Happy Saturday. The rain is due to stop around 2pm, and then the weekend can really begin!

We reported yesterday that the recently reopened Joe Allen Restaurant has decided to go into hibernation for the winter (maybe until Broadway is back). Alec Baldwin said “Sh#t”, Jim Caruso says “Geez I hate all this”, hear what the rest of Hell’s Kitchen is saying… and add your comments.

Eater’s food critic, Ryan Sutton, mixed business with pleasure with a review of his local “open all hours” eatery, Empanada Mama. We know it’s a reader favorite because they won the Best Place to Eat in the W42ST Best of Awards 2020.

Here’s what happened the rest of the week.

Neither Michelin nor Zagat will be publishing restaurant guides for New York City this year. However, we can recommend an even better guide that’s just gone into print — Walking Manhattan Sideways — Side Street Businesses That Have Stood the Test of Time.

We featured Betsy Bober Polivy six years ago in the first issue of W42ST magazine. At that point, her “crazy idea to walk the entire original Manhattan grid — from 1st Street to 155th” had reached 53rd Street. She’s since completed the task, and the Manhattan Sideways website is filled with the stories of those individual businesses.

Now there’s a book…

A picture of the arrival of the “Charlie Brown” Rockefeller Christmas Tree that we posted from our reader @justine_nyc went viral on our Facebook page with over 1.5m views. Later in the week, we were pleased to report that the tree looked beautiful when the lights were switched on.

Cindy Sibilsky wrote about the challenges that theater faces as it comes back. The Great White Way is gone with the pandemic, and there is a refreshing drive to diversity. Read her story here…

Last week, I ventured down 9th Avenue towards Hudson Yards and stumbled across the re-opened Longo Bros. It’s always been a favorite place for me in Hell’s Kitchen since, during research for the magazine, I discovered Sam Erickson’s photo of John Mayer sitting on an old couch.

Anyway, Longo Bros (Est. 1933) rides again as an Italian small plates, pizza and pasta eatery with an excellent pedigree (and the ownership of Italian cousins). Read the history and the new story here…

Citi Bike is rolling out its program to extend shared biking stations in Hell’s Kitchen. This week, they’ve lifted into place a new 59-dock station at W54th Street and 11th Avenue.

Over on Instagram, we posted a picture about the threat of extinction of local retail businesses. That dinosaur and friends are becoming a landmark outside Olde Good Things on W52nd Street between 8/9th Avenue.

Crime continues to be a growing issue in Hell’s Kitchen. We reported on two incidents this week. A shooting at the corner of W42nd and 9th Avenue and the assault of an NYPD Traffic Officer at W48th and 10th Avenue.

We thanked the folks at Manhattan Community Board 4 for their volunteer service to Hell’s Kitchen. Although we live in an imperfect neighborhood, the area benefits from their efforts.

In their final board meeting of 2020 — which lasted 3 hours and is available on their YouTube channel — they approved the renovations of the Windermere Hotel on W57th Street and 9th Avenue (I’ll be writing a story on that new week), updated on how the NYPD Tow Pound at Pier 75 is finally getting handed back to benefit the Hudson River Park, and debated a letter adding more nit-picking restrictions to struggling restaurants trying to survive the winter.

My journalism training taught me to arrive early and stay to the end. If you cannot find the time to watch to the finale, I’ll share this with you. “The Waltons” ending of the 2020 season

We asked readers to consider giving blood. The city is in need, and if your holiday gift this year is donating, you might even get a gift back. Read on…

To finish off the week, we told the tale of a young gay boy’s heartbreaking letter to Santa being answered by HK’s own Queer Latino Elf, who just happens to be our food writer.

One reader sent us a message after reading: “That letter to Santa from the young gay boy had me burst in tears 💔 awww. That was so nice of the gentleman to help.”

What we’ve been reading

Broadway could be back late summer or early fall, says Dr Fauci. (6sqft)

Are yellow cabs an endangered species? (amNY)

It’s too early to say whether Thanksgiving will cause a surge in COVID cases. (Stat News)

A fascinating look back at the subway in the 1970s. (Gothamist)

Missing the Rockettes? Then take steps to create your very own Christmas Spectacular! (PIX11)


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