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Hell Gate Presents: March Madness of NYC Hot Takes 2024

After much deliberation, we will defend these to the death (even if we don't 100 percent believe in them).

(Illustration by Hell Gate, Mohamed Nohassi / Unsplash)

Is your bracket already busted? Are you already upset with how your rain-soaked March has gone? 

Well, great news, because Hell Gate is proud to present our ANNUAL MARCH MADNESS OF NYC HOT TAKES. Like a ghost pepper bred for military applications, these takes are prized not for their correctness but for their sheer heat. But also, when you look within, aren't they kind of right?

Not all takes are created equal, and some are ranked higher than others for how insanely hot they are. Too many drummers in public park jam sessions? (The #1 seed in the Brooklyn bracket.) Pizza should cost at least $2 a slice? (Check out the top spot in the Triboro bracket.) Live music at a restaurant is a minus, not a plus? (See #15 in the Queensboro bracket.) If you have a shitty bike lock, does your bike deserve to get stolen? (Of course, and it's #6 in the Williamsburg bracket.) These are diabolical, but in each is found an unbreakable kernel of truth, the guiding element of a truly blistering take. 

Hell Gate invites you to set these takes against one another. Bring them to your friends and castigate them over their failure to agree with you, or their insistence that one of these takes is, in fact, right and true. 

Next week, based on your feedback on social media and carrier pigeon and especially in the comments below, Hell Gate will reveal the "Elite Eight" hot NYC takes, along with a defense of each. Truly, the madness has only just begun…

Triboro

  • Pizza should be AT LEAST $2 per slice (1) vs. No one who left New York City during the pandemic is permitted to have any opinion at all about migrants (16)
  • Eric Adams has one of the most winning smiles to ever grace a human face (8) vs. The Evil Brooklyn Tower is cool (9)
  • If you live within a 15-minute walk of a restaurant, you should not be allowed to order delivery from it (5) vs. You should only be able to order delivery from restaurants within a 15-minute walk from you (12)
  • The CEOs of Uber and Grubhub should be fired, and replaced with the drivers and cyclists who have logged the most miles (4) vs. People who place food orders by saying "I'm gonna do…" should be sentenced to decades of hard labor to learn what does and does not constitute meaningful action (13)
  • Playing music loud enough for people outside of a 10-foot radius to hear on a public beach is antisocial (6) vs. This summer's G train closure won't actually be a big deal (11)
  • Subway surfing is deadly and you shouldn't do it, but it does look cool 😔 (3) vs. The most overrated neighborhood in Brooklyn isn't Williamsburg—it's Clinton Hill (14)
  • Andrew Cuomo should be mayor, it's a proper punishment for his misdeeds (7) vs. Bill de Blasio is a catch (10)
  • Nine times out of ten, waiting on line is worth it (2) vs. If you don't eat the pizza crusts, pack your shit up and move to Westchester (15)

Queensboro

  • Those cargo pants NYPD officers wear are cool (1) vs. The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway should be allowed to fall down as a warning to the rest of America about decision fatigue (16)
  • Potholes are God's speed bumps, and they are important (8) vs. People who don't spay or neuter their New York City dogs are jerks (9)
  • If someone on the street asks you for a dollar, and you pull out your wallet and all you have is a $20, you must give them the $20 (5) vs. If you see someone selling candy on the subway, buy some candy (12)
  • Salmon chopped cheese > traditional chopped cheese (4) vs. "Chopped cheese" being the New York City sandwich of choice is not a real thing, was never a real thing, and was basically a 2010s-era psyop to convince people this was somehow always a thing during a freakout over who is a "real New Yorker" (13)
  • Plastic bottles should be illegal (6) vs. Real New Yorkers get carsick riding in the passenger seat of a cab (11)
  • Every steamed milk coffee beverage should come with a $1 "line delay tax" that goes to fund public restrooms (3) vs. Stop mythologizing bodegas—"your" "bodega guy" does not care about you (14)
  • The Carbone private dining club looks fun and I would appreciate an invitation (7) vs. If you live in an apartment with a dog and it barks for hours every time you leave it alone, your neighbors are not in the wrong for complaining to your landlord (10)
  • Nepo babies are a critical New York City nightlife resource and should be protected at all costs. (Free drugs!) (2) vs. Live music at a restaurant is a minus, not a plus (15)

Williamsburg

  • The see-through baseball pants are great (1) vs. All New York City nightclub doors should be as hard as Basement's (16)
  • All the museums in New York City should be seized, municipalized and made free for everybody (except tourists, who have to pay $100) (8) vs. If you live in New York City and your job is "TikTok man on the street interviewer" you should be taxed at 80 percent of your gross income (9)
  • The New York City skyline is ugly (5) vs. New Yorkers were stealing New Jersey valor when "The Sopranos" got really popular again. Want to identify with a tortured philandering antihero, artistic Brooklyn man? Pull that dry cleaning plastic off your suit, because you're stuck with Draper (12)
  • There should be a thing where on every subway car, one person is algorithmically selected to be able to share their phone screen onto all the video screens in the car (4) vs. If you actually want me to compost, I'm gonna need a City-sponsored coupon booklet or a tax write-off or some other incentive. Until then, my food waste is going in the trash! (13)
  • If you have a shitty lock for your bike, your bike deserves to get stolen (6) vs. Anyone should be able to get a congestion pricing exemption on the condition that they wear a bonnet and suck on a pacifier at all times while driving and have a bumper sticker on their car that says "WAAAH WAAAAH I'M A BIG BABY" (11)
  • There should be a mechanism for people to revoke the renaming of bridges and tunnels by popular plebiscite (3) vs. Rats are fine, they're a valuable source of protein and we should take advantage of that (14)
  • Flaco was just an OK looking bird (7) vs. There should be an application and permit process for people and their dogs to gain entrance to dog parks (10)
  • Those nut vendors should be banned for false advertising (they're not that good) (2) vs. Clipping your nails on the subway is fine but EATING on the subway is not (15)

Brooklyn

  • Drummers are overrepresented in public park jam sessions and we should have a space for, like, huge deafening xylophone circles (1) vs. Crypto is a once-in-a-generation wealth driver (16)
  • Apartment crocodiles are like basement apartments in the sense that they're happening already so the sensible thing is to legalize them (8) vs. Fort Lee, NJ, is actually cooler than New York City (9)
  • Bay Ridge is unequivocally the best neighborhood in New York City (5) vs. The erosion of trust in municipal government is good because it encourages people to be more self-reliant (12)
  • The Nets would be better/more beloved if they played on Long Island, as they should (4) vs. New York City's ferries should be like duck boats and make amphibious landings and connect to subways (13)
  • If you rent an apartment for 10 years and the landlord hasn't made one single improvement, they have to offer you the apartment for sale at market price, minus the rent paid (6) vs. There should be blanket amnesty and a path to licensing for all currently open weed bodegas until the state opens up its 200th legal weed store (11)
  • Flaco should have lived out the rest of his life in a cage the size of a minivan (3) vs. All the animals in the Central Park Zoo should be freed and allowed to roam the streets of New York City, like Flaco (14)
  • The MTA should play piped-in Muzak in subway stations (7) vs. Weed is too strong and New York state should pass a law to make it weaker (10)
  • Scarr's is bad now (2) vs. It's fine that JFK is a shitty airport, and it should remain a shitty airport (15)
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