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New York City Neighborhoods: Hell’s Kitchen and the Theater District.

Most of my photography clients are real estate developers and interior decorators. As such, sometimes I undertake interesting assignments to meet the needs of my clientele. This past summer I had the pleasure of completing a large scale assignment for a real estate developer who was looking to fill a newer development in midtown Manhattan with my photography. I was, of course, honored to be offered this sort of opportunity.

Since the building is located in the neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen, my brief was to take photos in and around that specific neighborhood highlighting the neigborhood’s historic architecture and its unique link to Broadway since it is the site of many of Broadway’s theaters.

I will eventually post photos of my work installed in the building they will be displayed in permanently along with more info about the development. However, I thought it would be interesting to show a tiny photo montage of the photos I took specifically for this project.

In recent years, there has been an effort to rename the neighborhood. It currently has three different names associated with it: Clinton, Midtown West, and Hell’s Kitchen. The latter is what the neighborhood was referred to throughout the entirety of the 20th century. The area itself encompasses the west side of Manhattan from 34th street to 59th street from 8th Avenue to the water. Sometimes 7th avenue gets lumped in there. For the most part, the Theater District overlaps with Hell’s Kitchen even though the Theater District stretches further east.

The origin of the name Hell’s Kitchen is hotly disputed. Popular theories have been postulated by a local historian named Mary Green:

"…(it) first appeared in print on September 22, 1881 when a New York Times reporter went to the West 30s with a police guide to get details of a multiple murder there. He referred to a particularly infamous tenement at 39th Street and 10th Avenue as "Hell’s Kitchen," and said that the entire section was "probably the lowest and filthiest in the city." According to this version, 39th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues became known as Hell’s Kitchen and the name was later expanded to the surrounding streets.

Another version ascribes the name’s origins to a German restaurant in the area known as Heil’s Kitchen, after its proprietors. But the most common version traces it to the story of Dutch Fred The Cop, a veteran policeman, who with his rookie partner, was watching a small riot on West 39th Street near 10th Avenue. The rookie is supposed to have said, “This place is hell itself,” to which Fred replied, “Hell’s a mild climate. This is Hell’s Kitchen.” - Source

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Here is a location guide to the photos in this set:

1 - Winter Garden Theatre: This theater was built in 1896 and opened on Broadway in 1911. Its longest running production was the musical Cats which called the Winter Garden Theatre home for nearly 18 years. It was also the venue responsible for launching the career of Al Jolson who went on to become America’s most famous and highest paid entertainer in the 1930s.

2 - The Majestic Theatre was built in the 1920s. It’s the largest theater on Broadway in New York City. It has been the home to Phantom of the Opera since its NYC opening in the 1980s. It was purchased by the Shubert brothers during the Great Depression and is an official New York City landmark.

3 - Broadway theater detail: Many of the Broadway theaters in New York City were built in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. This is an architectural detail from one of the many theaters in midtown Manhattan.

4 - The Imperial Theatre opened on New York City’s Broadway in the 1920s. It was constructed to specifically foster musical performances on Broadway.

Among the famed 20th-century composers whose works found a home here are: Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Irving Berlin, Harold Rome, Frank Loesser, Lionel Bart, Bob Merrill, Stephen Sondheim, Jule Styne, E.Y. Harburg, Harold Arlen, and George and Ira Gershwin.

5 - New York City’s Broadway which is home to the theater district is teeming with gorgeous theater architecture. Many Broadway theaters were constructed in the early 20th century and have intricate architectural details. These theater windows have ornate frames and are the portals into a Broadway costume dressing room.

6 - The Booth Theatre opened in New York City on Broadway in 1913. With a Venetian-style facade, this theater stands out on the midtown street where it resides.

7 - Colorful brownstones against a stormy sky in the midtown Manhattan neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen.

8 - A busy afternoon looking down a street in Hell’s Kitchen.

9 - The USS Intrepid was a World War II aircraft carrier. It is home to the first space shuttle: the Space Shuttle Enterprise. It is also home to a submarine and a variety of fighter planes. It is a maritime museum that sits on the westside waterfront of Manhattan bordering the midtown Manhattan neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen.

10 - Twinkling lights and brownstones in Hell’s Kitchen.

*** All photos taken with my Sony A99

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View these photos (and many more) from this unique neighborhood of Manhattan larger and in a set here (click on each photo in the set to enlarge):

New York City: Broadway and Hell’s Kitchen

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Interested in viewing these directly in my online portfolio? Here they are:

New York City’s Theater District

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View: My portfolio, My Gear List, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

New York Night - Times Square and the Winter Garden Theatre

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This is an 8 second long exposure of the Winter Garden Theatre located on Broadway looking towards the lights of Times Square. The Winter Garden Theatre’s building was built in the late 1800s but it came to life as a theatre in 1911.

I have always wanted to capture this view in a photo. My earliest memories of it are from when I was 8 or 9 years old. My father worked nights as a pressman for the Daily News which was located in this general area. I accompanied him a few times to the Daily News and he would take me for a walk along Broadway where my eyes lit up wide with wonder at the sight of each and every theatre’s lights and marquees. 

The Winter Garden Theatre at the time was home to the musical Cats and I would secretly hope that I could go see Cats every time we passed this theatre. I had the musical soundtrack at home and I played it repeatedly and even taught myself several of the songs on piano. I never made it to Cats since Broadway theatre outings were out of the reach of my parent’s humble budget. 

My first Broadway show was Starlight Express which I attended on a public school trip (there were some perks to going to public school in NYC). My 10 year old self was totally enthralled with Starlight Express. What was there not to love about it? All of the performers were on roller-skates and the story revolved around a child’s train set that came to life. But I still remember unfairly comparing Starlight Express to Cats in my mind telling myself that somehow Cats would have been even more enthralling given my level of obsession with it at the time. 

I took this photo late at night with the Sony A99. My eyes still lit up wide with wonder while I waited for my long exposure to finish processing. Some things never change. 


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View “Winter Garden Theatre and Times Square - Night - New York City”  in my portfolio, On G+ email me, or ask for help.

New York Night - Times Square and the Winter Garden Theatre

—-

This is an 8 second long exposure of the Winter Garden Theatre located on Broadway looking towards the lights of Times Square. The Winter Garden Theatre’s building was built in the late 1800s but it came to life as a theatre in 1911.

I have always wanted to capture this view in a photo. My earliest memories of it are from when I was 8 or 9 years old. My father worked nights as a pressman for the Daily News which was located in this general area. I accompanied him a few times to the Daily News and he would take me for a walk along Broadway where my eyes lit up wide with wonder at the sight of each and every theatre’s lights and marquees.

The Winter Garden Theatre at the time was home to the musical Cats and I would secretly hope that I could go see Cats every time we passed this theatre. I had the musical soundtrack at home and I played it repeatedly and even taught myself several of the songs on piano. I never made it to Cats since Broadway theatre outings were out of the reach of my parent’s humble budget.

My first Broadway show was Starlight Express which I attended on a public school trip (there were some perks to going to public school in NYC). My 10 year old self was totally enthralled with Starlight Express. What was there not to love about it? All of the performers were on roller-skates and the story revolved around a child’s train set that came to life. But I still remember unfairly comparing Starlight Express to Cats in my mind telling myself that somehow Cats would have been even more enthralling given my level of obsession with it at the time.

I took this photo late at night with the Sony A99. My eyes still lit up wide with wonder while I waited for my long exposure to finish processing. Some things never change.

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View “Winter Garden Theatre and Times Square - Night - New York City” in my portfolio, On G+ email me, or ask for help.

Times Square. New York City.

Times Square is its own universe. 

It’s New York City filtered through cinematic dreams and commercially-tinged aspirations wrapped up in flashing lights and colorful billboards. There is a familiarity to it that is tinged with a wild-eyed estranged quality that makes it all the more alluring. 

And when a yellow New York City taxi cab drives by at the speed of light under all the flashing lights, it’s hard not to smile.

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Taken with a Sony a99 using the Miniature setting creative style. The Sony a99 has around twenty different creative styles and while I usually shoot in RAW format and do my editing after the fact, I have to say that the Miniature setting was just way too fun to play with especially in Times Square! The results are similar to a Tilt Shift Lens (or I suppose a Lens Baby as well) and you can adjust where you want the focus and blur to end up. 

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View this photo larger and on black on my Google Plus page
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Buy “Times Square - New York City” Posters and Prints here, email me, or ask for help.

Times Square. New York City.

Times Square is its own universe.

It’s New York City filtered through cinematic dreams and commercially-tinged aspirations wrapped up in flashing lights and colorful billboards. There is a familiarity to it that is tinged with a wild-eyed estranged quality that makes it all the more alluring.

And when a yellow New York City taxi cab drives by at the speed of light under all the flashing lights, it’s hard not to smile.

—-

Taken with a Sony a99 using the Miniature setting creative style. The Sony a99 has around twenty different creative styles and while I usually shoot in RAW format and do my editing after the fact, I have to say that the Miniature setting was just way too fun to play with especially in Times Square! The results are similar to a Tilt Shift Lens (or I suppose a Lens Baby as well) and you can adjust where you want the focus and blur to end up.

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View this photo larger and on black on my Google Plus page

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Buy “Times Square - New York City” Posters and Prints here, email me, or ask for help.