in the Public Realm
Past Events

Hell's Kitchen: The Political History of the New York Irish

Presented in cooperation with openhousenewyork and cultureNOW

Date: March 12, 2011

Time: 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Hells Kitchen

Tour Leader: James Kaplan, Attorney & Historian

Tour Assistant: Olivia Kaplan

Hell's Kitchen, a working class Irish neighborhood west of the theater district was once one of the toughest areas in the City where the Irish street gangs, bootleggers, gamblers and mobsters held sway. Nevertheless, many do not realize that the political leadership of the area has remained the same for the last 100 years.

Irish Hisory Tour 2011

This unique tour discusses the political history of the area, including its evolution from the days when the gentleman mobster Owney Madden to the 1950's turf wars between Irish and Puerto Rican gangs, to the ultimately successful fight in the 1970's to save the area from the proliferation of pimps, prostitutes and pornographic purveyors.

Pictured: The tour in front of Rockefeller Center

Irish History Tour Guide Olivia Kaplan

The tour will also discuss the close and symbiotic relationship of the Hell's Kitchen community with the theater district, and how Off Broadway theater companies and playwrights such as Wendy Wasserstein helped revitalize the Broadway theater.

Pictured: Tour Assistant Olivia Kaplan

Irish History Tour End

Pictured: The tour ended in front of the McManus Funeral Home, which is still run by Jimmy McManus

Irish History Tour Fuide James Kaplan

Pictured: Tour guide James Kaplan closes his tour with anecdotes from his long history with Hell's Kitchen political leader Jimmy McManus