Midtown West is a neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City between 34th Street and 59th Street, from 8th Avenue to the Hudson River and is often referred to as "the Theatre District" and "Hells Kitchen". The area provides transportation, hospital and warehouse infrastructure support to the Midtown Manhattan business district. Its gritty reputation kept real estate prices below those of most other areas of Manhattan until the early 1990s; rents have increased dramatically since and are currently above the Manhattan average.
Once a bastion of poor and working-class Irish Americans, Hell's Kitchen's proximity to Midtown has changed it over the last three decades of the 20th century and into the new millennium. The 1969 edition of the City Planning Commission's Plan for New York City reported that development pressures related to its Midtown location were driving people of modest means from the area. Today, the area is being gentrified.
The rough-and-tumble days on the West Side figure prominently in Damon Runyon's stories and the childhood home of Marvel Comics' Daredevil. Various Manhattan ethnic conflicts formed the basis of the musical and film West Side Story. Being near to both Broadway theaters and Actors Studio training school the area has long been a home to actors learning and practicing their craft.
The Lincoln Tunnel connects New York City to New Jersey. Parking lots dot the neighborhood. Eleventh Avenue is lined with car dealerships, many of which claim to have the highest volume among all dealerships for their brands in the country.
The massive Port Authority Bus Terminal is between 40th and 42nd Streets and 8th and 9th Avenues.
Many of the horse drawn carriages from Central Park stay in stables just off the West Side Highway. It is not uncommon to hear the clip clop of horses in the neighborhood. There have been calls for banning horse-drawn carriages following a handful of collisions between cars and carriages. The carriage horses live in historic stables originally built in the 19th century, but today boast the latest in barn design, such as fans, misting systems, box stalls, and state of the art sprinkler systems. As horses always have in densely populated urban areas, the carriage horses live upstairs in their stables while the carriages are parked below on the ground floor.
Cruise ships frequently dock at the New York Passenger Ship Terminal in the 48th to 52nd piers called Piers 88, 90, 92. Cruise ship horns are a common sound in the neighborhood. Several French restaurants opened on West 51st Street to accommodate traffic from the French Line. The piers originally built in 1930 are now considered small, and some cruise traffic uses other locations.
Other ship operations in the neighborhood include Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises at West 42nd and the NY Waterway ferry service.
Hell's Kitchen begins northwest of Penn Station. Amtrak trains going into the station run along a sunken corridor west of 10th Avenue. It is not uncommon to hear their train horns in the neighborhood. During the post-9/11 building boom, apartment houses have been built over sections of the train tracks. Hell's Kitchen is bounded on the east by the Eighth Avenue subway line, the westernmost NYC subway line in Midtown. The MTA is extending the Flushing Line west from its current terminus at Times Square to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center at 34th Street and 11th Avenue.