Good morning and welcome to the weekend. It’s new council member Erik Bottcher’s inauguration today (you are all invited). His mom nearly didn’t make it. She told him: “Erik, am I gonna get hit?”. He’s persuaded her to come to the city — but it focuses his mind on the responsibility as an elected official to work to make our neighborhood safe and clean.

Actor, author and mom Sharon Wheatley originated the role of Diane and others in the Tony Award-winning musical Come From Away and has been in the show ever since. Originally from Ohio, she “married into Hell’s Kitchen” and lives here with her wife and kids. This is Sharon’s West Side Story.

Here’s what’s been happening in Hell’s Kitchen this week…

It’s not a mirage on the West Side Highway — shiny new skyscrapers are popping up along the Hudson River, as half of the 13,000 new Manhattan condos planned will be built on the West Side. Read more…

The 52nd Street Project is turning 40 this year. Over that time, it has built a community in Hell’s Kitchen around creating theater. Some of its staff and members’ parents participated as kids. And while the pandemic has forced some elements of their programming online, they’ve maintained steady participation, with 180 members even through the ups and downs of remote learning. Read more…

In July, The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) awarded over $137 million to 168 Hell’s Kitchen eateries, averaging out at $818,363 per business. The funds were a lifeline for those businesses fortunate enough to get an award — but two-thirds of the neighborhood’s struggling bar and restaurant owners were left with rejection and $0. Now owners are lobbying for federal fund replenishment, while welcoming back hungry tourists and finding innovative help from Amex and Resy. Read more…

Hell’s Kitchen business owners reacted with cautious optimism to Mayor Eric Adams’ announcement that proof of vaccination will no longer be necessary to enter New York’s restaurants, bars, and coffee shops from Monday. Maya Joseph of Sullivan Street Bakery summed up the thoughts of many restaurateurs: “It’s nice to look forward to less police work and more hospitality in the months to come.” More here…

However, the decision served up uncertainty in Hell’s Kitchen’s dining community. Many local diners voiced a newfound hesitancy to dine indoors alongside potentially unvaccinated patrons. In a W42ST reader poll, 61% of respondents told us that the city should not let the mandate expire, with 32% believing it was time to let vaccination checks go. Read more…

We enjoyed spending time this week searching through our photo archive for pictures of the 9th Avenue International Food Festival. The oldest street food festival in New York is returning on Saturday and Sunday May 14-15 after a two-year pandemic enforced hiatus. Read more…

It’s time to cut the crap and pick up after those pooches! Get the scoop on the history of NYC’s dog poop as Manhattan Community Board 4 (MCB4) goes into battle against untoward “landmines” on Hell’s Kitchen sidewalks, encouraging residents to “curb your dog!” Read more…

If you think you’ve run out of places to eat and drink in Hell’s Kitchen and Hudson Yards, think again — FOUR brand-new spots are moving through the MCB4 liquor licensing approval process and will soon land in the neighborhood. In fact, one’s already opened and it’s a BYOB treat for now. Read more…

From the ashes of New York’s legendary Hotel Pennsylvania comes a new, not-at-all-parody-worthy building named PENN15, appropriately shaped like…well, please enjoy these newly released renderings.

Vaccination checks for many indoor spaces end next week, but lots of restaurants, bars, theaters, museums, and concert venues will continue to require proof of two doses (and maybe a booster) for entry. And with the New York State’s Excelsior Pass set to expire on June 30, now’s a good time to think about upgrading to the expiration-free Excelsior Pass Plus. Read more…

What we’ve been reading

BUYK delivery app staff furloughed after Russian backers sanctioned. (New York Post)

New data shows crime underground is still surging in New York. (PIX11)

What happens to abandoned outdoor dining sheds? (Tribeca Citizen)

Just in case you weren’t too sure what belongs in the recycling, here’s a handy guide… (New York Times)

So, how many squirrels are there in New York? There’s a census for that! (Gothamist)

Freeze Frame

Have you ever seen a woodcock dance? Head across W42nd Street to Bryant Park and you might just catch one of these migrating birds getting its funk on! Thank you to Valerie Block for the tweet!


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