New York dusk - City lights and rooftops of Hell’s Kitchen.
The city’s lights come out to play at dusk:
tiny candles whose flames flicker brightly
in the glistening squinting eyes
of urban dreamers.
This is a 20 second long exposure of the West Side of Manhattan taken from a rooftop in Hell’s Kitchen with the Sony A99. The twin towers in the distance are a newer development called The Silver Towers. They were built in 2009 and have become a prominent part of the West Side skyline.
Hell’s Kitchen is a neighborhood that has gone through a lot of changes over the last few decades. There has been a push to re-brand and rename the neighborhood in recent years with the names Clinton and Midtown West. However, the area is still colloquially known as Hell’s Kitchen. The neighorhood encompasses the stretch from 34th Street up to 59th Street from 8th Avenue to the water.
In the mid-nineteenth century, the area attracted many Irish immigrants who were fleeing the Great Famine in Ireland and many of these immigrants worked on the docks. After the Civil War ended, a greater influx of immigrants settled in newer tenements in the area. The boost in population caused an upsurge in crime and the area became one of the most dangerous areas in America towards the end of the nineteenth century. The crime rate skyrocketed during the Prohibition due to the many illegal warehouses that were located in the neighborhood.
Hell’s Kitchen experienced quite a few surges in violence and crime in the 20th century as well due to an increase in gang activity and tension. Today’s Hell’s Kitchen is quite different. Despite its violent history, the neighborhood’s proximity to restaurant row and the theater district have made it a hot spot for moderate, and luxury real estate developments.
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