Good morning and happy Saturday. Once the rain peters out this morning and the clouds clear later in the day, we should be in for a pretty nice weekend. Sunny on Sunday through to Tuesday and warming up for spring.

The Office of the Medical Examiner has ruled the still-unsolved deaths of Julio Ramirez and John Umberger as homicides. Read more…

Julio Ramirez and John Umberger

“If you think that any human being can close down 1,400 in the city overnight — that’s not gonna happen,” says CM Gale Brewer on the City’s actions against smoke shops illegally selling cannabis. Read more…

East Village Court Order Smoke Shop

Here’s the rest of the news from the streets of Hell’s Kitchen this week…

A recent apartment building fire in Hell’s Kitchen was determined not to have been caused by controversial lithium-ion e-bike batteries — but the investigation and ensuing public outcry have cracked open a broader debate around the City’s accountability for tenant safety. Read more…

9th Avenue Hell's Kitchen Chop Shop Fire

Local elections are about to get underway in New York for 2023 — and the first step in the campaigning process involves a bit of paperwork. If you are asked for your signature for a petition, this is what you need to know…

Shaun Donovan Signatures Petition Vote New York

Telltale Tours, a Hell’s Kitchen-based historical guide company, is pulling back the curtain on the city’s Prohibition history. Check out our interview with founders Rory and Brock — and we took a tour! Read more…

Telltale Tours Rory Jenna

Judith Rubenstein began her “Searching for Home” booklet project last spring, asking people living on the street or in shelters to write or draw their thoughts on the very concept of “home.” The three-by-five-inch accordion-style booklets Judith creates are small and easy to carry, but they hold big dreams from dozens of homeless New Yorkers. Read more…

Judith Rubenstein homeless art

THE RIDE closed last fall after a 12-year run, but the popular interactive New York City tour bus is under new management and scheduled to roll version 2.0 through the streets of the Big Apple this spring. Read more…

The Ride Bus

West Side Stories are back! We start by sharing the story of New Jersey-born content creator Naty Caez, who nowadays calls Hell’s Kitchen her home. As social media editor of W42ST, Naty has got to know the neighborhood pretty well. Read more…

Naty and her dog Kiko in the snow in Hell's Kitchen

New York City Council held a hearing this week about the handling of the BLM protests in the city in the summer of 2020 by NYPD’s Strategic Response Group (based on W42nd Street). NYPD didn’t show up. The Public Advocate said: “I think it is a shameful affront to this council and to the city as a whole,” while the police responded saying: “the court has issued a gag order directing confidentiality”. Read more…

NYPD Times Square SRG

We profiled landscape photographer Madhavan Parthasarthy in our West Side Stories feature — he had the first exhibit of his work at Jaz Indian Cuisine on 9th Avenue last night. Read more…

Madhavan Hell's Kitchen

Check out Sarah’s latest edition of “Make Way for the Weekend” for ideas of what to do to round off the week. Read more…

Studio Sunday: Batiking Cloth

The New York State Office of Cannabis Management is to double the number of first-round dispensary licenses — but will the move be enough to stamp out Hell’s Kitchen’s prolific illegal smoke shop gray market? Since our last report, another one is preparing to open on 10th Ave and W43rd Street (replacing the popular Strand Han’s Cleaners). Read more…

Pink Treezzz Smoke Shop

Eyewitness News reporter Derick Waller may have moved to Lower Manhattan but he’s still drawn back to “the center of everything” — Hell’s Kitchen and its many tempting restaurants and small businesses. Read Derick’s West Side Story…

Derick Waller and Michelle Charlesworth

If you know someone who would make a great West Side Story (or you would like to nominate yourself) please fill in this form — w42st.info/WSSnominations

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

What we’ve been reading

* Stories that might be behind a paywall are marked with a 💰

Citizen reporting of drivers who block bike or bus lanes will start — but you won’t get 25% of the resulting ticket fee as initially planned. (Streetsblog)

The Flatiron Building will be auctioned later this month — fancy snagging an NYC landmark? (6sqft)

Food critic Jaya Saxena serves up a controversial take on that weekend staple, brunch. (Eater)

He’s used to dining on “Whole Foods-quality dead mice and rats” — can Flaco the owl make a new life on the outside? (New York Times💰)

It’s your last chance to sample Bryant Park’s Winter Village. (SecretNYC)

Freeze Frame

Time Out Peachy Keen

Hell’s Kitchen’s most colorful cocktail bar, Peachy Keen, provided the backdrop for the Spring cover of Time Out this week. Photographer Krista Schlueter shot Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford, the stars of the musical Sweeney Todd.


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