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Jeremy Driesen is a drummer and photographer who also runs a corporate events company. He’s a recent arrival in the neighborhood, but landed in New York back in the 1980s. This is Jeremy’s West Side Story.

Jeremy Driesen
Jeremy Driesen — “NYC is that bad girlfriend I just can’t seem to break up with.” Photo: Phil O’Brien

So, what’s your New York story? Born here, or just arrived?
I dropped out of college in the early 80s and moved to New York City to pursue a career as a drummer. I didn’t specifically intend to live here forever, but NYC is that bad girlfriend I just can’t seem to break up with.

What was your first job? What do you do now?
I did my first gig on drums when I was 13, so I guess that’s the first job. I’m sort of a seasonal drummer now because I do almost all of my gigs during the summer. I’m also a working photographer; I photograph for newspapers and magazines [including W42ST] and shoot a lot of music and live events. I also have a big-boy job running a corporate events company. 

Jeremy Driesen Drums
Jeremy Driesen is as happy behind a drum kit as a camera. Photo supplied

What’s your favorite New York minute (or moment) so far?
I lived in Queens when I first got to NYC, but really wanted to live in Manhattan. When I managed to rent a tiny apartment on the Upper West Side a few years later, I walked out of my building after my first night living there and thought to myself, “the coolest thing about living in Manhattan is that when I walk out in the morning, I’m in Manhattan.”

Share with us why you love Hell’s Kitchen
Massive energy, a million restaurants, and everything you could ever want in life right at your fingertips. We had house guests in town to see Chicago. When they asked how to find the theater, I told them, “walk to the end of the block and look up. You can’t miss it.”

What’s your superpower or hidden talent?
I can instantly count the number of letters in a sentence. It’s kinda pathetic, but it’s handy for crosswords (I’m a puzzle junkie). 

Trevor Noah by Jeremy Driesen
Former Daily Show host Trevor Noah photographed by Jeremy. Photo supplied

What else should we know about you?
I’ve been married to a wonderful woman for almost 30 years and we have two amazing kids who are happily engaged doing things they love. I’m a very lucky man.

Jeremy’s Favorite Hell’s Kitchen Places

Hummus Kitchen — 768 9th Avenue (bw W51/52nd St)
Our first visit was a bit of a fluke — we walked in when there was a long wait at the restaurant where we’d planned to eat. They blew us away and we’ve been regulars ever since. Best baba ganoush in the world and the shawarma taco rocks.

Rincon 50 — 739 9th Avenue (bw W49/50th St)
We love sitting at the bar and ordering drinks and random tapas plates. Ivan is a rock star bartender and we invariably get into conversations with other patrons, which is super nice since we’re new in the neighborhood. I was in search of a good haircutter here and I actually found one at the bar at Rincon.

Jeremy Driesen
Jeremy at the bar at Rincon 50 on 9th Avenue. Photo: Phil O’Brien

TMPL Gym — 355 W49th Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
I need my workouts to be as close to home as possible so I have fewer excuses not to go. TMPL is more or less in my building, so I have a hard time not going. It’s also really well equipped and well run. If I’ve gotta work out, this is the place. 

Lillie’s Victorian Establishment — 249 W49th Street (bw Broadway/8th Ave)
It’s such a beautiful, inspiring place to have a fancy drink. I can’t imagine how much it cost to do the build-out, but it was worth it. We were heartbroken when Jessica stopped tending bar, but it’s still cool to go there.

Planet Taco — 705 9th Avenue (bw W48/49th St)
The funny thing is that we can see Planet Taco from our apartment, but we didn’t try it for the first five months we lived here. I finally walked in one day and was just blown away. Fantastic tacos, fresh ingredients, and staff who believe in the food and care about the customers. 

Hibernia Bar — 401 W50th Street (bw 9th/10th Ave)
Every now and then we feel the need to sit at that great corner bar and eat a terrific cheeseburger. Hibernia is that place. It’s not trying to be anything it isn’t and that’s just fine with us.

Lum Lum Thai Hell's Kitchen
LumLum has become a favorite for Jeremy. Photo: Phil O’Brien

LumLum — 404 W49th Street (bw 9th/10th Ave)
This is another one we can see from our apartment. That’s important because they get very crowded and we can look out the window and see if there’s a line for tables. We love Thai and these guys are amazing. Be careful about the spice — if you ask for it “a little spicy,” they’ll hurt you. Best to get the spice on the side so you can control the pain. 

Chez Napoleon — 365 W50th Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
This is a favorite from way back in the day (I once ate there with Black Sabbath’s drummer!). When we moved here, we were thrilled to discover they were right out the back door of our building, but then we were crestfallen to learn they’d had a long closure due to some gas pipe issues. They finally re-opened and we’re delighted they’re back. 

Sicily Osteria — 330 W46th Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
This was the first place we ordered from in the neighborhood, but the deliver service totally dropped the ball (I’m not naming names, but their initials are ‘DoorDash’). When I called the restaurant two hours later, the manager told me they’d never received the order, but he wanted to make it right. He took our order and personally delivered the food to our door 15 minutes later. Killer food — try the ragu, the verdi salad and the artichoke appetizer. 

Amish Market — 731 9th Avenue (bw W49/50th St)
They have everything. Every. Thing. A fantastic espresso bean, great produce, prepared foods, dairy, hot and cold salad bar. And that’s just the first ten feet when you walk in.

Kinda thin on that, but I’ve attached a photo of Louise and me chillin’ in our HK apartment with a genuine HK view in the background . . .
Louise and Jeremy chillin’ in their HK apartment with a genuine Hell’s Kitchen view in the background. Photo supplied

Anything else you’d like to tell us?
We had never even considered living in Hell’s Kitchen, but our broker suggested we looked at one apartment she thought was a good fit for us. We walked in, saw the cool view down 9th Avenue, and just immediately felt good and like we were in the center of it all. We called the broker the next day and made it happen. We are so happy because we are living in the right place for us.

You can follow Jeremy on Instagram @jeremydriesenphotography and his website If you know someone who would make a great West Side Story (or you would like to nominate yourself) please fill in this form —

You can check out more West Side Stories and reader recommendations on W42ST’s Hell’s Kitchen Local App.

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