Happy Wednesday. Today marks the finale of our W42ST Best of Awards 2021. Thank you to our sponsors Wells Fargo and supporters HYHK Alliance and The Durst Organization. Thousands of readers took part in the nomination and voting process. More than 580 different places were nominated across the 7 categories — and we cut those down to a shortlist of just over 100 Hell’s Kitchen’s businesses.

We used that shortlist to form the header of our award certificates. When we presented Scott Hart and Bruce Horowytz, owners of Hell’s Kitchen restaurant 44&X, with their Best Place to Eat Award, Bruce joked with Scott: “That acronym name, 44&X, was the best thing — we are always first.” Check out more on their story and who were the runners up this year…

You can find all the winners, runners up and shortlisted businesses on your mobile by downloading W42ST’s Hell’s Kitchen Local app. You can also discover all the businesses recommended by folks who have told us their West Side Stories and reader recommends for our lists (like Best Pizza and Best Burger) on the app. http://app.w42st.com

With up to 2 million people expected at the Crossroads of the World on New Year’s Eve, Times Square Alliance and New York Police Department shared their plans for handling the big event yesterday. Here are the details if you want to join the throng (or know where to avoid).

Hell’s Kitchen used to be known for having so many Thai restaurants — now we keep on adding to the selection of Korean food. Welcome to Mari (from the folks behind Michelin Star winners, Kochi). Read more…

What we’ve been reading

The race for NYC speaker is getting tighter as Gale Brewer withdraws. (Gothamist)

Those slow buses have not gotten any quicker than 8 miles per hour in the 8 years of Mayor de Blasio. (New York Daily News)

New gift shop lease is a sign of Times Square recovery. (The Real Deal)

Aloft Hotel is progressing at Hudson Yards. (New York Yimby)

The story of a New York vaccine bouncer. (Eater)

Freeze Frame

They’re usually going too quick to capture! This Amtrak Empire Service train was idling under the bridge on W45th Street between 10/11th Avenue when we walked by yesterday afternoon.

Andy Murray mused on our Facebook page (as many of us have) as to where these trains that rumble under Hell’s Kitchen go. “This train has been a mystery for years! I call it the ghost train because I’m not sure where it leaves from and goes to! The track continues south but doesn’t look like it could turn into Penn. Thought maybe it comes in from NJ but doesn’t stop in NYC, but that doesn’t make sense. Have wondered about this for 20 years!” he said.

Andy returned to the page a little later to answer his own question. You can take the train the full 7 hours and 20 minutes from Penn Station all the way to Niagara Falls — passing through the Hudson River Valley, Finger Lakes, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo along the way.

Over on Instagram, Steve Olsen from West Bank Cafe told us about his friend’s experience on the rail tracks. “I had a relative who got drunk on his roof and fell 5 stories, got up and walked a few steps and fell down to the railroad tracks. He quit drinking after that,” he said.