The Lower East Side (see map) has been the home to immigrants for over 100 years. In the late 1800's it was it's population was primarily Jewish, In the 1950's the population shifted to mostly Puerto Rican and then Dominican. Then in the 80's and 90's Chinatown expanded into its boundaries. Today it is another neighborhood undergoing gentrification.
The Lower East Side (LES) was the first U.S. home to many Jewish, Italian and Irish immigrants between the 1880's and the 1950's. It was an area of tenements and slums when Jacob Riis launched a photo essay campaign to push government to do something about the conditions there.
You might have noticed that many apartment building that were built after the turn of the century do not have flat sides. That is because building codes were changed. The early tenements had windows only in the front and back of the building. This made it difficult to circulate fresh air. Then the codes were changed to force builders to create air shafts these often small spaces allowed some air to circulate through an apartment.
Jewish History and CultureThe center of LES was home to mostly Jewish immigrants. That history can be seen in several remnants. Along Houston Street (the northern edge of LES) there are three culinary treasures. One is Katz's Deli, home to world best pastrami sandwich in, my opinion, and the place where Sally showed Harry a thing or two about "faking it" (I'll have what she's having).
|The best pastrami in the world|
The second is Russ and Daughters, a place to find smoked fish and other appetizers that are out of this world.
|Try the smoked whitefish chubs|
The knishes are baked heaven, 3 inches thick and about 4 inches on a side, they are almost a meal by themselves. The savory knishes are potato based, but they also offer kasha, spinach, sweet potato,and mushroom.The sweet knishes are cheese based and come with fruit fillings - cherry, blueberry or apple.
they also have a chocolate knish.
|Alec at Yonah Schimmel's|
|specializing in headstones with Hebrew writing|
|The Pig & Khao where S. Klein used to be|
|Emory Roth Synagogue|