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Lower East Side New York: accommodation and information


While looking for entertainment in Manhattan is not an issue, some neighbourhoods are decidedly sleepy during the day and practically dead at night, while others are thriving. The Lower East Side belongs to the latter. During the day the district draws the crowds with colourful markets, elegant boutiques and modern galleries, while after dark the trendy crowd descend upon the neighbourhood to indulge in the finest dining in town and enjoy live music and entertainment at one of the numerous bars and clubs.


The neighbourhood that is one of the oldest in New York has always been a working class area known for its multiethnic population. Albeit a Jewish stronghold for a very long time, the area has seen waves of immigrants from virtually every corner of the world. Italians, Irish, Germans, Polish, Bengalis and Latin Americans have all established communities here, with the most recent newcomers being Chinese and Japanese. The cultural mix is quite evident in the assortment of ethnic shops and delis, as well as the variety of temples. Many historic synagogues sit side by side with Christian churches, Muslim mosques and more recently Buddhist temples.  


But that’s just traces of the past and since the area has started growing ever more fashionable the stunning contrasts do not end here. As luxury new developments appear all over the LES replacing older buildings and a trendy crowd descends on the neighbourhood at nightfall to enjoy the high-end bars and eateries, the neighbourhood is gradually undergoing gentrification that encompasses all areas of local life. Walk down any main street and you see grocery markets and traditional ethnic businesses next door to high-end restaurants, designer boutiques and modern art galleries.


So, if you are looking for boutique accommodation, constant day time indulgences and night time entertainment, you really needn’t look further than the Lower East Side. The LES is a heaven for gourmets. Lots of fashionable restaurants headed by top chefs have sprung up in the area, with some of the trendiest eateries in New York located on Clinton street. Places like wd~50 and the Clinton St Baking Company head the list of top Manhattan restaurants.


If you want to grab a bite on the go visit the Essex Street Market. You can sample top-quality fresh produce – cheese assortments, organic vegetables and fruits, hand-made pastries and anything to satisfy even the pickiest foodies. At Hester Food Market, held only on Saturdays, the accent is also on fresh produce but here you will find less groceries and more mouth-watering snacks, desserts, sandwiches and inventive take-away meals. Beside a great place to sample culinary surprises the market is also a nice spot to explore local arts and crafts goods, artisanal products, boutique and vintage items that cover anything from clothes and jewellery to stationery. While in the area check out the numerous boutique shops on Orchard Street.


Alongside the restaurant boom, a proliferation of galleries has been taking place over the last several decades. The pioneer ABC Rio was the first art centre to open doors here back in the 80s offering an inclusive approach to art and today you can find hundreds of contemporary galleries and performance spaces in the area.


At night a crowd of dressed up revellers flocks to the clubs and bars of LES. The entertainment offers vary from arty to burlesque to wild. There is a little something for everyone. Live music gigs are quite common in numerous venues and you can catch anything from punk to rock’ n roll, burlesque and karaoke or simply a relaxed night of sipping drinks and chatting. The majority of bars and clubs are huddled along Ludlow, Rivington, Clinton, Ludlow and Orchard streets. The area is safe but quite packed and wild at the weekends, although you will find plenty of entertainment on any given weekday. Indeed, in the Lower East Side the city never sleeps.