Lower East Side

Manhattan

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Quick Profile

Bursting with energy at every turn, the Lower East Side is one of the most historic neighborhoods in all of Manhattan. Rooted in immigrant history, the bulk of European and Eastern European migration that occurred in the late nineteenth through the early twentieth century took place here, where the Tenement Museum remains one of the best ways to become acquainted with how early residents of the neighborhood lived.

The unique and eclectic mix of building styles--ranging from low- and high-rises to luxury and historic buildings--begins immediately upon entering the area via the Manhattan or Brooklyn Bridge, known as Two Bridges, itself a neighborhood that has also long been known for its immigrant population. With its historic district placed in the National Register of Historic Places, many of its oldest churches, such as Mariners Temple and St. James Church remain a preserved part of the district’s storied past. 

While the LES has long been a hub for aspiring musicians and artists, the area has increasingly transformed its demographic as it welcomes a more affluent sect of residents with the advent of condos and luxury spaces.

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Destination Spots

Tenement Museum. An important starting point in gaining insight into the neighborhood’s history, the Tenement Museum is a must for better understanding the marked ways in which the Lower East Side has evolved from its very humble roots. 

The New Museum. Established in 1977, The New Museum was founded by curator and critic Marcia Tucker. In its current location on 235 Bowery, the “anti-museum” mantra of the space is very much in keeping with the iconoclastic artist’s history of the LES.

Sperone Westwater Gallery. Another important gallery on the Bowery, Sperone Westwater Gallery, was founded in 1975, but moved to its present Bowery location (designed by Foster + Partners) in September of 2010. Right at home in the spirit of honoring the international, the gallery prides itself on showcasing innovative global art that reminds one of the area’s long-standing relationship with the foreign set. 

The Bowery Ballroom. A classic example of just how important music has been to the history of the Lower East Side, The Bowery Ballroom was converted into a music venue in 1998. It is known for being one of those places where one can lay claim to saying, “I saw them before they were famous.” 

Essex Street Market. The indoor Essex Street Market provides an array of delicious food options for the gourmand in search of specialty items, cheeses, meat, fish and just about everything else in between. 

Arlene’s Grocery. Another quintessential bar and music venue, Arlene’s Grocery is where many musicians got their start on the LES, in addition to Pianos and The Bitter End. 

What You Might See

Ample street art. Creativity flows freely through the streets, manifesting in the trademark look of graffiti that has made it one of the most recognizable areas of New York. 

Restaurants, bars, coffee shops and hotels. Ranging from the legendary and iconic to the freshly appended, there’s a varied mix of businesses and entertainment to keep locals and visitors constantly stimulated. Whether you’re looking for Italian, Greek, Asian, Mexican or any cuisine in between, the LES is pretty much guaranteed to have it all within little more than a two block radius. 

Music venues to support any and every genre, including longtime staples like The Bitter End, Mercury Lounge and (Le) Poisson Rouge providing plenty of reason to stay out late. 

What’s In The Future

Increased development with no signs of slowing down. Both the low- and high-rise condo boom is present throughout the Lower East Side, evident in such luxury buildings as 247 Cherry Street, 260 South Street, 201-203 East Broadway (former tenement buildings) and 202 Broome Street (where plans for Class A office space are also to be incorporated into the fifteen-story structure). 

With so much construction and renewal in the pipeline, the Lower East Side is definitely going to look even more changed from the period of its initial urban growth and immigrant dominance. 

Living in Lower East Side

What You Might Not Know

In the early settlement of the neighborhood, which was originally occupied by Dutch farmers before the American Revolution, James Delancey was one of the most well-known and powerful farmers, occupying the land now known as Delancey Street, a key stretch on the LES. What’s more, Orchard Street is also an homage to Delancey as a result of the many orchards he was responsible for growing at the height of the Lower East Side’s farming period. 

Bouwerij, the Dutch word for farm, evolved into bowery, hence the name of the Bowery, an important cultural and historical street with roots tracing all the way back to the time when it was a footpath to the Lenape Native American tribe. Likewise, the Bowery served as a main thoroughfare connecting the farms and settlements of the LES (then considered something of an “outskirt”) to the Battery Park and Wall Street vicinity. 

After the Dutch boom, the Lower East Side became inundated with German immigrants around the mid-nineteenth century. So prevalent was the German population, in fact, that the territory started being referred to as Keindeutschland, or Little Germany. 

After the German reign over the LES came the that of the Jewish population, many absconding Europe in the face of religious persecution that led them to form their own enclave in this part of Manhattan. It was the period of Jewish influence (signs of which remain in Yonah Schimmel's Knish Bakery, Katz’s Deli and, formerly Streit’s Matzo Factory--sold in 2015 to be transformed into luxury condos) that saw the rise of tenement living, explored in detail at the Tenement Museum. 

The word “hooker” can actually be attributed to the point of the Lower East Side called Corlear’s Hook, where prostitutes would regularly walk. This area was also home to some of the first tenements that developed.

Lana Del Rey and Lady Gaga both rose to prominence in the music industry by performing in venues regularly on the Lower East Side, including Arlene’s Grocery and The Bitter End. 

Neighborhood Statistics

Inventory
Last 12 Months
Lower East Side
All Sizes
Last 12 Months
Inventory
527
YOY105
Avg Listed Price
$1.68M
YOY4.4%
Median Listed Price
$1.26M
YOY3.25%
APPSF
$1,700
YOY1.35%
Average SF
1,097 SF
YOY4.38%
Days on Market
109
YOY3

What We Love

The frenetic energy. No matter what time of day, the streets always feel full of a hustle and bustle that ignites every corner. The neighborhood remains integral to the definition of “New York nightlife.” 

Available Listings