Good morning and welcome to the weekend.

Thanks to Mariel Mauss for reminding me yesterday about the big torta! Pre-pandemicEater reported on this special 10-layered sandwich at Mil Sabores (formerly Leon Bakery). We made a note to go and try, then our food writer Michael Muñoz reported it had temporarily closed last April. It’s back on our list after Mariel tagged us on Instagram on her deli feast yesterday.

Here’s your chance to catch up on what’s been happening in Hell’s Kitchen this week…

The week started with two significant pandemic milestones in New York. The Governor said we could sit at a bar again and Mayor Bill De Blasio sent 80,000 New York City workers back to the office (not without controversy).

We surveyed readers about sitting at bars, returning to work — and their attitude towards not wearing masks outdoors. By the time you’d responded, New York City was poised to lift most COVID-19 restrictions in just two short weeks, returning the city to the closest version of itself we’ve experienced since March 2020.

We found that many New Yorkers are left feeling as bewildered by this rapid “return to normal” as they were last spring when the restrictions were first imposed and the shutdown turned our city on its head. Here’s how you are feeling about this “new normal”.

On Monday evening, we wandered to see who were early returners to Hell’s Kitchen bars. See our photo story here (it includes a guest appearance from Austin Rogers of Jeopardy fame!).

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.

The neighborhood was in shock again after a hammer attack on a 31-year-old Asian woman who was walking her friend to the subway along W42nd Street on Sunday evening. NYPD released video footage of the incident and is appealing for help in identifying the attacker.

Thank you to all the readers who submitted their nominations for Hell’s Kitchen’s best margaritas. You gave us a colorful selection of the best tastes (and looks) in the neighborhood. Check them out…

Visitors to El Centro got a Cinco de Mayo surprise. Artist DISTORT has created a new mural — you will know his work from the “Day of the Dead” mural at ‘ritas down 9th Avenue. Thanks to Maren for giving us a sneak peek — and adjusting the lighting just right!

Back in August, Come From Away producer Sue Frost told us that “it’s not New York without Broadway”. Well, we now have an official date for Broadway’s comeback. Governor Andrew Cuomo told a press conference that theaters will reopen at 100% capacity beginning on September 14 and some tickets are now available. Details and reactions here…

Following on from the margarita list, we’d like to get your opinions on the best empanadas in Hell’s Kitchen. Empanada Mama won the W42ST best place to eat in 2020 — but there are new contenders around like Seguidilla and CriollasLet us know who you think is best and why — and we’ll enter you in a sweepstake for lunch for two at 9th Avenue newbie, Mikey Pomodoro.

Thanks to @miizrose for this photo of the new flower terrace at the PHD Terrace at Dream Midtown (W55th St just east of Broadway). The rooftop drinks are pricey — but the Instagram moment is spectacular!

This year’s Michelin star winners were announced and we’re happy to report that Hell’s Kitchen is now home to a new Michelin-rated eatery. Contemporary Korean restaurant Kochi at 652 10th Avenue (corner of W46th Street) is one of only seven new restaurants to earn their first star on this year’s roster. Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare at W37th Street (between 10/11th Avenue) held on to its three stars, in a category that hasn’t had any newcomers since 2012. Read more here…

Congratulations to Elizabeth Durand Streisand on the sale of Broadway Roulette to TodayTix Group. You might remember Elizabeth from her column in W42ST about all things Broadway and her pivot during the pandemic from pairing users with surprise Broadway shows for a fair, flat price to organizing zoom mixers.

Unfortunately, Kristen Jongen, who wrote our Sober in the City column, was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer a few weeks ago. She’s undergoing an aggressive course of treatment, which includes chemo/radiation, followed by surgery, then more chemo. It’s going to be expensive, despite the fact that she has insurance. And she’ll also have to take a significant amount of time off work. So her daughter has started a Go Fund Me campaign. Please help if you can.

The park installation at Lincoln Center is coming along nicely. You can check out the lawn from Monday. Thanks to Lincoln Square BID for the picture. There are 10 stages and 150 outdoor shows planned for the summer.

What we’ve been reading

Here are the details as Broadway shows start putting tickets on sale. (Playbill)

New York accelerates reopening — but what about schools? (New York Times)

Divorced dads get New York apartment design help. (New York Post)

These Alvin Ailey dance classes could be a great last-minute Mother’s Day present. (PIX11)

Hudson Yards vendors are facing red tape — and tape measures. (Gothamist)

Freeze Frame

A sign of New York City returning is folks posing with cops. Thanks to Daryl Richardson for capturing this 8th Avenue scene. “A sweet/cute moment tonight seeing NYPD officers posing with kids while letting them wear their police caps. The kids were loving it,” he said.

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day — see you next week!