Manhattan/Lower East Side

The corner of Orchard and Rivington Streets, Lower East Side

The Lower East Side of Manhattan is bounded by Houston Street, the Bowery, the Manhattan Bridge, and the East River, with the neighborhood's center being Orchard Street. For over 200 years, the Lower East Side has been a working-class immigrant neighborhood: It had large Irish and German populations in the early 19th century, and was a wholesale Jewish enclave by 1900. At present, this street is a true multicultural blend, with trendy boutiques, French cafés, and velvet-roped nightspots sprinkled among dry-goods discounters, Spanish bodegas, and mom-and-pop shops selling everything from T-shirts to designer fashions to menorahs. The East Village was also traditionally considered part of the Lower East Side, but that neighborhood has developed its own identity.

It was here that the New York garment industry began. The area has been known as one of New York's favorite bargain beats, where serious shoppers find fantastic bargains (especially along Orchard Street on a Sunday afternoon), but this is increasingly becoming a thing of the past as rents skyrocket and cutting-edge new designers and boutiques formerly seen in SoHo flock to the area. But in its mix of old and new, bohemian and upscale, you can find trendy bars and music venues, a venerable old no-nonsense place that just might serve up the best pastrami sandwich in the world, Gus's Pickles out of a barrel, and great bialys.

Much of what used to be considered the Lower East Side, east of Bowery and the Manhattan Bridge overpass, is now functionally part of Chinatown, as another wave of immigration continues to move further north and east.

Get in

Lower East Side Map

Several bus lines go to the Lower East Side, or you can take the J, M, or Z subway lines to Essex Street; the F to Delancey Street (which is connected to the J/M/Z Essex St. station), East Broadway, or 2nd Avenue; or you can take the B or D to Grand Street.



St. Augustine's Church at 290 Henry Street


Orchard St. is more and more lined with expensive boutiques, but in this traditional locus of bargain clothes shopping, there are still some good deals to be had for those with patience. Note that many stores on this street are owned by Orthodox Jews and closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays.


This temple of meat and throwback to the Jewish delicatessens of yesteryear, Katz's has historic photos on the wall and a kaleidoscopic staff and clientele, all united in their love of pastrami


The Lower East Side is a very popular neighborhood for drinking, especially on the part of young people, who come from nearby, other parts of town, the suburbs, and even foreign countries — meaning that, especially on weekend nights, it can be uncomfortably packed, with tremendous crowding on the streets as well as on lines to get into bars and in the bars, themselves. Here are some highlights of the scene:


Go next

View north from just south of Delancey Street on Allen Street

The obvious places to go next are the East Village, which is to a large extent a northern extension of the Lower East Side; Chinatown, which continues to merge further into the Lower East side; NoLiTa, a neighborhood of upscale boutiques, quiet residential streets and loud clubs that was formerly the northern part of Little Italy and is not part of Chinatown but is covered in the Chinatown guide; and SoHo, a little ways further to the west than NoLiTa, much more crowded with tourists and shoppers, but with a lot of beautiful, classic buildings and cobblestoned side streets. All of these neighborhoods are easily walkable from the Lower East Side, for a person of normal fitness.

You can also access Williamsburg by taking the M, J or Z trains or walking across the Williamsburg Bridge, and Downtown Brooklyn is on the other side of the Manhattan Bridge or the second stop on the F train in Brooklyn.

Routes through Lower East Side

Midtown Soho  N  S  Downtown Brooklyn Coney Island
Midtown Soho  W  E  Williamsburg Forest Park, Queens
Financial District Chinatown  W  E  Williamsburg East Brooklyn

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, September 19, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.