Lower East Side
I love Lower East Side (LES), stretching from Houston Street all the way to Chinatown. It is rare that the place figures on the “to do lists” of NYC tourists, even though it should. It’s raggedy and not very clean, but for me, it really has the “old New York” spirit. This district is changing, too, and you cannot tell how it will look in a couple years from now (as everyone here, I fear it will become heavily commercialized). Which is precisely why you should stop by as soon as possible.
By “my Lower East Side” I mean the following streets: Clinton, Rivington, Orchard, and Ludlow. What you will find here is plenty of bars, clubs, cafes, as well as the main attraction: strange and fascinating people, mainly musicians (there’s a famous recording studio on Stanton, hence the crowd of guys carrying guitars here). These parts are often inhabited by artists, with writers as a dominant group (I’m here often and I always meet someone who writes), followed closely by artists of many varieties and by plain weirdoes. The whole district still has an artistic vibe and good energy for creating stuff. Many of you would probably call the place filthy, but I feel in my element when I’m here (I’d rather not analyze what does that say about me…). Those who have lived here for many years say that nowadays the place is “boring”; that the real craziness (and danger) belongs to the past. For me, the rock and roll wildness is still here. In my next post, I will write about the flavors of LES and of the food you should try when you come here.