He may have only recently arrived in Hell’s Kitchen, but Michael William G has really taken the neighborhood to his heart. And pandemic living has inspired a pivot that’s led to him creating his own luxury candle brand. This is Michael’s West Side Story.
So, what’s your New York story? Born here, or just arrived?
I moved from San Francisco, California, to NYC the day after Christmas in 2013. Just in time for a polar vortex.
How did you end up in Hell’s Kitchen?
I think that Hell’s Kitchen found me. After living in the UES for 4 years, my partner and I took advantage of the “COVID Rent” and moved into the neighborhood.
What’s your favorite thing about Hell’s Kitchen?
The hustle. There’s just a certain energy in HK that I absolutely love. I pull open my shades everyday and I feel like this is the heart of NYC. Yes, even during a pandemic.
And what’s your Hell’s Kitchen pet peeve?
The Lincoln Tunnel traffic.
Did you stay put when the pandemic hit or did you find an escape for some of the time?
I rode out the pandemic in New York City through it all.
What did you do for work pre-COVID? What are you doing now?
Pre-COVID I was constantly running around town to attend press events for MAN’edged Magazine, but as events ended I knew I had to keep myself busy. Since I was forced to pause, I was able to re-brand my luxury candle brand called HOME’edged NYC, work one-on-one with a few clients doing branding work to keep the bills paid, and am continuing to build my micro-media empire.
What’s the most interesting thing that you’ve learned during the pandemic?
To always save 20 percent of anything you ever earn for a rainy day (or pandemic-filled year).
Tell us one thing that’s given you hope during the pandemic?
People wanting to support local businesses.
What’s the most serendipitous (random/obscure/ insane) experience that’s happened to you in Hell’s Kitchen?
Well, Hell’s Kitchen is where I first met my boyfriend of 6+ years. Almost seven years later, we’ve only just figured out where it was specifically that we met. Yeah, that night was a lot of fun. Lucky for me, every night still is and it wouldn’t have happened in any other neighborhood.
What’s your closest brush with world fame and celebrity?
Some of your readers might know me as “NYC Tornado Boy”. On November 16, 2020, NYC experienced its first-ever tornado-like storm and I was caught in the middle of it.
Over three million views later and I now have really supportive new fans that have been so amazing to experience. I think the guys down at Grace Wines said it best. “Dude, you went VIRAL viral”…
What’s your superpower?
Being able to talk to anyone.
What song do you sing at the top of your voice in the shower?
“No Ordinary Love” by Sade.
Which people inspire you the most?
What’s your favorite quote or saying?
I don’t want to look back on my death bed and ever wish that I had done something.
Do you love Times Square? Why, or why not?
My inner New Yorker despises it because it’s just a tourist trap. My inner West Coast boy still finds it magical and sometimes loves to just stand in the middle of it when my schedule allows for me to do so.
Do you love Hudson Yards? Why, or why not?
Yes. It’s like a whole new world and reminds me that New York keeps morphing.
If you could bring one thing (person/place/event) back to HK that is no longer around, what would it be?
I’m not a huge party animal, but my god I miss dancing in a crowded room of strangers.
Add your shameless plug or personal profile?
I want New Yorkers to know that there’s a new luxury candle brand in town that has people relaxing in seconds. Lighting a HOME’edged NYC candle is like taking a trip to a luxurious spa right in the comfort of your own home. Each candle has been designed for a specific time of day to help you unwind.
HELL’S KITCHEN HAPPY PLACES
The Marshal (10th Ave between W44/45th St). I met Charlie, the owner, on the street. He was super down to earth and later I found out how tremendous his pizza is!
Grace Wines (10th Ave & W44th St). This place is not only filled with great spirits, but the crew who work there are amazing and they make me laugh every time I visit.
Domus (W44th St between 9/10th Ave). This place offers great gifts from all around the world that have great meaning — including my candles (available starting June)
TMPL Gym (W49th St between 8/9th Ave). Fitness is a must. May as well access the coolest gym in NYC.
Target (10th Ave & W44th St). It’s Target — plus, it’s two blocks from where I live. What’s there to hate?
HK Free Store (W45th St between 9/10th Ave). This is such a great place to exchange household items and find a few hidden treasures.
Best Barber (10th Ave between W47/48th St). I’ve been twice and 5 of my friends immediately went because of the phenomenal haircut/fades that Matt gives.
Magnolia Bakery (Columbus Circle and Broadway). I felt so cool stumbling upon this hidden gem. Such great food.
Romeo & Juliet Columbian Coffee (W42nd St and 11th Ave) Hand drip coffee, anyone?
44&X (10th Ave and W44th St) The food is worth every penny and be ready to pay.