Good morning and welcome to the weekend. It’s been quite a week, especially with the announcement that New York could be fully reopened by July 1.

In another important step towards achieving a ‘new normalcy,’ from next week New York City’s restaurants will be allowed to welcome customers at 75% capacity. From May 7 the city’s eateries will be at the same level as the rest of the state, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday. More details here…

Here’s our weekend catch-up on what happened last week in Hell’s Kitchen.

Hell’s Kitchen’s Sophie Gerber celebrated her 100th birthday last Sunday — and she let the world in on her secret: “Don’t let a day go by without laughing at something.” More here, including a fabulous video of a reunion with her son, Joe, and her dance moves…

It’s so nice to bring news about a new place to eat. Check out Mikey Pomodoro — just arrived in Hell’s Kitchen to serve elevated comfort food which they describe as “if your favorite Italian restaurant slept with a Shake Shack.” Find out more about this lunchtime pop-up on 9th Avenue.

We’re following Neil Hershman’s progress on his quest to climb Everest. You may remember we featured Neil opening up a location for his 16 Handles fro-yo in Times Square just before he left for his Himalayan adventure. You can follow along too at @neil.hershman — he’s just arrived at basecamp and this is a pic of a Puja Ceremony where the climbers pray to the Nepalese mountain gods for safe passage.

After our Mikey Pomodoro feature, readers asked if we had a list of what has opened during the pandemic. Here’s a starter of those that we have featured — but please tell us who we have missed and we will compile a page for the website. It will be a real help to those visitors returning to New York (and Hell’s Kitchen).

In August we told the story of Dionne Figgins taking over Couture du Jour. September saw the arrival of Olde Good Things vintage furniture and reclamation store on W52nd Street. Back in November, we featured Jasmine’s Caribbean Kitchen opening up on Restaurant Row. December saw Italian restaurateurs bring the Longo Bros name back to 9th Avenue. In March, we went to the opening of Seguidilla Empanadas on W51st Street. Last month, we reported on how entrepreneur (and mountain climber) Neil Hershman had opened a location for 16 Handles  — while at Columbus Circle, Magnolia Bakery had brought sweetness to the neighborhood.

We reported on a mother and her two daughters who launched a Peruvian ghost kitchen, Qoyas — and Maria Ortiz mentioned in her West Side Story another Peruvian restaurant, Kausa, that’s just arrived on 9th Avenue. Tracey Kleinman Berglund praised new omakasa sushi place, Ikebana-Zen, in her West Side Story. One of the few new bars is Dolly Varden — and we love their new outdoor rail carriage! Norma Gastronomia Siciliana took up a corner slot on 9th Avenue too.

We are sure there are many more. Hit reply and tell us. One of the most loved new arrivals has been Grind Coffee Shop at 9th Avenue and W43rd Street. We featured them in our Instagram feed at the start of spring.

Ephemeral New York has unearthed this 1883 “View of Forty-Third Street West of Ninth Avenue” by Louis Maurer. This would have been the scene 138 years ago if you stepped out from Manhattan Plaza. For reference, Grind Coffee Shop is being obscured by the guy emptying his ashcan.

Did you watch the Oscars last Sunday? If so you might have caught the trailer to Steven Spielberg’s new West Side Story. We’ve got some of the backstories here — along with the emotional reaction of young actor Rachel Zegler (who plays Maria in the film) as she sees the video for the first time.

“That is beautiful,” are not the words most New Yorkers utter when scaffolding goes up. However, it was the reaction of restoration artist Denise Penizzotto when she saw the tubes, netting and platforms covering the decaying “Against Domestic Colonialism” mural in Mathews-Palmer Playground. “I hope that I can jump up and piggyback on those wall repairs,” she added.

We’ve managed to weave this story in with some West Side stories — there are murders by the 16-year old “Cape Man” and a couple of appearances by Paul Simon. Read more…

With 1.9 million Twitter followers and over 650,000 of his gang on Instagram, Andrew Yang is hot property when it comes to marketing Hell’s Kitchen’s eateries out of pandemic trauma.

Last week, Andrew took to the streets to review ViVi Bubble Tea. We’ve compiled a list of his local recommendations — and a sweet snippet about where he went on his first date with Evelyn!

From Monday, you will be able to sit at a New York bar again. Also, Governor Cuomo has decreed that you will no longer need to order a “substantial” food item with your drink. Here are the details and the tale of a bar owner who was fined for offering “Cuomo’s Balls” that were too small

We’re days away from Cinco de Mayo — so we thought it would be a great time to add to our Hell’s Kitchen Best Pizza and Burger lists with a BEST MARGARITA list.

If sharing your encyclopedic knowledge of margaritas was not enough — we’re incentivizing you with a sweepstake for two boarding passes for La Barca Cantina which will start sailing from Pier 81 on May 20. Enter here…

Thanks to Lenny for finding this YouTube video of wardrobe professional Billy Hipkins taking us on a tour of the neighborhood. Great to see him advocating to those coming back to New York to come visit Hell’s Kitchen.

W42ST is moving back towards its lifestyle roots. Less news and politics — more fun, food, and what’s happening. Our mission remains to keep you connected and help you to live your best New York life.

We continue to need your support to know what’s going on in Hell’s Kitchen. You, our readers, are an amazing group of advocates who help to promote this neighborhood that we love. Please continue to hit reply to these emails, tag @W42ST in your social media posts — and please tell your friends about us (including those who will be returning to visit for the first time in over a year). Let’s spring into the summer.

What we’ve been reading

It looks like the flu flew away during the pandemic. (Scientific American)

Governors Island reopens this weekend for the season! (NY1)

A Maserati was stolen at gunpoint at W53rd Street and 10th Avenue. (New York Post)

This Hudson Yards penthouse has been listed for $59m. (6sqft)

Book now for your own little lawn at Pier 17. (Urbanize NY)

Freeze Frame

Thanks to Max von Essen for this view over Hell’s Kitchen last night. He asked: “Can an evening be gloomy AND gorgeous?” We say “yes”.