Jerry Nadler has lived in Manhattan for almost his entire life — but what makes him tick, and what ticks him off? The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and Congressman representing Hell’s Kitchen shares his West Side Story.
So, what’s your New York story? Born here, or just arrived?
I was born in Brooklyn, the son of a chicken farmer. Save for a short childhood stint in New Jersey, I’ve lived in Manhattan my entire life. I went to Stuyvesant High School, Columbia for college, and studied law at Fordham. I’ve represented Manhattanites in the Assembly and I couldn’t be prouder that my New York story centers around fighting like a New Yorker for New Yorkers in Washington DC.
What’s your favorite thing about Hell’s Kitchen?
I adore the sense of community and warmth in Manhattan Plaza. It’s one of my favorite parts of my district and I’m always so glad to see so many friendly faces when I visit.
And what’s your Hell’s Kitchen pet peeve?
Idling buses near Port Authority — I’m proud to be working to get them off our streets and inside a new terminal.
More West Side Stories
Did you stay put when the pandemic hit or did you find an escape for some of the time?
I stayed put in my apartment on the Upper West Side.
What did you do for work pre-COVID? What are you doing now?
I was Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and the Congressman representing Hell’s Kitchen — and I’m still doing the same thing!
What’s the most interesting thing that you’ve learned during the pandemic?
How vulnerable we all are — and also how resilient New Yorkers are.
Tell us one thing that’s given you hope during the pandemic?
I watched our community come together. Unions stood up for their Members when employers tried to slash their pay, neighbors stood on their balconies and stoops to applaud our heroic healthcare workers, and so many of us sacrificed for a larger collective good. It was a dark time, a terrifying time — but the best of us shone through.
What’s your superpower?
Dealing with Jim Jordan.
What song do you sing at the top of your voice in the shower?
Anything by Phil Ochs.
Which people inspire you the most?
There are too many to count but here are a small few: FDR (my political hero), Senator Elizabeth Warren and of course, Aaron Judge.
What’s your favorite quote or saying?
It’s a Harry Truman quote. “I never gave them hell. I just told them the truth and they thought it was hell.”
Do you love Times Square? Why, or why not?
I love Broadway — I could do without the chain restaurants.
If you could bring one thing (person/place/event) back to HK that is no longer around, what would it be?
My old friend, Jimmy McManus.
Hell’s Kitchen Happy Places
Westside Theatre — I adore independent theaters, and I was proud to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Little Shop of Horrors at the Westside Theatre in July.
Hudson River Park — I’ve worked hard to expand the green spaces available to New Yorkers and I worked especially doggedly on improving the Hudson River Park. My good friend Dick Gottfried deserves the lion’s share of the credit but I’m glad I was able to help out.
Restaurant Row — Restaurant Row is such a wonderful hub of activity and community in Hell’s Kitchen. There’s nowhere better to grab a bite to eat before or after a show.
The Little Pie Company — I love pie and there are few pies better in NYC than their apple pie.
Gallaghers Steakhouse — One of the very best steaks in New York City, no doubt about it.