As fellow Bleeding Cool reporter, Joe Glass, and Bleeding Cool Operations Manager, Dan Celko, can attest, our mutual accommodations during NYCC last year were less than stellar. So when I was making arrangements for housing during this year’s event I figured that booking a room in Hell’s Kitchen could only be a step up.
Hell’s Kitchen. Of Marvel’s Daredevil fame. And by the numbers, roughly the rectangular patch of mid-town Manhattan West, bordering The Theater District, and running from 34th Street to 59th Street, west of 8th Avenue.
For generations it housed the transport, medical, and warehouse structure of the city and due to historic zoning restrictions, no buildings were allowed to be built over 6 stories tall. It’s the most recent and more than likely final neighborhood on the island of the city below Central Park to gentrify and polish itself up in both visceral and financial appeal.
My sense of spending a good bit of time there this past week was that it felt like a true microcosm of The Melting Pot (myth or reality) this city has always professed and presented itself to be. And as well, it’s a fine fit as a living-breathing, bricks and mortar film set, and not only for the points mentioned above.
It has its share of drama as well, which always makes for great storytelling, with the highs and lows of the human condition all running smack up against and alongside each other. I mean, a neighbor doesn’t get a moniker like that for doubling as Disneyland!
Walking to a restaurant on Saturday night I had a sensory experience that even made me feel I little like Daredevil, that afore-mentioned blind crime fighter who depends on his other more enhanced senses to fight crime and defend the innocent of this neighborhood.
Over the distance of about 20 feet, as I was heading east on 52th toward 9th Avenue,
A young and prim, private school-dressed girl passed me as she exited her apartment smelling of a sweet but simple perfume of a scent that described her as I just did here.
And within 4 paces of that passing we both had to manage a little evasive hop over an unfortunate soul who’d made the pavement corner his mattress for the night and reeked of the odors you’d associate with a person in the regrettable situation. And then not 10 steps after that, passing the corner bodega, the wafting scent of fresh cut lilies freshened the atmosphere once again.
It was an experience I’ll probably always remember.
But I’m sure it happens to Matt Murdock nearly every day.
Chuck Brouillette is an artist and writer living in Saratoga Springs, NY. You can see how he does both @twitter.com/chuckbrouilette
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