Happy Saturday. Our “antiquing” and “hike” last weekend turned into a walk around Central Park and a trip to Olde Good Things on W52nd Street. Last night we took delivery of a desk/dining table — so we can count last weekend as a success.

You’re getting an early newsletter this morning as I travel to the Bronx on a bus to play tennis (it’s an adventure)! The rest of the weekend will be spent clearing out the W42ST storage. Anyone want a Radio Flyer (needs some maintenance) or to create a plan to sell back copies of the magazine? Hit reply…

Here’s our review of the week in Hell’s Kitchen…

We started the week with Martin Luther King Jr Day. Our recommendation to read a “Letter from Birmingham Jail” got many responses from readers who, like me, had not read it before. If you’ve still not had a chance, it would be a great use of 30 minutes of your time this weekend.

We’ve published our first West Side Story of the year. You might recognize Jonathan Hanna from his recent appearance on “Worst Cooks of America” — or maybe just his distinctive mustache and smile around the neighborhood. Read his story…

We will be publishing these West Side Stories more regularly. If you’d like to take part, just click on this link to tell your tale.

We told the story of the Windermere on the corner of W57th Street and 9th Avenue. The building was described by the New York Times as “an unsung architectural heirloom shrouded in disarray”. It’s coming back to life after a history that includes having Steve McQueen as a resident (he left skipping the rent) and building managers being sent to jail for issuing death threats and cement blocking apartment doors with residents’ belongings inside. Read on…

The lights of the city’s landmarks (including Intrepid Museum, below) turned red and amber as we remembered the 400,000 Americans who have died from COVID.

Amy Scherber came up with a striking window display at Amy’s Bread for the Presidential Inauguration. She’s been producing some special bread during the pandemic — remember the “VOTE” and “BYE 2020” loaves?

Feelings have been running high about NYPD parking on W54th Street. “If your precinct acts like an occupying force on 54th street, it will not engender trust with the community,” said Dale Corvino, co-chair of Manhattan Community Board 4’s Transport committee. We walked by yesterday, and it looks like NYPD are getting the street clear for pedestrians!

Broadway actor Nick Cordero, who died in July last year, aged 41, after a long battle with coronavirus, has been remembered with the release of his final performance. On March 9, 2020, at Sony Hall, he sang a duet with Liana Stampur of Maren Morris’s single “Dear Hate”.

Our favorite 4-and-a-half ton gorilla, King Nyani, got a flower makeover from Lewis Miller Design over at Hudson Yards.

The Port Authority was once dubbed “the single worst place on Planet Earth” by John Oliver. The bus terminal even had its own episode in the series Everybody Hates Chris called “Everybody Hates The Port Authority.” Now the 70-year-old building is going to be rebuilt, at an estimated cost of at least $10 billion. Read on…

If you fancy some light video viewing, we would recommend Faulty Defense Mechanisms. It’s an exhilarating digital drag production filmed around Hell’s Kitchen. Each short show has a monologue and a lip-sync performance. Enjoy…

With neighborhood pol Andrew Yang in quarantine, it’s nice that Bernie Sanders took the time to support our local bars and restaurants this week. Here’s a very small selection from our Instagram feed!

Remember that Birdland goes live on Sunday at 7pm with their final push on fundraising. Watch some jazz greats and special appearances from fans of the “Jazz Corner of the World” like President Bill Clinton.

Thanks to all those who’ve taken part in the W42ST Survey. It’s great to get feedback on what we are doing — and how we can improve. The link is here if you’ve not filled it in (it takes 5 minutes).

What we’ve been reading

Big Gay Ice Cream closes the store that started it all. (EV Grieve)

Sarah Jessica Parker on home cooking — and missing restaurants. (Grub Street)

Aaawww, the Puppy Bowl is back! (amNY)

A staggering 11,000 bar and restaurant jobs disappeared in December. (Eater)

“One of the hardest things to do for me in isolation was drag” — Jackie Cox talks mental health. (BuzzFeed)

Freeze Frame

This weekend 5 years ago was called Snowpocalypse, it was the second-biggest snowstorm in New York City’s history. It was also the weekend that W42ST’s readers’ favorite eatery, Empanada Mama, was gutted by fire! The four-alarm fire broke out early on Sunday morning, but before FDNY could battle the blaze, they had to find the fire hydrants in the snow!

“The first unit on the scene . . . couldn’t see the hydrants that were on the side of the street where the fire was located,” Assistant Chief Ronald Spadafora told the New York Post at the time. “Luckily, they just saw the tip of one fire hydrant across the street.”

The FDNY advised that residents should start digging out the hydrants in their neighborhoods to prevent future complications. There’s a snow forecast for Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday next week… keep an eye on those hydrants!