Why I Love LES

A Lower East Side Guide

A Lower East Side Lifer

My name is Miles and I’m a New Yorker. Not just any New Yorker though. The Lower East Side is my home and has been since the late 1980s. I was fortunate enough to live in the golden years of the 1990s and spent my childhood running around the streets while ma and pops were at work. I’m 33 now and still call the Lower East Side home (I live off of Madison now). Even though many people hate New York and its promotion of busy lifestyles, I thrive here. If there aren’t horns honking or people screaming I won’t be able to get a good night’s sleep.

Why I love the Lower East Side

The Lower East Side is a place that knows no boundaries. It’s fluid and constantly changing. New development projects in the lower east side are happening day after day and changing this landscape for better or worse. It’s sad to see long-time residents disappear along with iconic institutions (such as Streit Matzos) in favor of businessmen with fat stacks of cash. Fortunately there are those of us that persevere. If you’ve ever walked down Grand Street in the fall it’s really a site to behold. Moments like that will stick with a guy for a long time.

When you look back on memories from a certain time in your life you typically have some moments that really shine. For me the Lower East Side has contained a bunch of those. From the Hotel Chantelle to the Dirty French, there are no shortage of places that I love to visit when I’m feeling down. My bond with this borough goes beyond words. It’s like a proclamation from the heavens and I’ve got the horn to play that symphony.

Where Cultures Live and Breathe

New York in general is a melting pot of cultures and people that is unlike anywhere else in the world. Just step onto the sidewalk and your bound to run into someone speaking a different language. It’s part of what makes the city so vibrant. When you combine cultures a new one is formed. The lower east side is a great example of that. In the 70s and 80s crime was much more abundant, but now the Lower East Side is a safer space for people of all walks of life to converge and live.

Innovation is a key word that I think of when contemplating my home borough. The energy of this place is astounding and there are so many people hustling on a day to day basis that it can be contagious. The Lower East Side is not for the lazy. With over 1,000 businesses in such a small area you’ll have plenty of opportunities for finding work and contributing to this thriving metropolis. My guide to the lower east side would not be complete without talking about one other thing: the food and the drank. If you’re trying to navigate the small cross-section of Manhattan I would suggest taking a look at my Interactive LES Map.


Lower East Side: My Personal Favorites

Yeah, I’m a homer. But on the plus side it means that I’ve been there and done that. This means I can show you all the cool stuff that I love. I’ve got mad respect for these places below and can’t recommend them enough.


My Favorite Cafe: Russ & Daughters Cafe








My Favorite Bar: Copper and Oak








My Favorite Coffee Shop: Cafe Grumpy Lower East Side








My Favorite Music Venue: Bowery Ballroom