From working at Manhattan Plaza Health Club to producing plays and musicals on Broadway, it’s the sense of community that has kept Clayton Howe in Hell’s Kitchen through his New York journey. This is his West Side Story.

Clayton Howe on W43rd Street
Clayton on W43rd St — “I will have made it when I live on this street” … and now he does. Photo: Phil O’Brien

So, what’s your New York story? Born here, or just arrived?
I was born in East Islip, Long Island, and never visited the city until after 9/11. My family wanted to support New York so we saw three Broadway shows that year and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and then I was hooked on theater and the city. 

What was your first job? What do you do now?
The month I moved into NYC I started working at Manhattan Plaza Health Club. I vividly remember walking down that street looking at the brownstones thinking “I will have made it when I live on this street.” Well, I live on that street now and my definition of “making it” has evolved quite a lot. Since performing in the National Tour of Waitress The Musical. I now produce plays and musicals here on Broadway and in the West End — in addition to running the podcast Entertainmentx.

What’s your favorite New York minute (or moment) so far?
Every single chance encounter I have in all of the Hell’s Kitchen bars and restaurants. 

Share with us why you love Hell’s Kitchen
The sense of community! 

What’s your superpower or hidden talent?
Staying true to myself. 

What else should we know about you?
I’m grateful to Phil and W42ST for growing the sense of community in Hell’s Kitchen. I read the newsletter every morning! Thanks Phil!

Clayton Howe at W42ST's 50th Issue party.
Clayton with W42ST magazines at our 50th Issue Party back when they were in print. Photo supplied.

Clayton’s Favorite Hell’s Kitchen Places

Pocket Bar — 455 W48th Street (bw 9th/10th Ave)
The vibes, beer and of course, POPCORN!

BEA — 403 W43rd Street (bw 9th/10th Ave)
The drinks, the apps and the old films! 

Clayton Howe at BEA
Clayton loves the old films at BEA. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Don Giovanni’s — 358 W44th Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
The pizza — Need I say more?

West Side Home Center — 778 9th Avenue (bw W51/52nd St)
Bet you’ve never had a hardware store recommended! … Most stocked in the neighborhood hands down and I love it!

Starchild Rooftop at the CIVILIAN hotel — 305 W48th Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
I love how quiet it is up there and the views are great. 

MPHC — 482 W43rd Street (bw 9th/10th Ave)
I love the community feel in this gym.

The Marshal — 628 10th Avenue (bw W44/45th St)
The pizza… I love pizza… what can I say? AND Charlie Marshal nails it every time he caters a party.

You can follow Clayton on Instagram @inclaynation. If you know someone who would make a great West Side Story (or you would like to nominate yourself), please fill in this form —

You can check out more West Side Stories and reader recommendations on W42ST’s Hell’s Kitchen Local App.

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