A History and Guide to a Legendary New York Neighborhood
The Lower East Side has been home to some of the city's most iconic restaurants, shopping venues, and architecture. The neighborhood has also welcomed generations of immigrants, from newly arrived Italians and Jews to today's Latino and Asian newcomers. This history has become somewhat obscured, however, as the Lower East Side can appear more hip than historic, with wealth and gentrification changing the character of the neighborhood.
Chronicling these developments, along with the hidden gems that still speak of a vibrant immigrant identity, Joyce Mendelsohn provides a complete guide to the Lower East Side of then and now. After an extensive history that stretches back to Manhattan's first settlers, Mendelsohn offers 5 self-guided walking tours, including a new passage through the Bowery, that take the reader to more than 150 sites and highlight the dynamics of a community of contrasts: aged tenements nestled among luxury apartment towers abut historic churches and synagogues. With updated and revised maps, historical data, and an entirely new community to explore, Mendelsohn writes a brand-new chapter in an old New York story.
"Mendelsohn puts recent enormous changes into a historical context and makes them come alive through her in-depth tours. Her book represents a unique treasure, offering crystal-clear and specific directions and even telling readers not to walk to certain sites because they are too far away, and where restrooms are available! The mix of history, culture, and architecture is well-written, fascinating, and unique. The amount of information and context packed into this volume is remarkable." — Suzanne Wasserman, director, Gotham Center for New York City History, CUNY
"This book, which encompasses primarily the history, architecture, and biography of the Lower East Side, expands on current landmarks, nationality groups, cultures, and institutions, as well as current demographic trends. One special focus is on the original Jewish community, including its origin and development, its noted houses of worship, famous members of the community, past and present, and their special artistic and political contributions. The Lower East Side's status today as a changing, but steadfastly unique, cultural phenomenon is also examined. This is a valuable addition to the available literature and is sure to generate considerable and widespread interest. A much-needed, comprehensive study, with a generous amount of illustrative material." — Gerard Wolfe, author of New York: 15 Walking Tours and New York: A Guide to the Metropolis
Tour I: Jewish Roots
Tour II: Immigrant Life
Tour III: Commerce and Culture
Tour IV: Traditions and Trends
Tour V: The Bowery