Lower East Side (LES) is a neighborhood in the southeastern part of Manhattan, roughly located between the Bowery and East River, and between Canal Street and Houston Street, and is bordered in the south by Chinatown. As one of the oldest neighborhoods in New York City, LES was originally an immigrant and working class neighborhood. The gentrification in the mid-2000s, and its lower rent prompted a lot of art galleries from Chelsea to move into this area and LES is now a center of contemporary art.
Street view of LES
A large number of long-term residents portray an amiable and cooperative community in LES. Since the immigration of Eastern Europeans in the late 19th to early 20th century, LES was a center of Jewish community. Today numerous bars, clubs, and vintage stores create a lively atmosphere in the neighborhood which quickly became popular among young artists and students. Many Jewish-owned stores still operate on Essex Street, including Essex Market which is now newly reopened in the building across the street at 88 Essex St.
Former Essex Street Market
Through immigration and recent gentrification, the culture of LES is a mix of old and new. New stylish bars and clubs are opening within pre-war buildings along Orchard Street and Essex Street, where a lot of young people flock on the weekends.
In recent years, there are also many contemporary art galleries and stylish restaurants opened in the pre-war buildings, drawing art-world crowds into the neighborhood.
Sign of "Avenue of the Immigrants"
Since the New Museum relocated to Bowery LES in 2007, a growing number of galleries has opened in the vicinity. LES is now the home to numerous contemporary art galleries.
Salon 94 is a popular gallery dedicated to contemporary art, showing cutting edge artist exhibitions.
Due to its immigration history, LES has numerous international cuisine restaurants such as German, Puerto Rican, Asian, and Jewish restaurants. It is also a popular nightlife district with many bars and clubs and live music venues. Arlene’s Grocery, which was a former Puerto Rican grocery store, is a bar and music venue hosting varieties of music events. Pianos is also a popular live music bar always packed with hip New Yorkers. Pizza Beach is a wood-fired pizza restaurant in a California beach-inspired setting.
There are many NYC Subway options and bus routes available in LES, including Grand St. (B and D), Bowery (J, M, and Z), Second Ave. (F), Delancey St. – Essex St. (F, J, M, and Z), and East Broadway (F). Bus routes include M9, M14A, M14D, M15, M15 SBS, M21, M22, M103, B39.
Subway: F to East Broadway | F,J,M,Z to Essex-Delancey | B,D to Grand St. | J,Z to Bowery | F to Second Ave.
= Japanese Store