Cesare Vangeli has lived in the neighborhood for four years, but his love affair with Hell’s Kitchen has gone on for much longer. The Italian tap dancer and chef combines his two passions in Foodance. This is Cesare’s West Side Story.
So, what’s your New York story? Born here, or just arrived?
I have lived in New York for four years. In the summer of 2000, I attended Steps on Broadway Academy to perfect myself in tap dancing. I rented a room on 50th Street and 10 Avenue from my friend Tatijana (she has always lived there). Since then I have fallen madly in love with Hell’s Kitchen!! So I looked for a house nearby and was lucky enough to find my apartment with a private roof top. Here I sometimes organize cooking and music events, and cooking classes!
What was your first job? What do you do now?
Here in New York I’m a tap dancer, chef and I help my husband Kevin with interior design work.
Together we opened an LLC called FOODANCE (I combined my two passions!). During the Christmas period we have our own little restaurant at the Columbus Holiday Market! I also organize the Foodance Festival NYC, with dance shows and Italian cuisine (www.foodancefestival.com)
What’s your favorite New York minute (or moment) so far?
Enjoying the sunset from my rooftop and then watching Manhattan begin to light up.
Share with us why you love Hell’s Kitchen
I love Hell’s Kitchen because I lived here the first time in New York. This neighborhood is home now and it always will be. I never want to change. I met it when it was neglected, not crowded, and there were few shops.
What’s your superpower or hidden talent?
I believe that my strength is in being able to easily bring together and involve people and friends, to excite and make them happy.
What else should we know about you?
That I’m madly in love with my dog named Gingerino! He’s called this to honor Ginger Rogers, the tap dancer of musical films (being a tap dancer myself) but being my Italian puppy and a boy… Gingerino with the final O.
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Cesare’s Favorite Hell’s Kitchen Places
Skyline Gourmet Deli — 700 10th Avenue (bw corner of 49th St)
I go there when I get hungry at night — it’s always open.
Il Melograno — 501 W51st Street (corner of 10th Ave)
Here you will find a family atmosphere, good Italian cuisine and the kindness of Gregory and Lino.
Target — 615 10th Avenue (corner of W44th St)
I like shopping at Target, you can also meet new people and maybe find new friends.
DBL Bar — 667 10th Avenue (corner of W47th St)
Quiet during the week and super crazy on weekends.
Flea Market 43rd Street
I like flea markets! Some Saturdays I go to 43rd Street and 10th Avenue to browse and try to recover a used but valuable object, but if I don’t succeed I will have had fun!
Don Antonio — 309 W50th Street (bw 8th/9th Ave)
When I want to eat real Italian pizza, this place is perfect. Giorgia is the pizza chef (new mother of a few months) who won the world championship!!!
Little Pie Company — 424 W43rd Street (bw 9th/10th Ave)
The bakery scents capture me when I pass by there…
You can follow Cesare on Instagram @cesare_vangeli_official. If you know someone who would make a great West Side Story (or you would like to nominate yourself), please fill in this form — w42st.info/WSSnominations
You can check out more West Side Stories and reader recommendations on W42ST’s Hell’s Kitchen Local App.