With the Brooklyn Bridge on the south and Houston Street to the north, the East River on the east and the Bowery on the west, it's not too difficult to describe where the Lower East Side is. Describing what the Lower East Side is, though -- live music and art hub or quick-gentrifying neighborhood? Manhattan's nightlife capital or last holdover of old New York? -- is a somewhat more complicated task, primarily because it's all of the above. Suffice to say, then, that the Lower East Side is one of the most desirable places to live in Manhattan.
The LES is the ancestral home of New York's Jewish culture, and vestiges of that old identity -- both at the definitively New York deli Katz's and at a number of smaller storefronts -- exist side by side with Michelin-starred fine-dining establishments and unpretentious burger joints, hip bars and clubs, and acclaimed art galleries. The Lower East Side just feels more New York-y than other Manhattan neighborhoods, thanks to both its booming nightlife -- including a few iconic live music venues -- and many different cultures, traditions and overlapping histories. A vital, vibrant example of Manhattan's changing face and timeless energy, the Lower East Side the rare neighborhood in which both the funky Essex Street Market and Whole Foods seem eminently at home. In short, the Lower East Side is a place that many NYC dwellers want to call home, and a rising star in Manhattan real estate.
While much of the neighborhood is defined by its turn-of-the-century walk-ups, a number of new construction rental buildings have changed the face and the character of the LES. The ultra-luxe Ludlow is a beacon of contemporary luxury in the neighborhood, and The Crossroads offers similarly stylish apartments for rent. Always a fun neighborhood to visit, always a quintessentially New York experience, the Lower East Side is also a great place to live.