6.5 out of 10

Lower East Side

Ranked 26th best neighborhood in Manhattan
40.7150069721938 -73.9842257210639
Great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Public Transport
  • Schools
  • Eating Out
  • Internet Access
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Clean & Green
  • Pest Free
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Lack of Traffic
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Hipsters
  • Students

Reviews

3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Lower East Side: Lots to do at affordable prices!"

The Lower East Side is generally the area of Manhattan from Canal up through 14th Street. It includes such places Little Italy and Chinatown -- two of my favorite spots especially for eating authentic cuisine. Not the most pretty parts of the city, this area is generally known for great little cafes and restaurants. There's lots to do and you're always in close proximity of places like Washington Square Park, Bowlmor (a great bowling alley for adults) or the Tenement Museum, which gives you a great indepth view of the conditions immigrants lived under when moving to New York in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

There is great shopping to be had here especially along 14th Street, and comparatively speaking this is one of the more affordable areas. Close to transportation (trains and buses), you can shoot anywhere you want in the city and always come home on the express train since 14th and Canal are main stops.

If you are a bar drinker there are great bars to visit like Good Beer on 9th Street and Drop Off Service on Avenue A. If you like performance art the Nuyorican Cafe in Alphabet City is a must to visit. It's in-your-face poetry that is loud and fun to watch.
Pros
  • Shopping
  • Tenement Museum
  • Bowlmor
  • A wonderful sense of history
  • Home to the Tenement Museum which catalogues the history of NYC's immigrants
Cons
  • Not as glamorous as other areas
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"A Little Bit of NYC History Mixed with Hipster Heaven!"

The Lower East Side is home to "Alphabet City" so named because most of the avenues have letters rather than numbers or names. Originally known for its slums and tenements the area also was a hot spot of drug activity especially along Avenues A,B,C and D east of fist Avenue. The area has changed dramatically over the past 25 years and is today a hipster hang-out with many nice restaurants and bars next to small shops that retain the original off-beat and funky nature of the neighborhood.

The area has retained its punk and artsy vibe and offers several venues for music and entertainment. Popular places include the Spitzer's Corner offering one of the city;s larges selection of beers, the Laugh Lounge, which offers comedy performances, heavy metal music at the Mercury Lounge, along with free musical shows at the Piano Bar. if you just want some good conversation head over to Local 138 on Ludlow Street which offers an eclectic mix of people and friendly vibe.

The Tenement Museum is located at 97 Orchard Street tells the life stories of those who resided at 97 Orchard Street. The building was home to nearly 7000 immigrant families since its construction in 1873. The museum offers guided tours that recreate immigrant life in the 19th and 20th centuries. The museum is a must-see for New York City History buffs.

Another area attraction is the Essex Street Market located at 120 Essex Street on the corner of Delancy. The Essex Street Market just turned 70 and offers a wide selection of foods tthat includes gourmet cheeses, prime cuts of meat fresh fish and a host of other products to satisfy every taste.

With regard to housing, rents in the area are relatively inexpensive although creeping upward as the area continues to gentrify. This is a popular area for students since it is a quick walk west to NYU and Cooper Union. While in times past it might not have been wise to venture forth at night, this is no longer the case and many young hipsters can be found hanging out into the wee hours.

The one major downside is that transportation to the area is poor with a long walk to the subway. You can take the F or V train to Delancey Street or the J,M, or Z to Essex Street and work north several blocks. Buses to the area include the M9 to Essex Street or the M14 to the Lower East Side.

Being the homebody I am this would not be my preferred area to visit (except for the museum and market), the neighborhood is a sure destination for out-and-about hipsters since it offers a unique blend of the sketchy with the upscale.
Pros
  • great bar scene
  • great music venues
  • Great restaurants
  • nice mix of old and new
  • A wonderful sense of history
  • Lots of energy
  • Home to the Tenement Museum which catalogues the history of NYC's immigrants
  • The Essex Street Market
Cons
  • far from subway
  • some poor areas
  • Loud all the time
  • Rising rents
  • dingy apartments
  • Ugly
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Not Anything To Write Home About, Just A 'Hood To Pass Through"

The Lower East Side was once one of the great immigrant neighborhoods of New York City, in fact in a few ways it still retains a few of the old country charms and some of the old school synagogues. At the same time, it is one of those typical "in-between" neighborhoods that is still developing into the yuppie residential area (similar to the Village) that it wants to be and the still-very-much-in-development neighborhood that it is. As a New Yorker, I can't remember the last time I actually stopped to do something here as I'm usually just passing through to get to another area.

If you are thinking of moving here, this might not be such a bad area to live as long as you live in one of the nicer parts. The neighborhood is great for local foods, drinks, shopping, and hangouts. The rents differ from part to part but it is one of those areas where you can still snag a pretty good deal. The area is not so easily accessible by train but is fairly close to pretty nice areas like the Village.

As a tourist, there is not a whole lot of sightseeing. There is the Tenement Museum and some glimpses of the area's history but is largely a residential and general commercial area that has good and bad parts. Good for a good bite to eat, a drink, or maybe even some music but not a whole lot else.
Pros
  • great bar scene
  • great music venues
  • Great restaurants
Cons
  • far from subway
  • some poor areas
  • Rising rents
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
2yrs+

"Lively, vibrant neighborhood that's still funky"

The Lower East Side of Manhattan has changed enormously in the last 30 years. It used to be quite seedy, and Alphabet City (Avenues A, B, C, and D, which are east of First Avenue) was well-known as the place for drug addicts. But that has mostly changed. Today, it's a hip yuppy atmosphere for the most part with fine restaurants alongside a few stores that maintain the neighborhood's original funky character and immigrant roots. There are quite a few historical synagogues in the area, too.

The Lower East Side is still a bit up and coming, and it's trendy enough that rents are not all that cheap anymore. I have become very fond of the area. In years past, I didn't feel safe walking around a lot of this neighborhood at night. That's no longer the case, so I often find myself in the area having dinner with someone. The gentrification has been a bit distressing to those who want to hold on to the neighborhood's history, and I can understand that. But I appreciate the fact that it's a safer place to be now, and it's still a youthful and vibrant neighborhood.

If you're a health nut, this is your 'hood. I suspect there are more health food stores in this area, many of which specialize in raw foods, than any other in the city. In fact, if I need raw foods beyond what the average health food store carries, this is where I go.
Pros
  • great bar scene
  • great music venues
  • Great restaurants
  • nice mix of old and new
  • A wonderful sense of history
  • Lots of energy
  • Home to the Tenement Museum which catalogues the history of NYC's immigrants
  • The Essex Street Market
Cons
  • far from subway
  • Loud all the time
  • Rising rents
  • Rapid gentrification is destroying the soul of the neighborhood
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
2yrs+

"Old Meets New New York"

The Lower East Side strikes the perfect balance between old, gritty New York and the new hipster-fueled gentrification. The hard-living, hard-drinking rock and roll vibe is still alive and well on the streets and in the bars and music venues, but you don’t have to look too far for a charming café or a vintage dress shop, either. For this reason, the LES is decidedly one of the “It” spots to hang out and/or live in New York. Streets like Ludlow and Orchard fuse punk rock and artsy attitudes to offer a little bit of something for everyone – everyone often meaning New York’s “bright young things.”

While scenesters broaden their beer horizons with a long brew menu at Spitzer’s Corner, big groups of friends catch a comedy show at Laugh Lounge. While bachelor and bachelorette parties ride the bull at Mason Dixon, hipsters throw back PBR at Welcome to the Johnson’s. While downtown fashionistas score the next big trend at Pixie Market, vintage lovers find the perfect pair of 1960’s Chanel kitten heels at Daha Vintage. While metalheads headbang at the Mercury Lounge, punks find their new favorite band while standing at a perfectly beer-soaked floor at Cake Shop. From free shows at popular bar Pianos to locals-only conversation at Local 138, the Lower East Side gives its too-cool natives special treatment – but is pretty nice to trendy visitors from other neighborhoods, too, with spots like Essex, Back Room and The Delancey. Day or night, the Lower East Side is a go-to destination for whatever you need or want to do, and the fact that is perfectly epitomizes New York’s spirit helps, too.
Pros
  • great bar scene
  • great music venues
  • Great restaurants
  • nice mix of old and new
  • A wonderful sense of history
  • Lots of energy
  • The Essex Street Market
Cons
  • far from subway
  • some poor areas
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Lower East Side - Still Under the Radar"

The Lower East Side is alive and well. Those who think it's lost its swagger may be glorifying the 80s and 90s too much. It's the same age as it was, only we are older...

The LES is still a funky, off beat, Urban oasis where edge meets expense. It's hip, trendy, and pricey...but I'd rather spend my money here than most midtown stores.

Boutiques are still in and vegan hubs like Baby Cakes--the best vegan cakes in the world. Street markets and Whole Foods make quality food shopping fun and easy. Narrow streets, old buildings, it's still rustic and charm and character.

LES offers plenty of places to drink and sample aspiring artists and opportunities to join them. Some older folks camp out in front of various stoops sipping coffee or wine (depending on the hour), spilling tidbits of wisdom and spreading local legends.

There is some low income housing, the streets are a bit confusing, and some annoying street riff raff, but that’s always been the case. Crime could be worse, but do be careful late at night, as it’s easy to make a wrong turn down the wrong alley…

Still, for those that like to life with a little edge, the LES still has enough to rub off on you.
Pros
  • great bar scene
  • Great restaurants
  • nice mix of old and new
  • A wonderful sense of history
  • The Essex Street Market
Cons
  • far from subway
  • some poor areas
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
2yrs+

"Trendy place with little of its former character"

The Lower East Side was known for decades for its tenement housing and slums. Then it was known for large Jewish and then Latino populations. Now it’s known for its hipsters. I could sigh dramatically for the Place That Was the LES, but why bother? It seems like most ethnic places in Manhattan have been scrubbed clean of their interesting bits of grit and coated with shellac.

While I wouldn’t say the results of gentrification in the Lower East Side are dramatically different than other neighborhoods, I would say that the change is remarkable. What was more recently a low-rent, kind of shady neighborhood with families and generations growing under the same roof is now a trendy place, desperately seeking cool. Kosher delis have been overtaken by organic smoothie bars. Cramped apartments have been converted into exposed brick residences for the upwardly mobile.

The neighborhood is fine, don’t get me wrong. It still has a considerable trend factor, though lacking a bit of the edge that used to make it a kind of dangerous, exciting place to go drinking in the evenings. There are all the conveniences that make living in New York great. There are clubs and bars and diners. It’s just lost a lot of the feel of what used to make the Lower East Side the Lower East side. Plus, it’s difficult to get to and from places like Alphabet City by train, which is just a pain.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
2yrs+

"The Lower East Side continues to transform..."

The Lower East Side has become more of an extension of Soho than anything else - every inch has been overtaken by something that hopes to offer trendiness, be it in the form of food, clothing, or bar-slash-music-venue. These days I hear it's still okay for hipsters to maintain their image by sneaking into the LES only on weekdays, as weekends draw in something other than a hipster crowd. (Though I am not convinced that hipsters leave Williamsburg all that often.)

Anyway, this neighborhood has seen a lot of turnover in the last five years in terms of shops and especially in terms of restaurants. The young hipsters who could barely afford to live here in 2005 have since been driven across the Williamsburg bridge, however, and it seems like the yuppies are increasingly moving in. Either that or the hipsters that staked out the place when it was still predominately a Hispanic neighborhood are just aging?
Pros
  • great bar scene
  • great music venues
  • Great restaurants
  • nice mix of old and new
  • Home to the Tenement Museum which catalogues the history of NYC's immigrants
Cons
  • Loud all the time
  • Rising rents
  • weekend B&T crowd
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Still an interesting mix, for now"

Traditionally a working class and immigrant-filled neighborhood, you won't believe what's happened to this place recently. It was famously a center of Jewish culture, and later was settled by immigrants from Latin America. One report has it that at the height of its artiest art scene in the 1980's The Lower East Side had some 200 galleries, most of them devoted to non-commercial and outsider art. There was also a time in the 1990's in which the Lower East Side was quite a destination for the hottest indie musicians in the city. Those in the know pretty much agree the Lower East Side's music and art scenes are now both lame, with the real artists and venues having all moved to Brooklyn. So, the area's most recent settlers have been ferocious yuppies. Orchard Street is now lined with chrome and glass boutiques and upscale restaurants. It is also currently a favorite night-life scene for those Manhattan yuppies who don't live in the Lower East Side but like to party there. The result in actual time is a neighborhood in which the old and the new are thrown together in odd and dizzying juxtaposition. To wit, the fabulous and famous eateries like El Castillo de Jagua (Latin, Dominican), Katz' Deli (Old World Jewish) and Teany (hipster vegan) are all within a block or two of each other. The mix is still interesting, though gentrifying and overloading with hipsters at an astonishing rate.
Pros
  • great music venues
  • nice mix of old and new
  • great bar scene
Cons
  • dingy apartments
  • far from subway
  • some poor areas
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
2yrs+

"A little overrun by punk hipster kids, but still one of the coolest places in the city"

Yeah, sure, the bars and restaurants . . ok, every square inch of this neighborhood is completely dominated by jerky hipsters. But, if you can ignore that, it's a really cool neighborhood that still has a lot of grit to it which is rare in Manhattan neighborhoods these days. It's kinda dirty and loud but in a good way. There are some definite characters in the neighborhood; sitting in one of the indie cafes and people watching in this neighborhood is always a great way to spend an afternoon.
Freemans is one of my favorite spots in the city and its on Freeman alley in the LES. It's a warm restaurant with great, hearty food and this cool old school decor with a lot of taxidermy. It's very old world, right down to the lumberjack looking bartenders. But, it's always packed with people way cooler than me.
Katz's Deli is another thing worth visiting. I, personally, prefer Carnegie's pastrami a bit over Katz's but it's a cool place and it's where they filmed the famous scene from When Harry Met Sally. Also worth checking out is Arlene's Grocery. It's this crappy, stinky dive bar where they hold Karaoke to a the most incredible live band. They know every rock song and they totally wail.
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum is my favorite museum in the city. It's such an eye - opening thing to experience how it was for people to live in the 19th century -- horrible, crowded conditions . . . sadly, not unlike some of my friends' current apartments down the street.
LES is one of the few neighborhoods that has a smattering left of the gritty NY that people know and remember. It's interesting, fun and just plain cool.
Pros
  • Great restaurants
  • Lots of energy
  • great bar scene
  • great music venues
  • nice mix of old and new
Cons
  • Punk hipsters
  • Loud all the time
  • Ugly
  • dingy apartments
  • far from subway
  • some poor areas
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
4/5
2yrs+

"A bit ruined by gentrification, but not too much"

The Lower East Side is rich in quintessential New York City history. From the touching Lower East Side Tenement Museum (and surrounding former tenement buildings) to the delis on many corner, the LES, as it is often known, speaks to New York City's immigrant, particularly Jewish immigrant, past. It's less of a Jewish enclave today, but there is a significant Jewish population (including a small section that is nearly entirely Hasidic), and names like Katz's Deli, the Bialystokr Synagogue, Gus's Pickes, and Knickerbocker Village all evoke a sense of the Lower East Side's cultural character.

Today, however, this cultural character is somewhat threatened by the neighborhood's trendiness. The still-surviving fabric sales and unassuming delis are forced to compete with hot new bars, poetry slam clubs, art galleries, and other sigils of gentrification. That said, venues like Cake Shop, Pianos, and art gallery ABC No Rio are certainly exciting, and have a charm all their own. It is a pity, however, that that charm comes at the expense of much of the neighborhood's working-class roots.
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
2yrs+

"Increasingly depressing as a nightlife spot, still has some of the best vintage in NYC"

My nostalgia for this neighborhood is often overtaken by the weekend crowd of dudes from Jersey - though I actually go out at night here less and less. My first official residency was located in this neighborhood - a tiny one bedroom apartment that I shared with two other girls, and if that tells you anything about how affordable this neighborhood was about five years ago then let me assure you it's only gotten worse.

Though the fancy hotels and boutiques keep moving in (and out), there are some great (and even affordable) vintage stores that are a must-see for the dedicated shopper. The first of those is Fox & Fawn - a tiny spot on Suffolk St that you may just miss if you aren't paying close attention. The prices here are incredibly affordable and this store is often cited as one of the best of its kind in the area. Daha Vintage is another store that I greatly enjoy, and the prices are not the lowest but they aren't incredibly insane, either. They have an amazing collection of vintage shoes
Pros
  • great bar scene
  • great music venues
  • Great restaurants
  • Lots of energy
  • A wonderful sense of history
  • Home to the Tenement Museum which catalogues the history of NYC's immigrants
Cons
  • weekend B&T crowd
  • Loud all the time
  • Punk hipsters
  • Rapid gentrification is destroying the soul of the neighborhood
  • Rising rents
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"The original Immigrant enclave"

Being an immigrant in NYC , it’s hardly surprising that one of my favorite neighborhoods in the big apple is the gritty and somewhat grotty neighborhood of the Lower East Side. This historic neighborhood has an important place in the history of the melting pot that is New York City for it has traditionally always been occupied by immigrants. From the Italian, German, and Ukrainian immigrants who came here from Europe at the turn of the century to the Latin Americans who were then followed them to the present-day occupants of the neighborhood who seem to hail from Bangladesh in South Asia, the Lower East Side has always been welcoming of foreign peoples.

The neighborhood, whose boundaries stretch west from the East River to the south of East Houston Street, was initially a Jewish enclave and evidence of this exists until today in the form of the sizable Orthodox Jewish community that continues to reside here. Several historic kosher delis like the renowned Katz Deli (well known for its melt in the mouth pastrami) and Russ and Daughters which sells a large variety of Jewish specialties like smoked fish, lox, bagels and excellent pastries like babka, halvah and rugalach cater to the various needs of this old and established community. Additionally the neighborhood also has within its folds several historic synagogues like the Bialystoker Synagogue Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, the Eldridge Street Synagogue and Kehila Kedosha Janina.
Aside from these synagogues, the Lower East Side has several other historic sites like the Tenement Museum which is a fascinating institution located on Orchard Street that catalogs the lives and history of the immigrants who once called this section of New York City home. Guided tours of the neighborhood are offered by the museum help tourists and even locals explore the neighborhood better.

The Lower East Side was in fact once known as the original 'Bargain district' of New York as it was filled with discount retail stores that were owned and operated by these hard working and industrious immigrants. These retail stores essentially catered to the diverse needs of the various immigrant communities who lived there. Some of these discount retail stores continue to exist along Stanton, Ludlow and Rivington Streets and sell a wide variety of merchandise like competitively priced leather goods, household goods, luggage and discounted apparel.

However, over the past few years the neighborhood like many other old enclaves of New York City has been undergoing a rapid gentrification and now in addition to its historic sites, the Lower East Side is also well known for its many hip boutiques, bars and eateries like Pala, the Clinton Street Baking Company, Café Charbon, Verlaine, Kampuchea Noodle Bar, WD*50, Stanton Social and Teany (a tea lounge owned and operated by the musician Moby) which have helped to transform this historic neighborhood into a much sought after party district in New York City.
Pros
  • A wonderful sense of history
  • Home to the Tenement Museum which catalogues the history of NYC's immigrants
  • The Essex Street Market
  • great bar scene
  • great music venues
  • nice mix of old and new
  • Great restaurants
  • Lots of energy
Cons
  • Rapid gentrification is destroying the soul of the neighborhood
  • Rising rents
  • dingy apartments
  • far from subway
  • some poor areas
  • Loud all the time
  • Punk hipsters
  • Ugly
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5
2yrs+

"Fond Memories of a Bygone Era and Hope for the Future"

My family roots are in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. My grandparents lived and died there and my dad was born and raised there. I spent many, many good times in my grandmother's apartment, looking out over the fire escape to the streets below. And I loved to visit the neighborhood shops and restaurants and come away with a "bargain." Sadly, quite a bit of what "was" the Lower East Side is gone, having been replaced with much needed renovation and some out-of-place new construction. Still, if you know where to look, the old, original Lower East Side still exists. Formerly a neighborhood filled with immigrants and the center of Jewish culture in New York, you can still stroll down Orchard Street, Hester Street, Essex, Grand, Delancy and Houston Streets and find what made the Lower East Side the "go to" place for New York bargains, especially on Sunday mornings, when the original Lower East Side business people come out to sell their wares in the little shops. One of my favorite places for a "nosh" is Yonah Schimmel's on E. Houston Street. They sell knishes of all varieties and have been there since FOREVER (actually, since 1910) in the SAME LOCATION. It looks like a dive, but their knishes are melt-in-your mouth goodness. Also on E. Houston Street is another culinary landmark - Katz's Delicatessen, which has been serving humongous sandwiches since 1888. But aside from gastronomical delights, the Lower East Side is a good place to live if you have to live in Manhattan, even though it has become pricey and populated by young professionals who enjoy the new night life that has invaded the area.

I don't mean to sound bitter, but I just hate to see the Lower East Side lose its personality and morph into another upscale, vanilla neighborhood without any character. Thankfully there are enough remnants of the past to keep the Lower East Side authentic to its roots. If I had to live in Manhattan, here is where I'd choose to live (if I could afford it). There are still lots of tenement houses in the area that are walk-ups (meaning you have to walk up the stairs to the 4th, 5th or 6th floors -- no elevators) and you pay dearly for that privilege. But the Lower East Side has come up in the world from where it was. It's cleaner, sleeker, more modern and definitely more accessible. I am very positive about the neighborhood. I just hope that progress doesn't ruin the historical significance of this neighborhood that is dear to my heart.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"LES still feels a little like the gritty good ole days"

I had an apartment in the Lower East Side until rent became too expensive, but it’s still my favorite neighborhood in Manhattan. That is to say, it is one of the neighborhoods which still feel a little like NYC before the gentrification turned the island into a mall for the wealthy. I know people who manage to live in cheap places in the LES, but they pay the price of living in slightly dingy and small spaces. The things that keep me returning to this neighborhood are the nightlife, the galleries and the proximity to Chinatown. For nightlife the LES can’t be beat. There are plenty of hip bars which don’t yet cost an arm and a leg, and where people are still friendly. The gallery district around Chrystie street is still active, and although much of the work is crappy, most things you see in Chelsea galleries are just more polished crap. And finally, if you walk to the bottom of Chrystie you’ll be in Chinatown, with all the great fish markets, scamming street vendors and activity. In short, a great place for people watching.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"They gave it a "cutesy" name to attract visitors and money, which is only good if you have money"

You know everything they say about the gentrification of New York? The Lower East Side is a prime example. When I was growing up it was mostly older, mostly Jewish. The fact that the subway is a little bit hard to access (for many parts of the neighborhood, only the F train, which is annoyingly infrequent, is convenient) kept it affordable for a long time, and probably keeps it down in price a little bit (though if they ever build the 2nd avenue subway line that will change). In the past 10 years most of the old, discount stores have closed, replaced by chic, ultra-expensive shops and boutiques. There is very little cheap anything in this area anymore. Like everywhere else in the city, it's become a very expensive place to live. There is also a lot of renovating of old buildings into luxury apartments. This is contrasted with a few truly hideous newer buildings, the tallest in the area, that look bizarre against the old buildings and lend a cheap air to the area. As in much of Manhattan, primarily luxury residences are being built. The one high point of all this has been the food - you can get truly excellent food in this neighborhood now (in restaurants), though the closest fancy supermarket is still at Union Square. The people are mostly yuppies. This means that the neighborhood is filled with high-income young couples with very young children. The parts that aren't are occupied by hipsters (young single people who tend to like to party). The overall result is that unless you fit into one of those two groups, I would not recommend this neighborhood, but if you do and you have the money it might be a better-value location than much of the rest of Manhattan.
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
4/5
2yrs+

"A new beginning for Lower East Side"

The Lower East Side community continues to change as time goes on. Rental prices are five to eight times higher than they were five years ago due to major renovations the neighborhood has undergone. Surprisingly, the Lower East Side is no longer populated by lower income immigrants, but now flooded with dot com gurus and the downtown crowd. There is an influx of new boutiques, restaurants, bars and music clubs that are now in run with the area’s long-established fabric dealers, button wholesalers, old-school tailors, and pickle vendors.

Nightlife is pumping on the weekends in Lower East Side. New up and coming local rock bands play at the Bowery Ballroom (a former vaudeville hall) on Delancey Street and at the Mercury Lounge on East Houston Street. Other performance venues, albeit much smaller, are the Pianos and the Living Room on Ludlow Street.

Hungry? Grab a bite to eat before concert hopping at Prune – known for its fine American cuisine. They offer very interesting appetizers like sardines and triscuits, or beef marrow. Be sure to call for reservations ahead of time and show up early!
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"LES for shopping, partying, living (if you like high rents)"

The Lower East Side is the site of my very first New York apartment (as long as you’re not counting an NYU dorm), and so the neighborhood will always have a place in my heart, long after it stops being trendy and it turns into whatever formerly trendy neighborhoods become. If you are looking for a place to shop for vegan shoes (Moo Shoes), a hotel completely made of glass so that the neighborhood can watch you shower (The Hotel on Rivington), or just some really awesome live music featuring a local Brooklyn band, you can it all in the Lower East Side.
The neighborhood has gotten crazy expensive as it becomes the ultimate trendily gentrified section of Manhattan, causing all the artists to relocate to cheaper neighborhoods (Bushwick), but hanging out here is still just as inexpensive (or as expensive, depending on your POV) as the rest of New York’s hipster hot spots.

Best Streets in Lower East Side

1

Allen St

4.5/5
"Main drag between neighborhoods"
40.7176326544406 -73.9913173372372
2

East 1st St

4/5
"Awesome and Entertaining"
40.7227673383724 -73.9872343367454
3

Canal St

3.5/5
"Good nightlfe in the heart of L.E.S"
40.7146156779545 -73.9909545443577
4

Ludlow St

3.5/5
"You'll never be bored"
40.7152320003588 -73.9908455024279
5

Norfolk St

3.5/5
"Great place to live"
40.7190781174943 -73.9870170729171
6

Division St

3.5/5
"Orchard Street.....rocking place!!!"
40.714042379524 -73.9965952067198
7

Delancey St

3.5/5
"Ludlow for nightlife"
40.7173227545271 -73.983649710926
8

Henry St

3.5/5
"Nice residential area "
40.7128477877172 -73.9965220845705
9

Columbia St

3/5
"Columbia Street is Ok"
40.7172662462831 -73.9801400203834
10

Forsyth St

3/5
"For the younger set"
40.7143486858765 -73.9941813895633

Best Neighborhoods to Live In

Best Cities to Live In

Tell everyone what you love about your neighborhood!

Leave a Review

Have a question?

How are schools? Is the area safe? What about public transit options?" Why not ask our community of locals!

Ask Now

Selling or Renting Your Home?

Maximize the selling price of your home by sharing what you love about your suburb to increase its appeal...

Leave a Review

Corporate Relocation Manager?

Enable your employees to share local knowledge in a private, trusted environment with those relocating... while building community.

Learn More