The wonderfully young and hip Lower East Side, also known as the LES, stretches from Houston Street to Canal Street, and Eldridge to Delancey. Hip and chic, the Lower East Side has a distinctly modern, urban atmosphere while still maintaining tasteful echoes of the past and the neighborhood’s ethnic and cultural origins. The neighborhood shows off its Old New York routes with landmarks such as historic churches and synagogues, historic boutique hotels, historic architecture and plenty of arts and culture locations. Jewish culture manifests in neighborhood landmarks such as the wonderful Katz’s Deli as well as the oldest synagogue in New York.
Once a bustling hub for the garment industry, the Lower East Side houses the first settlement house in America, as well as one of New York’s oldest commercial centers on Orchard Street. In the 1930’s, the Essex Street Market was established to clear pushcart traffic from the narrow streets. Starting in the 1950’s, the Lower East Side became a mecca for artists, and by the 80’s it became home to New York’s counter cultural movements. Off-beat artists have flocked to the neighborhood ever since for its authentic history and its diverse artistic community. The famous Tenement Museum on Orchard Street can transport you back to the early years of the Lower East Side, offering a glimpse of the interesting history of the area which is still present in details, buildings and landmarks in the area.