Lawyer-turned-social media manager Wesley Pedroso moved from Brazil to Hell’s Kitchen in 2019 and has fallen for the neighborhood —“I love the sense of community and the local businesses,” he says. This is Wesley’s West Side Story.
So, what’s your New York story? Born here, or just arrived?
I was born and raised in Brazil. I graduated from law school in 2013 and started practicing law at the office where I was an intern at the beginning of law school. I worked in one of the largest banking law firms in Brazil for over six years. In 2018 I decided to move to Miami, FL to improve my English and discover new horizons. I arrived in Hell’s Kitchen in May 2019 after living in Miami for almost six months. I moved to NYC mainly because I met my life partner — and I could never have imagined how much fun it would be to explore the city and especially the neighborhood.
What was your first job? What do you do now?
Most immigrants in the United States have to reinvent and rediscover ourselves. Even though I used to be a lawyer in Brazil, I didn’t want to practice here. I felt like I could think bigger and that I had more options to explore. My first job in NYC was at a restaurant called Rice N Beans, where Carlos Inácio, the owner, taught me everything about working in the restaurant business and I am deeply grateful to him. While working there, I shared my experiences, struggles and lifestyle on my social media, which got attention and people started to get inspired. I have always been interested in social media, photography and video production, so I started my own small social media management company, working with local businesses in the neighborhood to get more attention and customers. After doing that for over a year, I was interviewed to work at the Consulate General of Brazil here in New York as a social media manager and to work with cultural and educational affairs and I got it! I feel extremely fulfilled right now, working for my country and doing what I really love.
What’s your favorite New York minute (or moment) so far?
I’m very adventurous and I love exploring the city to the fullest, so I have a lot of memorable moments here. But two come to mind: One was the first time I came to the city and I did a helicopter tour through Manhattan at sunset, it was just incredible and an experience I’ll never forget! The other would be when I was just about to move here permanently, and a couple weeks before, I came to spend Easter in the city. I think one of the most memorable experiences was watching the Easter Bonnet Parade that takes place on 5th Avenue, it was incredible! A unique energy and experience.
Share with us why you love Hell’s Kitchen
I love Hell’s Kitchen mostly for the sense of community and the local businesses. The restaurants, bars, gift shops and even the delis are one of a kind. One of the things that I absolutely love here are the people from “The Litter Legion”. Despite not knowing them personally, I know and admire the work they do for the good of the neighborhood. The first time I saw it I was thrilled and emotional. I also love how convenient and how quickly I can get to any theater on Broadway or literally anywhere in town. I think it’s a charming neighborhood and I love to walk around.
What’s your superpower or hidden talent?
I wouldn’t say “hidden” — I’m always out and about taking nice pictures and shooting videos everywhere — but I love doing that and sharing them on my social media. Especially the restaurants, because those are a “hit” on my page… I love to help other local businesses to thrive, especially because I know how hard the food business is, so I do what I can to help. I often share my experiences on social media and end up influencing people to try the places I go to. I think that’s one of the most interesting things about my job, getting messages back saying someone went somewhere I mentioned and they enjoyed the experience is just amazing.
What else should we know about you?
In addition to my full time office job, I also manage a few local business Instagram pages. I’ve been working as a social media manager since the pandemic and I feel happy and fulfilled with the results. It’s not as easy as people imagine — and that’s why I like to deliver a special job for each client.
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Wesley’s Favorite Hell’s Kitchen Places
The Marshal — 628 10th Avenue (bw W44/45th St)
I love the atmosphere, the locally sourced food, the freshness of everything and all the flavors of the wood fired oven cuisine. This is my favorite spot in Hell’s Kitchen, and there isn’t a dish I don’t love! Everything is SO yummy and fresh!
Turkish Cuisine — 631 9th Avenue (bw W44/45th St)
I love this restaurant so much, the food is really fresh and the atmosphere is great!
Mee Noodle Shop — 795 9th Avenue (bw W52/53rd St)
Amazing Chinese place on 9th Avenue, super affordable and SO so good! Their orange chicken… OMG!
Rice X Beans — 688 10th Avenue (bw W48/49th St)
One of my favorites, it has a taste of home. Very authentic Brazilian food. The chef, Carlos Inacio, in addition to being a great friend, is also an excellent professional.
Gilda — 401 W47th Street (bw 9th/10th Ave)
A recent addition to Hell’s Kitchen and I absolutely love the decor and the cocktails, they are just… something else! Food is also very yummy too.
Valla Table — 641 10th Avenue (bw W45/46th St)
As a foodie, I absolutely LOVE Thai food. The Mama’s Pad Thai is just incredible! SO good!
44 & X — 622 10th Avenue (corner of W44th St)
Another one of my faves. Great restaurant, great staff, great atmosphere. Food is SO yummy!
You can follow Wesley on Instagram @wesleysalim. 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.