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Manhattan Antiques and Collectibles Triple Pier Expo

New York Culture

From the bright lights of Broadway to the revered stages at the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, from the high kicks of the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall to the cutting-edge works performed at BAM, New York City continues to be one of the most diverse and heavily textured urban cultural centres in the world the BIG apple has it all.

 

The principal entertainment districts are the Theater District in the Broadway/42nd Street/Times Square area and the LincolnCenter for the Performing Arts on the Upper West Side. Most Broadway theatres are located in the blocks just east or west of Broadway, between 41st Street and 53rd Street. Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theatres are sprinkled throughout Manhattan, with a concentration in the East and West Villages, Chelsea and several in the 40s and 50s west of the Broadway theatre district. The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, Columbus Avenue at 64th Street (tel: (212) 721 6500; website: www.lincolncenter.org), is America’s first and largest performing arts complex, containing many venues. It is also the home of the Metropolitan Opera (website: www.metopera.org), the New York City Opera (website: www.nycopera.com), the New York City Ballet (website: www.nycballet.com), the New York Philharmonic (website: www.newyorkphilharmonic.org), among others.

 

New York continues to grow and, as well as these established attractions, offers something new each day. Times Square is one of the prominent areas to receive attention. Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, 234 West 42nd Street (tel: (800) 246 8872; website: www.nycwax.com), which includes a movie complex, the New Amsterdam Theater, 214 West 42nd Street, owned by Disney, as well as a number of similar renovations of historic theatres – such as the New Victory Theatre, 209 West 42nd Street (tel: (646) 223 3020; website: www.newvictory.org) and the Academy/Apollo (see Theatre below) – have ensured that New York remains the cultural capital of the USA.

 

Tickets are available for purchase through Telecharge (tel: (212) 239 6200; website: www.telecharge.com), which handles, Broadway, Off-Broadway and some concerts. Ticketmaster (tel: (212) 307 7171; website: www.ticketmaster.com), also offers Broadway and Off-Broadway, as well as tickets to MadisonSquareGarden and RadioCity. Reduced-priced tickets of up to half-price for same-day Broadway and Off-Broadway are available for purchase at the TKTS booth, 47th Street and Broadway (website: www.tdf.org/programs/tkts), open daily 1500–2000 for evening performances, 1000–1400 for Wednesday and Saturday matinees and 1200–1830 for all Sunday performances. Credit cards are not accepted.

 

Information on cultural events in the city is available online (website: www.nycvisit.com and www.whatsonwhen.com). Time Out New York (website: www.timeoutny.com) also is a good source of information published weekly and sold at newsagents and kiosks for US$2.99.

The_Avery_Fisher_Hall

Music: The Avery Fisher Hall, in the LincolnCenter, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, Columbus Avenue at 64th Street (tel: (212) 875 5030; website: www.lincolncenter.org), is the permanent home of the New York Philharmonic (tel: (212) 875 5709; website: www.newyorkphilharmonic.org) and a temporary one to visiting orchestras and soloists. Tickets for the New York Philharmonic cost approximately US$15–50. Avery Fisher also hosts the very popular annual Mostly Mozart festival (tel: (212) 875 5103) in August. The Alice Tully Hall, also in the LincolnCenter (tel: (212) 875 5050; website: www.lincolncenter.org), is a smaller venue for chamber orchestras, string quartets and instrumentalists. The greatest names from all schools of music – from Tchaikovsky and Toscanini to Gershwin and Billie Holiday – have performed at Carnegie Hall, 154 West 57th Street, at Seventh Avenue (tel: (212) 247 7800; website: www.carnegiehall.org), which boasts an astonishing and eclectic repertoire at moderate prices. Other leading venues that draw the world’s top performers include Kaufman Concert Hall, in the 92nd Street Y, at 1395 Lexington Avenue (tel: (212) 996 1100), and Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx (tel: (718) 960 8232; website: www.lehman.cuny.edu/lehmancenter).

 

Metropolitan Opera House
Metropolitan Opera House

Known as the Met, the Metropolitan Opera House, in the LincolnCenter (tel: (212) 362 6000; website: www.lincolncenter.org), is New York’s premiere opera venue and home to the Metropolitan Opera (website: www.metopera.org), from September to late April. The New York State Theater, also in LincolnCenter (tel: (212) 870 5570; website: www.lincolncenter.org), is where the New York City Opera (tel: (212) 870 5630; website: www.nycopera.com) perform. Its wide and adventurous program varies wildly in quality – sometimes startlingly innovative, occasionally mediocre – but seats go for less than half the Met’s prices. Other venues include the JulliardSchool, 155 West 65th Street, at Broadway (tel: (212) 799 5000; website: www.juilliard.edu), where talented students perform with a famous conductor, usually for low prices.

 

Theatre: Theatre venues in the city are referred to as Broadway, Off-Broadway or Off-Off-Broadway – groupings that represent a descending order of ticket price, production polish, elegance and comfort and an ascending order of innovation, experimentation, and theatre for the sake of art rather than cash. Off-Broadway is still the place for theatre punters to see the works of the world’s most innovative playwrights – social and political drama, satire, ethnic plays and repertory … in short, anything that Broadway would not consider a guaranteed money spinner. Lower operating costs also mean that Off-Broadway often serves as a forum to try out what sometimes ends up as a big Broadway production. Off-Off-Broadway is New York’s fringe. Unlike Off-Broadway, Off-Off doesn’t have to use professional actors and shows range from shoestring productions of the classics to outrageous and experimental performance art.

 

The National Actors Theatre, 1560 Broadway, Suite 409 (tel: (212) 719 5331; website: www.nationalactorstheatre.org), presents the classics on Broadway, while Manhattan Theatre Club, 311 West 43rd Street, Eighth Floor (tel: (212) 581 1212; website: www.mtc-nyc.org), produces some of the finest new plays in American theatre. Other theatre groups include Walt Disney Theatrical Productions, 1450 Broadway, Suite 300 (tel: (212) 827 5412; website: www.disney.go.com/disneyonbroadway), which brings the magic of Disney to life on the Broadway stage. For a more ethnic flavour, Harlem’s Apollo Theatre, 253 West 125th Street (tel: (212) 531 5300; website: www.showtimeinharlem.com), has celebrated the legacy and culture of African-American music and entertainment since 1934.

 

Dance: New York has five major ballet companies as well as dozens of contemporary troupes and the official dance season runs from September to January and April to June. Metropolitan Opera House, in the LincolnCenter (tel: (212) 362 6000; website: www.lincolncenter.org), is the home of the renowned American Ballet Theater (tel: (212) 477 3030; website: www.abt.org), which performs the classics from early May into July. New York State Theater, also in the LincolnCenter (tel: (212) 870 5570; website: www.lincolncenter.org), is home to the revered New York City Ballet (website: www.nycballet.com), which performs more contemporary ballet for a nine-week season each spring.

 

Brooklyn Academy of Music
Brooklyn Academy of Music

Universally known as BAM, Brooklyn Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Street, between Flatbush Avenue and Fulton Street, Brooklyn (tel: (718) 636 4100; website: www.bam.org), is America’s oldest performing arts academy and one of the busiest and most daring producers in New York. During autumn, BAM’s Next Wave Festival showcases the hottest international attractions in avant-garde dance and music. Winter brings visiting artists, while, each spring, BAM hosts the annual DanceAfrica Festival, America’s largest showcase for African and African-American dance and culture.

 

The most eminent and celebrated troupes in modern dance perform at City Center, 131 West 55th Street, between Sixth Avenue and Seventh Avenue (tel: (212) 581 1212; website: www.citycenter.org). Big-name companies include Merce Cunningham Dance Company (website: www.merce.org), Paul Taylor Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (website: www.alvinailey.org), Joffrey Ballet (website: www.joffreyballetschool.com) and Dance Theater of Harlem (website: www.dancetheatreofharlem.com). Merce Cunningham Studio, 55 Bethune St at Washington St (tel: (212) 691 9751; website: www.merce.org/studio.html), the home of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, stages performances by emerging modern choreographers.

 

Film: A movie centre second only to Tinseltown itself, New York has hundreds of modern cinema complexes and arthouse cinemas. Cinemas worth visiting include Sony Lincoln Square, Broadway at 68th Street (tel: (212) 336 5000 (recorded information) or (212) 336 5020), which is more a theme park than a multiplex, and The Ziegfeld, 141 West 54th Street, between Sixth Avenue and Seventh Avenue (tel: (908) 918 2000; website: www.clearviewcinemas.com), which often holds glitzy premieres and is the grandest picture palace in town – once home to the Ziegfeld Follies. Arthouse movies are screened at Angelika Film Centre, 18 West Houston Street (tel: (212) 995 2000 or 2570), Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, 30 Lincoln Plaza (tel: (212) 757 2280), and Quad Cinema, 34 West Street, between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue (tel: (212) 255 8800). General information, show times and advanced tickets are available from Moviefone (tel: (212) 777 FILM or 777 3456).

 

New York has been portrayed through celluloid in a number of ways, ranging from the ridiculous yet enduring images of King Kong, swinging from the EmpireStateBuilding, in the 1933 classic starring Fay Wray, to the psychological horrors of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976). In the latter, Robert De Niro plays the part of a mentally isolated New York cabbie and Vietnam vet, driven to violence by the decadence of the city. It is New York decadence of a slightly different nature that Alan Rudolph explores in Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994), which looks at New York literary life and society during the 1920s. The life and times of one of New York’s most famous daughters, the acid and hilarious writer and wit, Dorothy Parker, is brought to life amid a lavish New York setting.

 

Manhattan Antiques and Collectibles Triple Pier Expo
Manhattan Antiques and Collectibles Triple Pier Expo

Cultural events:New York’s biggest antiques event, Manhattan Antiques and Collectibles Triple Pier Expo, is held at three piers on the Hudson River, in February. The annual harbinger of spring, the New York Flower Show, is held on piers 90 and 93, 51st Street and 12th Avenue, in March. Meanwhile, Art Expo New York, the world’s largest show of popular art, features a wide range of works from paintings and sculpture to posters and decorative arts, at the Javits Convention Centre, also in March. Ninth Avenue International Food Festival is a gastronomic feast of a street fair in May, with live bands and hundreds of food stalls selling a wide assortment of ethnic and junk food. Summerstage, a festival of free or low-cost concerts in Central Park, features world music, pop, folk and jazz artists throughout the summer.

 

Literary Notes

The vibrant city of New York has spawned some of America’s most celebrated writers and provided the backdrop and inspiration for countless best-selling novels and hit movies. Washington Square, at Fifth Avenue and Waverley Place, was home to the 19th-century aristocracy and provided the inspiration for the classic study of the American upper classes, Washington Square (1881), by New Yorker Henry James. Bohemian Greenwich Village has long been the favoured haunt of America’s literati. The ChelseaHotel, on West 23rd Street, is something of a writers’ emporium. Here Arthur Miller penned After the Fall (1964) and William Burroughs worked on Naked Lunch (1959). New Yorker Arthur Miller is celebrated as America’s greatest living playwright, whose numerous works have delighted Broadway and international audiences for decades. His knowledge of the Brooklyn waterfront helped to form his characters in his play A View From the Bridge (1955) and powerful reflections upon his home town are revealed in The Price (1968).

 

New York’s most famous contemporary novelist is Paul Auster, who won international acclaim for The New York Trilogy (1987), a book comprising three novellas – City of Glass, Ghosts and The Locked Room – all set in New York. Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace’s Gotham (2001) is one of the most illuminating and readable histories of New York. One of the most striking works from the flurry of post-11 September 2001 publications is September 11: A Testimony (2001), assembled by press agency Reuters, with some of the most dramatic WorldTradeCenter photographic images.

Long_Island

New York Excursions

For a Half Day

 

Coney Island
Coney Island

Coney Island: Located just a 45-minute subway ride from Manhattan (on subway B, D, F or N to Stillwell Avenue), in south Brooklyn, Coney Island is a popular haunt for New Yorkers and tourists alike, because of its stretch of beach and historical amusement parks. Major attractions include the New York Aquarium, Surf Avenue and West Eighth Street (tel: (718) 265 3400; website: www.nyaquarium.com), located halfway to BrightonBeach. The Aquarium is open daily 1000–1630. Its Aquatheatre is home to dolphins and sea lions, the Sea Cliffs Exhibition, features walrus, penguins and giant Pacific octopus, while Discovery Cove is an interactive entertainment complex for children. Entrance is US$11 (concessions available). Coney Island’s amusement area comprises several amusement parks, featuring the Cyclone roller coaster and the Wonder Wheel, the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. Many visitors partake of a Nathan’s Famous hot dog on the boardwalk – a seaside treat for generations.

 

For a Whole Day

Long_Island

Long Island: Situated to the east of New York City, Long Island stretches for 190km (118 miles) into the Atlantic. Coastal parts of residential Long Island have some of the world’s most beautiful white-sand beaches and are popular with New Yorkers and tourists alike for weekend retreats. The north and south shores differ greatly. The south shore is fringed by almost continuous sandy shores, including such public beaches as JonesBeach (website: http://mta.info/lirr/beachbrochure/jonesbeach.htm) and gay-oriented Fire Island National Seashore (website: www.nps.gov/fiis), a ferry ride away.

 

Meanwhile, the north shore is more immediately beautiful; its cliffs topped with luxurious mansions and estates. The Hamptons combines the attractions of the well-to-do, such as shops and excellent restaurants, with wooded nature reserves filled with sand dunes and pristine stretches of accessible beach. A bicycle trip to The End, a nickname for the bohemian village of Montauk at the island’s eastern reach, could well be the pinnacle of a long summer weekend spent in a cottage or inn.

 

The quickest way to reach Long Island is via the Long Island Railroad from Penn Station, although numerous bus services cover most destinations. Parking permits for Long Island’s beaches are issued only to local residents. The Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, 330 Vanderbilt Motor Parkway (tel: (631) 951 3440 or (516) 951 3440 or (800) 386 6654; website: www.licvb.com) can provide further information.

National Hockey League

New York Sport

Boasting some of the USA’s top sports teams, acres of parkland and beaches and state-of-the-art sports complexes, New York is a sports hotbed, offering the very best in spectator sports and a comprehensive array of activities for lovers of the great outdoors. The city’s best indoor participant sports venue is the ultra-modern Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex, a 12-hectare (30-acre) facility situated on four beautifully restored early 20th-century piers at 23rd Street at West Side Highway, on the Hudson River. The complex has everything from a rock-climbing wall to an inline skating rink.

 

Visitors interested in tickets to the top sporting events in the city should book in advance, as seasonal sell-outs are not uncommon. Ticketmaster (tel: (212) 307 7171; website: www.ticketmaster.com) is the best and most recognised way for one to purchase a ticket to a New York sporting event.

 

Major_League_teams
Major League teams

With two Major League teams, the baseball season, which runs from April to October, attracts huge crowds to two major stadiums in the area. Shea Stadium, 123–01 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, Queens (tel: (718) 507 METS or 6387 or TIXX or 8499 for tickets), is home to the New York Mets (website: www.mets.com). The New York Yankees (website: www.yankees.com), the most successful baseball team in US history, can be found at Yankee Stadium, East 161st Street and River Avenue, in the Bronx (tel: (718) 293 6000).

 

The local basketball season runs from October to April. MadisonSquareGarden, Seventh Avenue, between 31st Street and 33rd Street, Manhattan (tel: (212) 465 6741; website: www.thegarden.com), is the home of the celebrated New York Knickerbockers, or Knicks (website: www.nba.com/knicks), as well as New York Liberty (website: www.wnba.com/liberty), the popular women’s team.

 

American football teams from New York include the Giants (tel: (201) 935 8222; website: www.giants.com) and New York Jets (tel: (516) 560 8200; website: www.newyorkjets.com). The American football season kicks off in September. These two leading teams now play in New Jersey, at the Giants Stadium, in the Meadowlands Sports Complex (tel: (201) 935 3900; website: www.meadowlands.com). Tickets sell out well in advance and there are long waiting lists.

 

National Hockey League
National Hockey League

Ice hockey is also hugely popular and the National Hockey League (NHL) teams include the local New York Rangers (website: www.newyorkrangers.com). The team plays at MadisonSquareGarden (see above). Other local teams include New York Islanders (tel: (800) 883 ISLES or (800) 8834 7537; website: www.newyorkislanders.com), whose home ground is the Nassau Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Turnpike, Uniondale (tel: (516) 794 9300; website: www.nassaucoliseum.com), and New Jersey Devils (website: www.newjerseydevils.com), who play at the Meadowlands Sports Complex (tel: (201) 935 3900; website: www.meadowlands.com).

 

The Arthur Ashe Stadium, Flushing Meadows, Queens, hosts the US Open Tennis Championships (website: www.usta.com), which takes place in late August to early September, featuring some of the world’s top seeded players.

 

Beaches: There are several beaches in New York City, such as Coney Island, BrightonBeach and Manhattan Beach. The best beaches for tanning and swimming, however, are located on Long Island (see Excursions).

 

Bowling: Bowlmor Lanes, 110 University Place, between 12th Street and 13th Street (tel: (212) 255 8188), is Manhattan’s premier bowling centre with 42 lanes and an atmosphere of 1950s kitsch. The venue, which serves pricey cocktails, becomes a veritable nightclub on some evenings, when it is open until the wee hours, with a DJ and glow-in-dark bowling on offer.

 

Fitness centres: The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers, Pier 60, 23rd Street (tel: (212) 336 6000; website: www.chelseapiers.com), is a 14,000sq-metre (150,000sq-foot) adult sports and fitness club. Facilities include an indoor track and swimming pool, sundecks, basketball courts, an indoor sand volleyball court, boxing ring, rock climbing wall and gym. Day membership passes cost US$50 and allow access to all facilities.

 

The Black Course at BethpageState Park
The Black Course at BethpageState Park

Golf: The Black Course at BethpageState Park, 99 Quaker Meeting House Road, Farmingdale (tel: (516) 249 0700), was the first public golf course to host the US Open. It is located just east of the city, on Long Island. Play costs approximately US$30, depending upon the course chosen. Clearview Golf Club, 202–12 Willets Point Boulevard (tel: (718) 225 4653), is open to the public for US$22 (weekdays) and US$24 (weekends). The Golf Club at Chelsea Piers, Pier 59, 23rd Street (tel: (212) 336 6400; website: www.chelseapiers.com), is America’s most high-tech super range. There is a 200-yard fairway, all-weather driving range, putting green and a full-service GolfAcademy. A session on the driving range starts at US$20 and prices rise with the number of balls used in session. American Golf (website: www.americangolf.com) allows online booking of tee times.

 

Horseracing: New Yorkers love the races and the main racetracks include Aqueduct Racetrack, OzonePark, Queens (tel: (718) 641 4700), and Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford (tel: (201) 935 8500).

 

Running: New York Road Runners Club, 9 East 89th Street, between Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue (tel: (212) 860 4455; website: www.nyrr.org), are the organisers of the NYC Marathon and promote the sport through races, events and publications.

 

Chelsea Marina at Chelsea Piers
Chelsea Marina at Chelsea Piers

Sailing: Chelsea Marina at Chelsea Piers, West 23rd Street (tel: (212) 336 5600; website: www.chelseapiers.com), is the city’s largest marina, featuring a sailing school as well as boats for dinner cruising and deep-sea fishing.

 

Skating/ice skating: The Roller Rinks at Chelsea Piers, Pier 62, 23rd Street (tel: (212) 336 6200; website: www.chelseapiers.com), has two indoor ice skating rinks, two outdoor in-line/roller skating rinks and a skate park. There are two outdoor ice skating rinks with skate hire in Central Park, 59th Street to 110th Street, and one in the Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue, 47th Street to 52nd Street (see Sightseeing).

 

Tennis: The tennis courts at Central Park, located at 93rd Street (tel: (212) 280 0201), are open to the public during the summer.

 

 

Bryant Park

New York, Further Distractions

American Museum of the Moving Image
American Museum of the Moving Image

American Museum of the Moving Image
A target destination for serious film buffs, the American Museum of the Moving Image is dedicated to film, television, video and interactive media. Attractions and facilities include classic movies screened daily in the Tut’s Fever Movie Palace; feature films shown at weekends in the Riklis Theater and interactive exhibitions, including a working film set and film editing demonstrations.

35th Avenue, at 36th Street, Astoria, Queens
Tel: (718) 784 0077 or 4520.

Transport: Subway N to Broadway, R or G to Steinway Street.
Opening hours: Tues–Fri 1200–1700, Sat and Sun 1100–1800.
Admission: US$10 (concessions available).

Bryant Park
Bryant Park

Bryant Park

Bryant Park, behind the New York Public Library, is reminiscent of Paris, with gravel pathways, green folding chairs and a manicured lawn. It is extremely popular during summer, especially as it offers free outdoor concerts and comedy shows. During Fashion Week, tents concealing the hallowed runways are set up for the seasonal haute couture fashion shows. Two lions flank the grand New York Public Library, with its entrance on Fifth Avenue, where visitors may tour the impressive reading rooms and literary exhibitions.

Between 40th Street and 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue
Tel: (212) 768 4242.
E‐mail: bprc@urbanmgt.com

Transport: Subway B, D, F, V and 7 to 42nd Street.
Opening hours: Daily 0700–1900 (Nov–Apr); Mon–Fri 0700–2300, Sat and Sun 0700–2000 (May, Sep and Oct); Mon–Fri 0700–2300, Sat and Sun 0700–2100 (Jun–Aug).
Admission: Free.

New York Public Library
New York Public Library

New York Public Library
Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street
Tel: (212) 930 0830 or 0800.

Opening hours: Tues–Wed. 1100–1930 Thurs–Sat 1000–1800.
Admission: Free.

Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal
Visitors to New York should take the opportunity to tour Grand Central Terminal, familiar to many as Grand Central Station. Situated in Midtown, just one block east of Bryant Park, it has historical and architectural importance and the celestial ceiling is remarkable. Free tours take place every Wednesday and Friday at 1230. The Wednesday tour is run by the Municipal Arts Society and departs from the information booth of the Grand Concourse, while the Friday tour, run by the Grand Central Partnership, meets in front of the Phillip Morris/Whitney Museum on 42nd Street. The station also boasts a fine dining concourse and a number of retail opportunities, including the Grand Central Market.

42nd Street, at Park Avenue
Tel: (212) 935 3960 (Wednesday tour) or 697 1245 (Friday tour) or 340 2210 (event hotline).
or www.newyorkled.com/grandcentral.htm
Transport: MTA Metro–North Railroad; subway 4, 5, 6, 7 and S; bus 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 42, 98, 101 and 102.
Opening hours: Daily 0530–0130.
Admission: Free.

Chrysler Building and Daily News Building
Many a tourist has had their breath taken away by the stunning chrome Chrysler Building. Unfortunately, tours are not available. Further down 42nd Street is the Daily News Building, with its lobby, made famous in the Superman films, which still contains the original 1923 large globe.

Chrysler Building
42nd Street at Lexington Avenue
Tel: (212) 682 3070.

Transport: Subway B, D, F, V and 7 to 42nd Street.
Opening hours: Visitors usually admitted into the lobby during weekday working hours; permission is essential as sneaking in may result in arrest.
Admission: Free.

Daily News Building
220 East 42nd Street
Transport: Subway B, D, F, V and 7 to 42nd Street.
Opening hours: Visitors usually admitted into the lobby during weekday working hours; permission is essential as sneaking in may result in arrest.
Admission: Free.

Dia Center
Dia Center

Dia Center
The Dia Center is dedicated to large‐scale, long‐term, single‐artist projects. The most famous is Dan Graham’s site‐specific glass installation on the roof, which reflects and distorts the surrounding views of Manhattan. Photographs of the bookshop have appeared in many design magazines.

548 West 22nd Street, between Tenth Avenue and 11th Avenue
Tel: (212) 989 5566. Fax: (212) 989 4055.

Transport: Subway C or E to 23rd Street.
Opening hours: Wed–Sun 1200–1800.
Admission: US$6 (concessions available).

The Lower East Side

This is New York’s landmark historic Jewish neighborhood, which was once the world’s largest Jewish community. It was here that the New York garment industry began. Today it is one of New York’s favorite bargain beats, where serious shoppers find fantastic bargains (especially along Orchard Street on a Sunday afternoon), cutting-edge new designers, and hot bars and music venues – and possibly the best place to get a great pastrami sandwich, pickles out of a barrel, and the world’s best bialys. Try Katz’s Delicatessen (205 East Houston St.), the oldest and largest real NY deli, founded in 1888.

lower_East_Side

Bounded by Houston Street, Canal Street, and the FDR Drive, the neighborhood’s center is Orchard Street. Once a Jewish wholesale enclave, this street is a true multicultural blend, with trendy boutiques, French cafés, and velvet-roped nightspots sprinkled among dry-goods discounters, Spanish bodegas, and mom-and-pop shops selling everything from T-shirts to designer fashions to menorahs. Orchard is lined with small shops purveying clothing and shoes at great prices. Grand, Orchard, and Delancey Streets are treasure troves for linens, towels, and other housewares, and the traditional Sunday street vendors (Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, is observed by many shopkeepers as a day of rest) offer great opportunities to hone your bargaining skills! At Shapiro’s Winery visitors can taste one of their 32 flavors of wine, and at Streit’s bakery, matzoh mavens can sample the freshly baked unleavened bread as it rolls off the conveyor belts behind the counter.

Timeline Touring offers insider tours that relate to this historic period by exploring the culture and heritage that existed then and still exists today. Transportation provided. Tours leave from the NYC visitor center.

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum interprets the area’s immigrant and migrant experiences through tours of a landmark 19th century tenement, living history programs, neighborhood walking tours, plays, and special programs. The first synagogue built by Eastern European Jews in America (1887) is the Eldridge Street Project, now a cultural center and gift shop.