Hell’s Kitchen Commons Concentrates on Community

Ashley, president of the West 44th “Better” Block Association, shared community news. | Photo by Rania Richardson

BY RANIA RICHARDSON | On Mon., Jan. 29, an enthusiastic group of neighbors congregated at the Landmark Tavern (626 11th Ave., at W. 46th St.) for the 11th Annual Winter Gathering and Celebration of Hell’s Kitchen Commons, hosted by the West 45th/ 46th Street Block Association and the Mathews-Palmer Park Association. “Community, Collaboration, Enhancing our Parks and Public Spaces” is the slogan for Hell’s Kitchen Commons, an affinity of local groups with shared goals, including block, park, and other neighborhood organizations. About 50 members and other residents from the West Side attended the festivities and enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and lively conversation, with beverages and complimentary appetizers on hand. The evening coincided with the Landmark’s weekly live traditional Irish music, which added to the celebratory event.

New and long-term residents discussed the latest goings-on in the neighborhood.  There was excitement about the New Irish Arts Center (West 51st St. & 11th Ave.), which will adjoin the existing historic location in a merging of old and new architecture. Groundbreaking could come as early as this spring.

Residents from Manhattan Plaza included performers Michele Berliner and Virginia Seidel, longtime renters dedicated to the Hell’s Kitchen area because it nurtures Broadway theater talent. | Photo by Rania Richardson

For several years Hell’s Kitchen Commons has focused on the restoration of Arnold Belkin’s 1972 populist mural, “Against Domestic Colonialism” overlooking Mathews-Palmer Playground (W. 45th St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.). There is currently a delay in the project as parties assess funding to repair and resurface the wall so muralist Denise Penizzotto can begin painting. The target is for completion in time for the spring reopening of the playground, now under construction by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 

Visit crowdrise.com/mathewspalmerplaygro1/fundraiser/allisontupper to help raise funds for the mural project. Also visit  mathews-palmer-playground-mural-arts-program.com.

The Landmark Tavern provided a warm and comfortable space for socializing. In 1868, before the existence of 12th Ave., the new pub opened on the shores of the Hudson River. | Photo by Rania Richardson

Chana Widawski and Stephen Fanto of the West 45th/46th Street Block Association organized the Jan. 29 celebration. According to Widawski, the message on the Arnold Belkin mural, “We the people demand control of our communities,” symbolizes the spirit and commitment of Hell’s Kitchen Commons. | Photo by Rania Richardson

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