HELL’S KITCHEN — The new Netflix series "Daredevil" stars a blind superhero battling baddies in a crime-ridden Hell’s Kitchen — though fans say the neighborhood looks a whole lot more hellish on camera.
“The neighborhood’s not as gritty today,” said Andrew Cohen, 26, an employee at Midtown Comics, but he added, “I also try to avoid back alleys.”
"Daredevil" — which first appeared in comics in 1964, according to Marvel’s website — depicts a version of the real Hell’s Kitchen that was fictionalized, but not by that much, according to Michael Cianflore, 62, who lived on 48th Street and 10th Avenue at that time.
“Back then in the 1960s, it was just low-rent apartments, studios would go for $100 a month,” said Cianflore, who was sipping white wine poured into plastic cups by shop owner Minas Dmitri at Thrift & New Shop on Ninth Avenue Monday afternoon.
“You’d go out to Eighth Avenue, all the hookers walking the streets,” said Cianflore, who recalls spending full days at the movie theaters on West 42nd Street. "You had ten movie theaters, five on each side, and people were drinking, smoking pot. You could spend four hours in there."
Ralphie Irizarry, 53, and born and raised in Hell’s Kitchen, misses the way it was “when 42nd Street was 42nd Street, not Disney World,” he said.
“If you didn’t grow up here, you probably wouldn’t have liked it,” he said from behind the bar at Mickey Spillane's. “Very family-oriented, it was a melting pot. You had Irish, Puerto Rican, couple of blacks, lotta Yugoslavian, Italian.”
On social media, locals mocked the idea of a gritty Hell's Kitchen filmed partially in WIlliamsburg.
What crime in Hell's Kitchen is #Daredevil fighting in 2015? Restaurants with "Grade Pending" ratings? Bad improv comedy troupes?"— James Landrum (@JMZldrm) April 13, 2015
I've seen 3 eps of Daredevil so far. One question - when they say "taking over Hell's Kitchen," do they mean gay bars and Thai restaurants?— Drew Darnbrough (@socialdrew) April 13, 2015
DAREDEVIL commits the paramount sin of NYC TV: it shoots a Hell's Kitchen scene in Williamsburg.— Brendan Byrne (@BrendanCByrne) April 13, 2015
In order to turn high-rise Hell’s Kitchen into the gritty neighborhood that Marvel hero Daredevil is determined to save, show creators wove a city-destroying attack into the plot.
“I think it was clever that they used the attack from 'The Avengers' to bring down the value of Hell’s Kitchen,” said Jay Schmidt, 32, a manager at Midtown Comics. “It’s a nice way to bring it back to the way it should be in the comics.”