For many New Yorkers, the Lower East Side is one neighborhood that still has a lot of authenticity and good ‘ole New York grit left. It has been described as Manhattan’s “last frontier of cool. The promise land of old as well as new… Where the Godfather lives side by side with a hipster movie.” Put more tangibly by Benjamin Baccash of Taconic Investment Partners, the developer of LES’s Essex Crossing, “The Lower East Side has wonderful restaurants, art galleries, and a great street life. It’s a real neighborhood and that’s what a lot of people are looking for.”
In addition to great diversity, personality, and transportation, the city is undertaking huge improvements on the east river waterfront, and developers are erecting new developments at all corners of the ‘hood. Ahead, 6sqft takes a look at everything that’s keeping the Lower East Side a vestige of old New York during its contemporary resurgence, from massive projects like Essex Crossing to a booming art gallery scene.
As Irving Berlin once said, “Everybody ought to have a Lower East Side in their life.”
Ever since architects James Ramsey and Dan Barasch announced their plan to turn a forgotten trolley terminal below Delancey Street into an underground park, design enthusiasts, urban planners, locals, celebs, and, well, just about everyone who’s caught wind of it has been waiting in anticipation for what’s to come. The push to make this cool concept a reality continues on strong, even four years after the first unveiling (not that long when you consider that the High Line Park was a 15-year-long project!), and next Wednesday, November 12th at 6:30PM, the Lowline creators will be hosting a brand new event that will give New Yorkers the chance to discover the history of the former subterranean streetcar station built in 1908 and abandoned in 1948. The park’s creators have partnered with historic preservation researchers at Higgins Quasebarth to present their latest research, findings and the science behind the Lowline at a FREE public talk at the Tenement Museum at 103 Orchard Street.
Space is limited and is first-come, first-served, so get there early! And if you can’t swing by the museum you can also watch or listen to the talk remotely.
, Fri, September 19, 2014
Image courtesy of MNCY
Long considered the capital of Jewish America, this overpoweringly cramped neighborhood was considered by many to be the greatest concentration of Jewish life in nearly 2,000 years.
Between 1880 and 1924, 2.5 million mostly-impoverished Ashkenazi Jews came to the US and nearly 75 percent took up residence on the Lower East Side. According to the Library of Congress, by 1900, more than 700 people per acre were settling in a neighborhood lined with tenements and factories. And as quickly as they descended on the streets, all sharing a common language (mostly Yiddish) and most certainly, similar backgrounds, they quickly established synagogues as early as 1865 (the landmarked Bialystoker Synagogue, whose congregants were mostly Polish immigrants from Bailystok), small shops, pushcarts teeming with goods, social clubs and even financial-aid societies.
By 1910, the Lower East Side’s population was well over the five million mark, but sadly, such congestion habitually caused havoc.
Learn more about the history of the LES here