To the West of 8th Avenue lies Hell’s Kitchen. Its proximity to Broadway and its abundance of affordable housing make this area very popular among aspiring actors, students and young people in general. For a long time zoning laws protected the low-rise character of the buildings here and prevented development in the area. The laws changed in the 1970s, allowing the building of a number of modern condo high-rises, which are now intermixed with pre-war brick walk-ups and refurbished industrials lofts.
The area has a strong mix of ethnic and small local restaurants - including Ethiopian, Afghan, Peruvian - centered around Ninth Avenue, on which the Ninth Avenue Association's International Food Festival has been performing since 1974.