March 4, 2008
Putting the "Hell" in Hell's Kitchen
From the late '90's until about 2005, Hell's Kitchen was the up-and-coming neighborhood that had a bunch of good local restaurants, some ancient and appealingly crumbling bars, and the barber shop, wholesale greengrocer, and shoe repair shop that had been there since the LaGuardia administration.
Now, it seems like it's segued directly from up-and-coming to a horrific combination of yuppie-fied wine bars and mass-produced tourist garbage, with an overpriced baby clothes store or two thrown in.
For example: What's that new construction going up on West 46th?
It's Bourbon Street Bar and Grille, which looks like it's part of a college-town nightlife franchise that already has branches in places like Flint, Michigan and Schenectady.
There's already something called Bourbon St NYC on the UWS that looks pretty bad (though I can't entirely reject 50 cent Coors Light), but the logo is different, so I guess this is some other, pre-theater-oriented Bourbon Street.
The bright side: maybe Bourbon Street will bring a critical mass of recent grads to puke up turquoise fishbowls all over the Restaurant Row sidewalk, which will halt the flow of tourists that's been trickling farther west to 9th Avenue.
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