Living on the Lower East Side
You may connect the Lower East Side of Manhattan with immigrants and tenements, but another new crowd has come along. Over the past decade, the area has gentrified. A flood of new apartment buildings brought hipsters and professionals. They, in turn, drew hip businesses. The Lower East Side's borders are roughly East Houston to the north, Allen and Pike streets to the west, and the East River to the east and south. People don't agree exactly where the Lower East Side starts and stops, though. Over the years, the neighborhood has shrunk considerably. The East Village used to be considered part of the Lower East Side, in fact. Parts are still called Loisaida, which is a Latino pronunciation of "Lower East Side."
The neighborhood was traditionally immigrant and working class. Waves of newcomers included Germans, Irish, Italians, Puerto Ricans, and Jews. The Jewish community particularly continues to connect with the area. Their culture survives via shops on Hester and Essex streets, with an Orthodox community, and through synagogues. In the 1960s, the area above Houston Street filled with counter-culture types and became the East Village. Chinatown broke off to the west. Now, in the 21st century, the Lower East Side is smaller, safer, and definitely trendier.
Lower East Side Lifestyle and Entertainment
While the latest wave of immigrants is upscale, you can still find old school New York on the Lower East Side. For food, don't miss Katz's Deli, where you can get a sandwich almost too big to fit in your mouth. Of the new arrivals, Clinton St. Baking Company & Restaurant makes divine pancakes. WD~50 is also a great place to amaze your taste buds. Bars abound now that the streets are safer. Orchard, Ludlow and Essex are popular. You can hear live music at Arlene's Grocery or the Mercury Lounge, or ride the mechanical bull at Mason Dixon if you dare.
Shopping on the Lower East Side ranges from everyday items to contemporary art galleries and upscale boutiques. The Essex Street Market carries everything from gourmet cheese to fresh fish. Daha Vintage is perfect for finding a second-hand purse. The Lower East Side is spotted with green space, such as Seward Park and Hamilton Fish Park.
Lower East Side Info and the Rental Market
Living on the Lower East Side either means old tenement walk-ups, low-rise elevator buildings, or the luxury condos that have been recently constructed. Prices here can be reasonable, though, and that attracts young professionals, couples, and students. The streets stay lively most nights, so expect a fun but loud atmosphere. One-bedrooms rent for an average of $2,500 and two-bedrooms for $3,600, but luxury places skew that average high.
Transportation on the Lower East Side is the source of some complaint. The B, D, F, V, J, M, and Z lines all run here (depending on where you draw the neighborhood border), but your station may be a walk away. The Williamsburg Bridge touches down in the Lower East Side and that may affect traffic and your commute.
Lower East Side Resources
The Tenement Museum, at 97 Orchard Street, is one of New York's more fascinating historical attractions. The building, built in 1873, housed nearly 7,000 immigrant families in its day and you can get a peek at what their lives were like. There's a public library at Hamilton Fish Park and a post office on Clinton Street. The Lower East Side is in Manhattan Community District No 3.
Lower East Side Zip Codes
The Lower East Side is in the 10002 zip code.