Hey, Hell’s Kitchen. What did you think of the 80 degree heat yesterday? It’s only March — we think that it’s going to be one hell of a hot summer!

Last night, we caught up with Californian artist JM Knudsen as he dodged the 9th Avenue traffic to paint the outdoor dining spaces at Mom’s Kitchen. You can read more about the Neighborhood Curbside Canvas Project and watch a video interview with JM here.

There’s excitement over the demolition of the former NYPD Tow Pound at Pier 76 — especially with the announcement by Governor Cuomo that it will be open as a five-acre public space this summer (target date June 1).

When we did a feature on our reader’s experiences of the tow pound, there was an outpouring of stories and nostalgia. Gino contacted us and said he had a 1990s tow pound tale. We give you his story today — “The Car Belongs to the Guy in the Trunk” — a Halloween Horror Story at the Manhattan Tow Pound — with a wonderful illustration by Tracey Berglund.

So here’s what’s been happening the rest of the week in Hell’s Kitchen…

On Sunday evening, we went to the basketball court at Manhattan Plaza to record the folks who have spent a full year thanking essential workers with clapping, cheering, and the banging of pots and pans at 7pm each evening. Read more (and hear) here…

You might remember Robin Riley’s food photography in the pages of W42ST magazine. The pandemic has helped Robin to rediscover her love for the work that brought her to New York City in the first place. Here’s her West Side Story…

We rediscovered a little bit of Empire Coffee & Tea on 9th Avenue this week. Former Empire employee, Marco Anthony, set up a coffee counter in Terra Market. Read more…

Governor Cuomo allowed indoor group fitness classes to resume at limited capacity this past Monday, but it was not in time to stop the closure of my local gym. Title Boxing NYC on W37th Street has been closed for over a year — and Michael Tosto has decided to call it a day on his fitness franchise. I’m sad, it was a wonderful gym and I wish Michael all the best on his future ventures. More here…

Social Worker and community activist Maria Ortiz has lived in and around Hell’s Kitchen for most of her life so she’s certainly got a taste for the place — maybe that’s why she loves the food in the neighborhood so much! Here’s Maria’s West Side Story.

On April 17, 1905, Annie Doherty arrived in New York on board the SS Columbia from Ireland. She made her new home on W50th Street in Hell’s Kitchen. In 1911, she headed downtown to work at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory next to Washington Square Park.

She survived a fire at the factory, the deadliest workplace disaster in New York until the terrorist attacks of September 11. The fire ended the lives of 146 workers and injured another 78, most of them immigrant women and girls. Thanks to Hope Carey Tarr for telling Annie’s story (and we recommend the three-part podcast that Hope has created). More here…

We celebrated Diana Ross’s 77th birthday yesterday with with our weekly real estate feature having an “I’m Coming Out” theme. You’ve got it, it’s all about Hell’s Kitchen apartments with great closet space.

Thank you to the hundreds of you who took the time to fill out our COVID-19 vaccine survey. W42ST followers are heading for herd immunity with 46% fully vaccinated, 30% having their first shot and 8% with an appointment for the injection. There are 10% of readers still not eligible. Sixty-one percent have had the Pfizer vaccine and a third of respondents have had the Moderna shot.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said that it was “time to raise the curtain and bring Broadway back.” He was joined in his announcement by Hell’s Kitchen stars André De Shields and Telly Leung.

The Mayor laid out a plan for mass vaccination of arts and culture personnel at their place of work. He promised to set up a dedicated COVID-19 vaccination site on Broadway for the theater industry. There will also be a mobile unit that will travel to off-Broadway locations. Read more here…

What we’ve been reading

Is the Excelsior Pass our ticket to normalcy? (PIX11)

This Hell’s Kitchen school has had to close due to COVID. (Patch)

There are calls to ban NYPD’s robodog – or would that be woof justice? (Wired)

The story of the contractors who clean the subways. (New York Times)

How many restaurants closed for good during the pandemic? We may never know the total. (Eater)

Freeze Frame

Thanks to Gary Hershorn for this picture last night of the Empire State Building framed by Hudson Yards. The New York landmark was lit in gold and black to mark #StopAsianHate.

Our friend, Jessica Chen, wrote to W42ST this week. “Last week and the news of Atlanta shootings hit me hard. I am angry, I am sad, I am fearful. I know I am not alone in this feeling, and as I see processing spaces and rallies being organized, I am also thinking about my own communities of belonging, like my neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen,” she said. “I am sad with grief for the lives lost in Atlanta. I am also fearful for my family and myself.”

W42ST deplores the current increase in hate crimes against our AAPI community. We will do anything we can to stop this, and continue to appeal for us all to deal with each other with kindness.

Jessica shared resources that were gathered by the Asian American Arts Alliance.

• A Community-Centered Response to Violence against Asian American Communities: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KHy9HzFhs5hV5OCcVXIQ5s8F8aIMjtAfkMRVoDRWDJA/edit

• As an organization:

• As an individual:

• Asian American Arts Alliance
• Red Canary Song
• Asian Americans Advancing Justice
• Stop AAPI Hate
• Act to Change 
• Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta
• A Final Bow for Yellow Face

• Blog from the American Friends Service Committee on standing up to anti-Asian racism.
• Tips on bystander intervention to learn more about how you can help build the safe and peaceful communities we all deserve.
• Stop AAPI HATE resource guide by Playbill 
• Hollaback! Bystander Intervention Training

• Chinese Massacre of 1871
• Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 
• Internment of Japanese Americans during World War II