Good morning and welcome to the weekend!

Ten years ago today — December 3, 2012 — I arrived at W37th and 9th for a two-month stay at an Airbnb to explore the idea of being an Englishman in New York. When I looked at the map (printed in those days) I was located somewhere between Chelsea and a place called Clinton. At that point, I could never have imagined the close connection I would form with this area, Hell’s Kitchen.

Nearly two months ago, at the start of October, I went to the UK to renew my visa. I waited patiently to be called for an interview at the US Embassy in London. That finally took place on Thursday. In less than 5 minutes, the interviewer asked me about why W42ST’s sales had gone down in the last couple of years (I explained about the pivot from print magazine to digital daily); why in two out of the five years of the print magazine we had made a loss (I explained business had been challenging, but I had supported it with my own money); why profits had been small in the last two tax years — 2020 and 2021 (I explained that times had been tough for every small business in NYC during COVID — but in this year, 2022, it was much improved); and why I keep on referring to “we” (I explained that although during the pandemic I had at times done everything myself — I now had two contractors, Sarah and Naty, who derived a significant part of their income from W42ST).  

The interviewer pushed a piece of paper (see below) under the glass screen and said that my visa application was denied. W42ST was a “marginal” business.  I asked what I could do to change this. They replied: “nothing”. I cannot return to the United States/New York/Hell’s Kitchen.

I have been in contact with local elected officials since the decision. Yesterday evening by email, Congressperson Jerry Nadler’s immigration specialist told me: “We can’t reopen a substantive denial or ask for another consular officer to override it. Consular decisions are not open to appeal – not even in a court of law.”

My lawyer will on Monday ask for a Supervisory Review of the case. That is my only chance that this decision could be overturned and get me home for Christmas. If you would like to help, please write to evisaslondon@state.gov to explain how W42ST keeps you connected, updated and upbeat. Please quote the reference “KOB Publishing – Phil O’Brien – AA00B4AYDT” in your correspondence.

Finally, if you know a journalist at a major media outlet — please feel free to forward this on. I need all the help I can get…

In much better news… We checked in with fans of the beloved Hell’s Kitchen retail store Domus and owners Luisa Cerutti and Nicki Lindheimer as they celebrate 20 years in business. Read more…

Here’s the rest of the news from around the neighborhood this week…

Want to calm the mind and stoke your creative spirit by making ceramics? Pottery NYC, the new 9th Avenue drop-in studio is here to guide your hands, with the help of experienced artist Peter Ramirez. Read more…

The number of asylum-seekers arriving in New York has dropped significantly in recent weeks, relief workers say, but their needs have not. Here’s what you can do to help…

Supporters of Sullivan Street Bakery have started a GoFundMe campaign to help the shuttered cafe as they work to recover from a massive flood that swept through the Hell’s Kitchen headquarters in the run-up to Thanksgiving week. Read more…

Are you getting ready for a holly, jolly Hell’s Kitchen Christmas? Here’s where to snap up a holiday evergreen without hauling it back from New Jersey. Read more…

A dog walk turned into a nightmare for West Sider Layla Law-Gisiko — after her pup accidentally ingested cannabis-filled sidewalk trash. Read more…


SPONSORED POST

HYHK and Colored Colors are bringing back the holiday market to Bella Abzug Park with 50 different artists, makers, and small businesses for you to check out. Santa will be there on Saturday from 2:30pm-5:30pm — plus free hot chocolate and cookies — and tree lighting at 5pm Saturday. DJ both days. It’s free and open to the public. More details here…


If the thought of decking the halls of your studio apartment has you overwhelmed, fear not — there’s a brand-new ready-made holiday hangout from some of the neighborhood’s favorite proprietors in Hell’s Kitchen! Read more…

In a significant reversal of their long-criticized policy, the FDA has released newly drafted guidelines that would allow gay and bisexual men in monogamous relationships to donate blood — though equality advocates like New York State Senator Brad Hoylman say there is still much progress to be made in treating gay donors fairly. Read more…

As New Yorkers check their holiday gift lists, many wonder how to manage one particularly niche category: building staff tips. Widely regarded as an important show of appreciation for the hard work of those who keep the city’s residences running, there is little one-fits-all guidance for who and how much to tip building staff. Read more…

The lights were bright and the mood was c’est magnifique once more as Elyane Bruno and son William Welles welcomed back old friends to Chez Napoleon for its first dinner service since a nightmare 11-month shutdown. Read more…

As New York State’s weed legalization process moves slower than a stoner getting up off the couch, industry advocates warn that unlicensed producers will continue to hotbox the market with weakened and potentially contaminated weed. Read more…

What we’ve been reading

Unrest in China is mirrored at the Consulate on W42nd Street. (Washington Square News)

Streetsblog editor talks about license plate abuse in New York City. (NY1)

The Port Authority is set to be TV’s latest center of crime fighting. (Deadline)

Get ready for a snow “roller coaster” in New York City this winter. (New York Daily News)

15 quirky “Best of New York” places. (Untapped New York)

Freeze Frame

Thank you to Nelson Christopher Ala (and many other readers) who sent in pictures of Monday’s rainbow. “7:12am sunrise rainbow this morning. Thank my dogs for waking me up. I might’ve missed this,” said Nelson from his home at VIA 57 West.


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