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Hell Gate Presents: March Madness of NYC Hot Takes

We don't 100 percent stand by all of these—but we will defend them if we have to.

(Illustration by Hell Gate, Mohamed Nohassi / Unsplash)

Is your bracket already busted? Are you already upset with how your 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. Great pizza…at Domino's? (The #1 seed in the Brooklyn bracket.) Bill de Blasio, the best mayor we've ever had? (Check out the top spot in the Bronx.) The Vessel is…cool? (See #2 in the Manhattan bracket.) Should we blow up a bridge over the Long Island Sound? (Of course, and it's #12 in the Queens 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 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…


  • The best pizza in NYC can be found at Domino's (1) vs. No one should live remotely close to Newtown Creek or the Gowanus Canal (16)
  • Free concerts are a trap (8) vs. Coney Island is a better beach than the Rockaways (9)
  • There are too many bars in NYC (5) vs. Jazz in bars should be banned (12)
  • Public urination should not be against the law (4) vs. Chinese food ranking: Sunset Park > College Point > Flushing > Chinatown (13)
  • We should bring back speed dating (6) vs. The City MUST subsidize beer at BRIC events (should cost no more than $5) (11)
  • You should be able to park for free at metered spots on Saturdays too, not just Sundays (3) vs. To find the best Italian food, look for an elderly man whose political views are not for public consumption (14)
  • Prospect Park > Central Park (7) vs. Prospect Park is boring and I don't want to go to your birthday picnic there (10)
  • Rats are fine (2) vs. If well drinks cost more than $10 at a bar, vandalism should be legal there (15)


  • The Astor Place Cube sucks (1) vs. East River Park was falling apart and it's fine to rebuild it (16)
  • The Oculus is actually pretty cool (8) vs. Cars should be banned below 96th Street (9)
  • The NYU student who hated studying abroad in Florence is right—studying abroad sucks (5) vs. The Empire State Building is ugly and the Chrysler Building should be more famous instead (12)
  • All Broadway musicals are terrible (4) vs. Gramercy Park should be municipalized (13)
  • The Elizabeth Street Garden should absolutely become housing (6) vs. It's fine to wear open-toed shoes out and about. Grow up! (11)
  • The new white Citi Bike e-bikes are too heavy and bumpy and bad (3) vs. Tammany Hall was good (14)
  • Everyone should shop at Whole Foods—it's cheaper! (7) vs. We must drain and pave over the East River (10)
  • The Vessel is actually cool/good/beautiful (2) vs. Food halls are overrated (15)


  • George Santos rules (1) vs. Kiss > Ramones > Simon and Garfunkel (16)
  • Clubs and dive bars should have a separate bathroom for people who want to do drugs (8) vs. Breezy Point should be seized through eminent domain and turned into a public beach (9)
  • People who say there's good bbq in NYC are lying to themselves (5) vs. Either the Whitestone Bridge or the Throggs-Neck must be torn down—we can’t have both (12)
  • Street cleaning should always just be once a week (4) vs. There are too many firehouses (13)
  • The NYC public school year should end in May, not the end of June (6) vs. The subway should have a smoking car (11)
  • The Mets are not uniquely cursed (3) vs. Douglaston is on Long Island, not in Queens (14)
  • The Queens/Nassau County border doesn't exist (7) vs. People that throw bread for pigeons are assholes (10)
  • Actually, the street numbers make sense, you just want an excuse not to go to Queens (2) vs. Sunnyside Spider-Man > Forest Hills Spider-Man (15)

The Bronx

  • Bill de Blasio is the best mayor NYC has ever had (1) vs. Riverdale is not in the Bronx (16)
  • The New York City Council should be dissolved (8) vs. The ferries are the best way to get around the city (9)
  • The Yankees should allow facial hair, but only full handlebar mustaches and failing that their players must be completely hairless (5) vs. City outdoor pools should be open year-round (12)
  • The City's health rules for restaurants are too strict (and racist………..) (4) vs. We should have corporal punishment for a select few absentee landlords, just to keep them all in line (13)
  • Showtime subway dancers deserve more love and respect (6) vs. Staten Island should be given independence (come what may) (11)
  • We need to give firefighters more things to do (3) vs. Park conservancies should be abolished (14)
  • Just make Marble Hill part of the Bronx, this is stupid (7) vs. New York City should not have any zoos (10)
  • Bagels have become too big (2) vs. All cars entering the city must have internal horns that are louder than the external horn (15)
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