You're in NYC, everyone talks about the Waldorf, the Empire State Building, they talk about Ground Zero, Times Square and Central Park - I won't knock any of it - I love NYC...but give me Hell's Kitchen any time.
You're walking your dog in Times Square, forget about it - no grass. You have to find Madison or Central Park to relieve the poor pooch - Hell's Kitchen, you have green stuff sometimes, you have parks for dogs, you have people walking dogs everywhere, answering your questions about where you can find a little patch. But it's not just that - the people are real there. Take Fat Sal's Pizza - TO DIE FOR, and it's quite possible you could if you say the wrong thing to the wrong guy at the wrong time - mind your business! I like the area for another reason, the Skyline Hotel. Without question it's one of the best kept secrets of the city. You're not going to find the best of the best in accomidations, you're not going to find massage therapy, yoga, aromatic hallways or expensive valet - but you will get Norman as your concierege! He's adorable, smart, and quite capable of getting you tickets most of the time to any of the latest plays and/or performances around town. (He'll even get you a cab! For a smile.)
Hell's Kitchen has it all - construction, peddlers, buses and sirens, kids walking the streets on their way to school, girls screaming at each other for blocks on end about whose boy is better than whose other boy! Come on, they did call it Hell's Kitchen - it has flavor! It has spice! It has real people with real lives, and real really good restaurants, wine shops, oh, and a great Indian Deli that has a real Western Union right inside of it so you can send your Uncle Joe that money you promised him you would last week but forgot!
You can walk to Times Square from any street in HK, it's only 4 avenues away from 10th...9th, 8th, Broadway - wow, only 3. There's a lot of new construction going on, old churches to contrast, and oh, get this....bodagas everywhere..everywhere....but you have to go to each one to get the real feel because every single person inside every single store has a new and exciting story about why they live where they live, why they do what they do - you have to ask. You're in the hood! Smile, be polite, and buy something sweet - but don't forget to tip, it's still the City!
I'd take a cab to Central Park, maybe hike to the upper west for a great steak, but when it comes to lodging, living, loving, laughing, and actually SEEING New York City - stay in the kitchen, but beware of the stove.