Lower East Side is a multi-cultural neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. It has boundaries from Canal Street to Houston Street and East River to Bowery Street. Once East Village was a part of this region but it began to develop its own identity due to the influx of many artists and was separated. Chinatown and NoLIta are two other places bordering Lower East Side along with East Village.
Mostly tenements and pre-war buildings are present here though the construction of hotels and condominium towers is also at peak, which clash strongly with the old buildings in the neighborhood. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named it as one of the endangered places in America in 2008 as a call to people to stop the reconstruction of the area and preserve the originality of the place due to its historic significance. The official height of the buildings has now been lowered as an effort to adjust these buildings with the streetscape of Lower East Side. The recent average listing price for homes here is about $826,000 which is cheaper than most places adjacent to it. If you want to rent an apartment, the price range goes from about $2000 to $6000. The rent increases with the increasing number of rooms and the additional facilities in the apartment. The drawback of having a house or renting an apartment here is the bustle of the streets which makes it a noisy place to live in.
The Lower East Side was famous for its fusion of many different immigrant cultures especially Jewish community of Germans. This sight was once known as ‘Little Germany’ due to the large number of Germans dwelling here. It was also the centre of Jewish culture. Many Jewish landmarks and synagogues are still present in the area. However, it has undergone a lot of change due to the influx of the business men and bankers who have started the gentrification of the area, turning it into a trendy neighborhood from a working-class neighborhood of New York City. It is still reasonably diverse and you can see immigrants such as those from Spain and China, most of whom are working-class people. Many of them have set up their shops here. This region is also a hub of emerging artists and bands.
One of the catchiest things about the Lower East Side is the energetic and lively nightlife of the region. There are plenty of good quality restaurants, tea shops and bars. One singer, Moby, has also opened up his tea shop here by the name of Teany. There are a number of popular bars with a really good and fresh taste in music such as The Bowery Ballroom, Arlene’s Grocery and Pianos. Moreover, you will get all sorts of sorts of food items here from French bistro, tacos, empanadas, Chinese buns and dumplings to Jewish corn beef sandwiches from one of their delis. The Katz’s Deli and Doughnut Plant are also popular food places. The best thing about the food is that it is delicious as well as cheap.
There are plenty of upscale boutiques and jewelry shops here. There is a variety of shops, each representing a culture similar or different from the pure American one. The prices are reasonable. Bookstores are also present, if that is what you are interested in.
Sara Delano Roosevelt Park and Seward Parks are the only parks present in Lower East Side. Sara D. Roosevelt Park covers an extensive area and comprises of Astroturf carpeted soccer field, handball and basketball courts and gardens. The park is well-maintained and has a friendly environment. Seward Park is mostly occupied by the Chinese community of Lower East Side and is equally well-kept.
There are a total of seven trains and five train stations in near vicinity. Their names are as follows:
- Train F at East Broadway
- Trains F, J, M and Z at Essex-Delancey
- Trains B and D at Grand St.
- Trains J and M at Bowery St.
- Trains F and V at Second Ave
There are buses which can take you out of town as well. If you choose to drive yourself, the bridges leading to Brooklyn are easily accessible. The parking can be a bit tricky but you can rent a garage for that purpose.
This area is not as secure as the other areas in the sense that you would really have to look out for yourself on a few lonely streets of the Lower East Side. The busy streets are safe enough.
There are many elementary and primary schools including charter schools. The Lower East Side Preparatory High School enables students from age 17 to 21, on average, to attain their high school diplomas. It actually provides these students a second chance to complete their high school education. The education is given in Chinese and English and the school consists of a majority of Asian students.
The Lower East Side is ideal for people who like the richness of its nightlife. As it has a diverse society, there is a lot you can learn from the people here. And the most important thing is that it is an economical place to live in.