LOWER EAST SIDE ~ World-class puppetry and bilingual children’s theatre
Manhattan LOWER EAST SIDE, EAST VILLAGE ~ Brooklyn BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, BUSHWICK, CARROLL GARDENS, GREENPOINT, RED HOOK, WILLIAMSBURG, ~ Queens MASPETH, RIDGEWOOD, WOODSIDE ~ First Latina on the New York City Council and first Puerto Rican woman in U.S. Congress
LOWER EAST SIDE, NYC ~ New York City’s contemporary art museum is transforming the Bowery
The Lower East Side is bordered on the north by Houston St and on the south by the Manhattan Bridge. Bowery on the west used to be skid row, but that is almost all gone now. East River Park and the East River are the eastern border.
The neighborhood’s nickname Loisaida comes from the poem of the same name by Nuyorican community activist Bimbo Rivas. The Nuyorican Poets Cafe is just north of Houston St.
The Lower East Side produces good leaders. Nydia Velázquez was the first Latina on the New York City Council and is now the first Puerto Rican woman in the U.S. Congress. Carlina Rivera is following in her footsteps.
The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center hosts community arts including Teatro SEA, New York City’s Latino Theatre for young audiences. Teatro SEA productions often use puppetry and are usually bilingual. It’s one of our favorite theaters in New York, better than Broadway. Abrons Art Center also hosts community productions.
The Williamsburg Bridge and Delancey street cuts through the middle of the Lower East Side. The 1988 romantic comedy Crossing Delancey, starring Amy Irving, made light of the fact that crossing the street could feel like entering another world. That world doesn’t exist so much any more, but you can still find it across the bridge in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Watching the orthodox walk across the bridge in their fine beaver hats is something you will always remember.
Of all the neighborhoods in Manhattan, the Lower East Side still has some of that 1970s edgy, graffiti vibe. It is not the 1970s anymore and thank God for that. Now the Lower East Side is just cool.
The New Museum changed the Bowery completely. The Tenement Museum shows how people used to live. The Museum at Eldridge Street is a beautiful historic synagogue that has been restored and is now a community center.
Orchard St, Ludlow St and Rivington St have hip shops. Russ & Daughters on Houston and on Orchard St makes the most amazing lox.
Pianos and Arlene’s Grocery are bars with live music that have been there forever. The Mercury Lounge and Rockwood Music Hall host rock shows. The Slipper Room is an old school burlesque house. The DL on Delancey has a popular rooftop bar.
“Loisaida, my love, Te amo.” Bimbo Rivas, 1974