Low Rents and Cool Culture Draws Residents to Alphabet City

Despite the seemingly kid-friendly name of Alphabet City, this neighborhood situated within the Lower East Side was, for a long time, known as one of the gritty and grimy neighborhoods of New York City. However, the wild days of Alphabet City have drawn to a close and the neighborhood today has become an increasingly desirable place for young people and families, who are taking advantage of Alphabet City’s transformation into one of Manhattan’s hip, trendy and, most importantly, affordable neighborhoods to live in.

In the past, Alphabet City was a refuge for immigrants to New York City, making it one of the densely populated areas in the city at that point in time. However, the influx of residents today is nothing like from those days of yore. The Wall Street Journal reported that the neighborhood is now home to professionals in fields as diverse as fashion, tech and media, who are drawn to the cheap rents of the apartments offered here. The presence of interesting hangouts like bars, cafes and restaurants adds to the appeal of the neighborhood for the younger demographic.

Besides these obvious reasons, Alphabet City has a lot of appeal thanks to its rather colorful past, which has seen several notable residents. Pop star extraordinaire Madonna used to live in this neighborhood, while poet Allen Ginsberg used to hang out at the Nuyorican Poets Café, which continues to attract an eclectic audience. Street art abounds in this neighborhood—it is not ugly graffiti you’ll find here, it’s a genuine art form in these parts, with local businesses using the artwork for their advertisements as well.

But more development is in the works for Alphabet City. After the development of the High Line gave the Chelsea neighborhood a much-needed boost, Alphabet City seems set to follow in its footsteps with the creation of the Low Line. But even as that happens, with apartments going for “$70 a square foot along Avenue D,” this Lower East Side locality continues to attract people to become residents here, and thereby become first-hand witnesses to this neighborhood’s transformation.