz Indian Cuisine at 813 9th Ave between W53rd and W54th Street which reader Jenny called “quiet and charming, great location, food outstanding, and polite waitstaff”, the acclaimed Lum Lum Thai at 404 W49th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue which reader Stephanie reviewed as a “beautiful space and awesome food,” the Muddy Paws rescue association at 821 9th Ave between W54th and W55th Street, highlighted by Tara Lopez as “an amazing place to volunteer, adopt, donate, or foster with!” and nightlife nook The Rose Room at 358 W44th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue, of which reader Glori Filippone said: “Every night is a wild adventure of debauchery! Everyone is made to feel included and welcomed.”
Welcome to all of the West Side’s newest businesses!
Hell’s Kitchen is a veritable wonderland of independent coffee shops, serving up everything from classic cold brew to experimental lattes, all in friendly convivial settings that are perfect for catching up with friends or sitting down for an afternoon of work. In this year’s competitive vote, one shop rose above the rest — Erol Zeren’s Kahve at 403 W 51st Street between 9th and 10th Avenue, known for its distinctive pink décor, perfectly-brewed java and community-forward service.
Reader Pagie Wilson said: “It’s the best coffee and service in the city,” while Laurel Carpenter added “Delicious coffee drinks made to order — never too sweet!” Victor told us that he voted for Kahve “because when you visit them it feels like home!! It is such a welcoming place to come and have a great cup o’ joe!!”
Erol said of the honor, which was presented by the Intrepid Museum Vice President Marc Lowitz: “You have no idea how much this means to me and everybody in the community!”
Much to the delight of many West Siders, Erol and fiancé Javier Skipper are taking Kahve coffee — as well as brand-new snacks, smoothies and wellness-focused supplements to their new venture, SNCTM juice and wellness bar, which is opening this week inside TMPL gym in New World Plaza. Erol and Javier, who are devoted fitness fanatics and practicing meditators are thrilled to implement a full-service juice, smoothie, coffee and protein snack bar stocked not only with Kahve brand coffee but also snacks, supplements and skincare products sourced directly from local independent businesses. With an evolving menu and items that can be pre-ordered to the end of your workout, they hope to make staying healthy a joyful and easy one-stop shop.
Hell’s Kitchen residents had many favorite coffee shops to shout about, including bakery-meets-coffee standby Amy’s Bread, which reader Teri Tovato described as “coffee and baked goods served with love!”, with Ruby Chang adding: “My favorite mornings in life start with bread and coffee at Amy’s.” As Margaret Nuetput it, “How can you go wrong? All is good!”
Other notable mentions included Afficionado Coffee Roasters at 750 11th Avenue between W52d and W53rd Street, which Tyler Navarro declared makes the “best coffee this side of the Mississippi, and their Ginger Pergamino is the best drink out there!”, Bird & Branch at 359 W 45th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue, favored by Emily McGill, who said: “This bright and airy spot has the best vibes, even on a dreary day. And their inventive drinks never cease to surprise my adventurous friends (I have to stick with decaf).” Michelle Loy said Grind at 602 9th Avenue and W43rd Street has “lots of outdoor seating and amazing pastries,” while Suzy Darling complimented The Jolly Goat at 515 W 47th Street between 10th and 11th Avenue as making “a personal touch with every cup.” Michael Miller declared the Bacon, Egg and Cheese from Rex at 864 10th Avenue between W56th and W57th Street as “the best in the neighborhood!” while Carolyn Wong saluted Sullivan Street Bakery at 533 W47th Street between 10th and 11th Avenue as “off the beaten path and delicious snacks, too!” And at UT-47 at 358 W 47th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue, Marissa Kohn said “they put the iced coffees and lattes in a can. It’s so innovative and fun!”
So grab a cuppa and caffeinate yourself on the West Side, where coffee is king!
Smack dab in the center of the universe, Midtown and Hell’s Kitchen are filled with incredible arts venues to check out the best of Broadway, Off-Broadway, and beyond! While West Siders passionately advocated for dozens of theaters, concert halls and performance spaces, the long-standing Birdland at 315 W44th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue hit the high note in this year’s contest.
“A staple in Hell’s Kitchen,” said reader Peggy Caranza, Birdland is the legendary, historic jazz club full of “great performing artists,” said Julie Brandfield, “and it is vital to keep live jazz possible.” Reader Christine Butler added, “The music offerings are incredible. We are so lucky to have them here.” As reader Bill Hare put it, Birdland is “where legends perform and hang out.”
Jim Caruso, a weekly Birdland staple, accepted the award presented by Hudson Yards Hell’s Kitchen Alliance President Robert Benfatto on behalf of the team saying: “I’ve worked there for 19 years every single week and it’s been a joy. I know [owner] Gianni Valenti would thank his great staff, he would thank me and he would thank Michael and Tom D’Angora for helping create the most amazing fundraising online event during the two year ‘vacation’ we all had — it helped us stay afloat.”
Another fan favorite was Off-Broadway innovator The Chain Theatre at 312 W 36th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue, which Charles Davis described as an “amazing small theatre with really unique shows — ranging from traditional plays to film festivals to gaming events.” Reader Christina said that the “Chain Theatre provides an incredible service to the community and hub for artists,” while Mateo Moreno added: “From pre-pandemic to post, this theatre has produced some truly incredible theatre and has become an invaluable, warm and supportive home for indie artists. It’s one of my favorite theaters in Manhattan, period.”
Want to know where else to go for a great night out? Tony Capone says 54 Below at 254 W54th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue is “cabaret at its best! Vivacious new artists and well-known established artists,” while Laurel Alizad praised Best Newcomer The AMT Theater at 354 W 45th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue as “A theatre serving so many artists — kids to adults.” Robbee said “The Laurie Beechman is the heart of Hell’s Kitchen and 42nd Street,” while Linnie Schell noted that The Rose Room at 358 W44th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue shows that “imagination and skill are the most important parts of creating an exciting venue, not what you’re starting with.”
We think that all of Hell’s Kitchen’s incredible arts venues are what make the neighborhood a show-stopper — curtain up!
PLACE TO WORKOUT
Everyone knows that Hell’s Kitchen residents take fitness very seriously (we see you, gym rats of the West Side!!). But for as many kinds of exercise to try, there are just as many Midtown facilities to choose from — whether your sport is running, lifting weights, Zumba, Pilates, yoga, HIIT, boxing, or, just sitting on your phone in the stretching area (no judgment!!), Hell’s Kitchen is the place to stay fit! And for the second year in a row, Manhattan Plaza Health Club at 482 W 43rd Street between 9th and 10th Avenue is the pick for West Side workouts.
Reader Luke Tani told us: “I joined when it won the category last year,” and after becoming a member, was inspired to vote for them this year, while Emanuela Villorini said it’s “a great place to work out with no attitude. Great classes and a great swimming pool. You feel at home.” Richard Levey added: “The attention to details, such as cleaning and maintenance, have become especially notable — and welcome — of late, as well as the overall warmth of the staff.”
Ryan Shaefer from Manhattan Plaza Health Club reacted to the award, presented by Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine at Friday’s ceremony: “We want to thank all of you, and thanks for the community for supporting us — it’s all about you guys. Receiving this award really makes us feel like we’re doing our job, and that feels pretty good.”
As for additional spots to get your sweat on, Craig Middleton told us that Mark Fisher Fitness at 411 W39th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue is “so much fun and inclusive. Plus, the trainers really know what they are doing! And there is so much love here! Such an incredible community.” Taylor Pullinger cited the Mercedes Club at 550 W 54th Street between 10th and 11th Avenue as having “good, quality equipment, friendly staff, fun classes and a ton of great amenities — sauna, steam room, outdoor pool & deck, and recreational lounge, all in an airy space with tons of natural light!” And Francesca Batt said of TMPL gym in New World Plaza at 355 W49th STreet between 8th and 9th Avenue, “I consider this place equal to Equinox for half the cost. The class options are impeccable, the equipment is clean, it’s in such a convenient location. What’s not to love?”
Looks like HK is the place to get pumped about pumping iron!
Retail stores are few but mighty in Hell’s Kitchen — a hearty band of entrepreneurs who provide the West Side with unique, curated gifts that are anything but big-box or tourist-trap souvenir shop. What’s more, many of the neighborhood’s shops are long-standing stalwarts of the community, surviving the slings of pandemic closures to sell small bits of delight to locals and visitors alike. One shop and its owners, the inimitable Luisa Cerutti and Nicki Lindheimer of Domus at 413 W44th Street between 9th And 10th Avenue, were cited by readers as especially deserving of this year’s honor by presenter State Senator Brad Hoylman.
Said Gordon Stanley: “ It’s so much more than just a store, though they do have great stuff and are constantly seeking new and unusual pieces. They’re a real community center. I can’t imagine 44th Street without them,” while Melissa Roberson called Luisa and Nicki the “best owners! Small town shop in a big city. Excellent customer care and an array of interesting items from all over the world, not the typical mass-produced stuff. Just lovely atmosphere and beautifully curated.” Victoria Arzano added: “Nicki and Luisa are why you should shop there. They are always friendly and have a great eclectic selection of items. Anytime I need a gift I describe the person and they suggest the perfect gift for them. This also works for myself 🙂 On top of that, they are compassionate and fabulous human beings. I no longer work in the area but travel back to go to Domus.”
Luisa Cerutti highlighted the supportive community of retailers in Hell’s Kitchen in her acceptance speech: “Hell’s Kitchen is a very special place, because all the other store owners are friends — we actually send customers to each other. It’s a win-win for everybody.”
Hell’s Kitcheners didn’t forget the other neighborhood standards in their votes for Best Retail Store.
Jerry Dee Lane said: “Delphinium Home at 353 W47th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue has been a long valued business in the community that has catered to the LGBTQ and Broadway community! They’re inclusive, stock great things and have their finger on the pulse of what customers want.” Annie Baierl complimented Fine and Dandy at 445 W49th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue as “the best place to browse and discover gems! It’s a combination of collectibles and ephemera, but the owners also design some of their own accessories. I purchased the most stunning tie that’s a treasure in my wardrobe.” For Jane Greenlaw, Piccinini Bros at 633 9th Avenue between W44th and W45th Street “sells meat and poultry of excellent quality. There’s nothing comparable around for quality meat and the selection of cuts and types of meat and poultry are vast. It’s good value and though it can be expensive, the quality and flavor of their products are outstanding.” Amanda Richeter goes to Preston Konrad Home at 461 W 49th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue for “candles that smell like heaven!!!!!” and Veritas Studio Wines at 527 W 45th Street between 10th and 11th Avenue is the place to shop vino for Lucrezia Sanes: “Nobody is a stranger and everyone is a friend at Veritas! Jeremy and his team are so helpful and knowledgeable about wine and always ready to help make a great choice. Love them!!”
Holiday shopping season is just around the corner, so be sure to stock up and shop locally this year (and every year)!
PLACE TO EAT
In extremely obvious news, Hell’s Kitchen is the beating heart of Manhattan’s culinary scene. Cuisine from around the world, lovingly prepared by family-run restaurants are the perfect way to show a visitor that there’s far more to eat in Midtown than Bubba Gump Shrimp and Red Lobster. This year, like every other, was an intense contest where hundreds of eateries were nominated — but one newcomer, the much-loved Jaz Indian Cuisine at 813 9th Ave between W53rd and W54th Street made the top of our ranks for Best Place to Eat 2022 and was presented the award by former Manhattan Borough President and current City Council member Gale Brewer.
Tabitha Harvin tells us that “the food was top notch and the atmosphere and service just elevated the whole experience,” while Eddie added: “amazing food and an amazing owner who made us feel like we were eating in her home!” Lily told us that the “lemon rice is out of this world” and Mike Stabbins says it’s “hands-down top Indian food in the city!”
Owner Jaz Rupall told the crowd: “Thank you so much, and please come eat!”
While there were countless other joints that West Siders recommended for a great meal, a few highlights included 44&X at 622 10th Avenue and W44th Street which Daniel Mertzluft described as “insanely incredible food that is also really consistent. I’ve never had food there that is anything less than outstanding.” Jennifer Wilcox said that “you can’t beat French grandma comfort food!” at Chez Napoleon 365 West 50th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue, and Hell’s Kitchen go-to Empanada Mama at 765 9th Avenue between W51 and W52nd Street was cited by Spears as “Dependable and delicious.” Jennifer Greene says that Marseille at 630 9th Avenue and W43rd Street “is my go-to place in Hell’s Kitchen and for pre and post-theater dining. One can’t go wrong here,” while Kirti Patel thinks Sesamo at 764 10th Avenue and W52nd Street “has some great Italian-Asian fusion food and drinks! Can’t go wrong with an alcoholic bubble tea and Asian Spiced Pasta.” And of course, Jae Stein-Grainger and many others noted that the West Bank Cafe at 407 W42nd Street and 9th Avenue has “Great food and selection, friendly, courteous staff and a neighborhood family vibe!”
So the next time your friends can’t decide where to eat — take them to the Kitchen! You can’t go wrong!
As much as West Siders love to eat, it could be argued that Hell’s Kitchen is perhaps even better known for its bars — this neighborhood knows how to party. And whether you’re looking for a raucous night of dancing, a chill wine night with friends, a first-date beer or a place to take a few shots and sing (who among us hasn’t?!), Hell’s Kitchen is where you should start (and end) your evening. And though there are hundreds of West Side watering holes to choose from, one cozy spot — the aptly named Pocket Bar at 455 West 48th Street 9th and 10th Avenue — was the reader pick for Best Bar 2022.
You should head to Pocket Bar for “great aperol and popcorn,” said Victoria Anne Walker, while Celine Vipperman added: “There is so much positive energy in this place. The owners are wonderful people and are doing a lot for the community. The patrons are all extremely friendly. Every day is a celebration at Pocket Bar NYC. This is THE go-to place in Hell’s Kitchen!!!” Gretchen Petersen described the West Side bar as “a great place to chill with friends after a long day,” and Jacob Bass declared Pocket Bar as having the “Best Bartenders, and best intimate and fun vibe. Perfect for a first date, or for getting sloshed with your friends (and making new ones).” We’ll drink to that!
“You like to say a Suzy Darling is a retreating wallflower,” joked Pocket Bar co-owner and Suzy’s husband Joe Witham in his acceptance speech after Wells Fargo’s Patrick Johnson handed him the award. “Everyone knows her! This is a culmination of a dream for her — but it really this exemplifies how we’ve all struggled for two-plus years and we’ve all come together to survive, but also to thrive. We’re looking forward to an even better time and thank you to our staff.”
It was a close race between other cocktai hour-friendly finalists, including long standing favorite Ardesia Wine Bar at 510 W 52nd Street and 10th Avenue, which Jordan voted for because of its “fun and broad wine selection, great bites and friendly staff!”. At the Break Bar at 458 9th Avenue between W35th and W36th Street, reader Bre noted: “The best thing about this bar is that you can break your glass after drinking and the bartenders are the best and they are so fun!!!” Cheese and wine specialists Casellula at 401 W52nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenue are the pick for Rob Neill, who said that the place is “cozy, tasty and the team there makes you feel part of the family. Great for dates, wine, cheese and chocolate cake.” And Scott Elchison said of the atmosphere at Hold Fast at 364 W46th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue: “Best selection of food, drinks and vibes. This place is home.”
A toast to the invincible bunch of Hell’s Kitchen bars!
SPECIAL AWARD: CHEZ NAPOLEON
One of the neighborhood’s — and New York City’s — oldest French restaurants, Hell’s Kitchen standard Chez Napoleon is beloved by West Siders. Reader Eric said that he’s “been eating here since a child growing up in Hell’s Kitchen. The most authentic French bistro in NYC. Family run, the food is fantastic,” while Ryan added: “It is all class and absolutely the best French restaurant in NYC.” Rosemary loves the “fabulous food, wonderful ambiance,” adding that Chez Napoleon is “a longtime neighbor that’s earned our loyalty!”
But in December of 2021, the beloved family-run restaurant operated by Elyane Bruno and son William Welles was shut down due to a gas pipe issue. The team at Chez Napoleon have been tirelessly working through the endless paperwork, processes and approvals needed to reopen the restaurant, but nearly 10 months later, they are still not open for business.
At the W42ST awards, publisher Phil O’Brien cited Chez Napoleon as a cornerstone of the Hell’s Kitchen community and implored elected officials and residents to support Elayne and William’s mission to make it out of their red tape nightmare.
“Chez Napoleon got so many votes in the Best Place to Eat, and so many votes in the Hell’s Hero, but didn’t win either, maybe because they haven’t been open for 10 months,” said Phil. “I thought, while we’ve got some elected officials here who might just try and help you get open again — that we would make a special award for you. Everybody loves what you do — and your French cooking has been a part of Hell’s Kitchen for so long.”
“It’s a nightmare that’s been going on for about 10 months now,” said owner William Welles. “We’re a small, small restaurant but we’re determined to come back stronger and better than ever, hopefully sooner than later.”
For now, the Hell’s Kitchen community hope that they can once again dine at the warm, welcoming restaurant that has served the area for the better part of a century. As reader Mark said “I’ve been going here for decades, and can’t wait for them to reopen!”
Hell’s Kitchen has a reputation for fiercely supporting its own — in good times and in bad. And over the course of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many West Siders stepped up to make sure that their fellow neighbors were supported. Readers nominated hundreds of activists, advocates, volunteers and service workers for their dedication to the neighborhood, from school principals to doormen, bus drivers to nonprofit workers, to especially caring residents. And while every single nominee is deserving of the award, one local name was mentioned more than any other — Catie Savage, advocate, activist, volunteer coordinator for the Manhattan Community Boathouse and the founder of the Hell’s Kitchen Litter Legion, a nonprofit volunteer organization cleaning up the West Side one piece of trash at a time.
Said Michael Danz: “Since 2020, Catie has gone beyond her civic duty, hosting clean ups in Hell’s Kitchen. As our streets became full of trash, she decided to make a difference in her own way. During this past year, Catie hosted and organized vigils for Julio Ramirez who was drugged and murdered in Hell’s Kitchen. Police and media have been drastically slow on reacting in this case. During the proposition to re-zone HK, Catie once again hosted and organized testimonials, signatures and attendance to show up to the public hearings on this case. She continues to support Hell’s Kitchen in many different, impacting ways.”
Added Jamie Brown: “We are so lucky to have an incredible neighbor like Catie, who has created quite a movement with the Litter Legion. She is so passionate about keeping HK clean and safe. She makes volunteering easy and fun. Events are always organized and volunteers know exactly what they’re in for. The world needs more Caties. I’m glad Hells Kitchen has one :).”
Maya Joseph said that Catie “makes HK better, cleaner, friendlier, and more fun.” and Sam commended Catie on her “tireless work to improve quality of life in Hell’s Kitchen and to help our environment at the same time!”
“Many of you know that I started the Hell’s Kitchen Litter Legion in June of 2020 and we are now officially a nonprofit,” said Catie as she accepted the award from former Hell’s Hero Steve Olsen. “This has been a really crazy, life-changing experience for me, and I’m so happy to have the support of all of the community. Thank you.”
Locals also saluted the local advocacy of 2020’s Hell’s Hero Steve Olsen, Pocket Bar operator Suzy Darling, community activist Tom Cayler, La Vela’s Tony Mauro, AMT’s Tony Sportiello, William Welles and the team at Chez Napoleon, Sydney Meyer of Don’t Tell Mama, Shawn at Hold Fast Bar, Shannon Maloney of Manhattan Plaza, Sean Keogan of Dalton’s, Sean Burger, Robert Martinez of Master Framer, the late Robert LuPone of MCC Theater, Richie Ridge, Restaurateur Nick Accardi, Renée Lutz, Paul Vacarri, Pat and Dan Lunney, Nico Leeper, Najee Gabay from The Rose Room, Miquel from Giabrell Bodega on 47th & 9th, Michael Quinn, Mi-Yung of UT47, Chris LeBron, Matisse from Pocket Bar, Martha Gelnaw, Marisa Redanty, Mandy Oser of Ardesia, Luisa and Nikki of Domus, M12 bus driver Luis Lopez, Liz form David Ryan, Lili Fable of Poseidon Greek Bakery, Kirk Gostkowski of The Chain Theatre, Justin the manager/greeter at Marseilles, restaurateur John Dempsey, Joe Sallabi, Joe Restuccia, Sullivan Street’s Jim Lahey, Prime Produce co-operative member Jerone Hsu, Veritas Studio Wine’s Jeremy Kaplan, Jaz Rupall of Jaz’s Indian cuisine, Jay Michaels, Jasmine Gerald of Jasmine’s Indian Cuisine, Jamie Wood, Irma from Tulcingo, Holly-Anne Devlin, the Hell’s Kitchen Community Cupboard Volunteers, the Hell’s Kitchen Free Store Crew, Birdland’s Gianni Valente, Father Francis Gaspsrik, City Council Member Erik Bottcher, Elke Fears, Elinore Ström, principal at PS 111 Ed Gilligan, Dr Stephanie Liff, Doorman Chris from the Armory, Deborah Gaffney, Debbie Heard, Danny Lunney, Danny Dang, Daisy at Sombreros Restaurant, the team at Cybert Complete Car Repair, Christopher (The Whitby’s daytime doorman), Christine Berthet, Chris Mills of One Community Church, Nicola Campbell of Chef Mom does Cafe 424, Charlie Marshall, Chana, Chad Ryan, Carlos Lopez, Brandon James Gwinn, Senator Brad Hoylman, Barbara Blair, Bailey Sperling and Chana Widawski, Arnold Wilkerson of The Little Pie Company, Anita Hollander, Amy Scherber of Amy’s Bread, Amanda Wheeler of Mark Fisher Fitness, Manhattan Plaza tenant President Aleta La Fargue, and Adhara from Oasis Coffee.
Thank you, Catie! Long live the Trash Queen of Hell’s Kitchen!
FOOD & DRINK
Local businesses generously supported the awards evening with food and drink.
Empanada Mama — a mix of beef, chicken and veggie empanadas
Amy’s Bread — hummus and breadsticks
Sullivan Street Bakery — pizzas and bread twists
The Marshal — cheese, meat and fruit platters
Fresh from Hell — Acai Bowls
Veritas Studio Wine — a curated selection of read and white wine
Grand Cru — Sparkling Rose
El Centro — Cases of Corona beer!
Printing of the Awards was by Scruffy Duffy’s