The Hell's Kitchen community held a candlelight vigil for beloved Hartley House on Saturday, March 3, 2018. After 120 years of service, the institution abruptly closed its doors at 409-413 West 46th Street. Its three buildings sold for a paltry sum to Thornton Equities LLC.
The situation is heartbreaking. And it is baffling.
In mourning, HKers of multiple generations met in front of Hartley House to share their personal experiences and to reflect on its place and meaning in our community. Each articulated in their own way that the House was a 'Home': a safe haven from the streets, where we were cared for, where we socialized, played, and were educated.
The vigil was also a call to action - To fight for the return of Hartley House. To defend against the forces dismantling our neighborhood. To demand representation for ourselves and our community. While there is still community left.
Because places matter. Hartley House may have been constructed with materials like brick and mortar, but it was built with love and investment over time. Hell's Kitchen needs Hartley House - a place we, our children, and our grandchildren can call Home.