Like most areas in New York City, the Lower East Side has seen a great deal of change over the years. What was once one of the most undesirable areas in the city has now become a mecca for the young and hip who flock there to indulge in drinking and music in some of the coolest venues in New York. Not to mention the incredible Lower East Side galleries! On a special Lower East Side tour you can experience everything this vibrant, fun area has to offer.
Best galleries to visit
One of biggest and best new additions to the Lower East Side in recent years has been the massive influx of art exhibits. There are now well over 100 Lower East Side galleries in the area displaying everything from performance art, conceptual pieces, intricate sculptures and bright bold pop art.
Possibly the most interesting art gallery to set up shop is VECTOR gallery. Curated by JJ Brine, the gallery showcases some very unique conceptual work and has been compared to Andy Warhol’s New York studio, The Factory.
Another gallery well worth a visit to is the slick Sperone Westwater gallery, which relocated from the West Village to a gorgeous eight-story glass building in the Lower East Side. Have a wander around and you will find pieces from internationally renowned artists in a wide variety of different media, all housed in one of the most stunning architectural spaces in the city.
As well as great Lower East Side galleries, this area also has a huge amount of fantastic bars. Whether you’re looking for a perfectly mixed cocktails or somewhere to swig cheap beer, the Lower East Side has a watering hole for you.
When it comes to the best craft cocktails, nowhere does them better than speakeasy bar, Attaboy. Unlike your typical cocktail bar Attaboy has no menu, the bar tender will simply ask you what flavours and types of alcohol you like and custom make you a cocktail then and there! The prices are slightly on the higher end but the quality of the drinks makes them well worth the money.
Slightly less pricey than Attaboy is the very bohemian Max Fish, a bar where there is always fun to be had. Here, you can grab a can of Tecate beer for just $4 while you play a game of pool and listen to classic Iggy Pop on the jukebox. If this bar isn’t the epitome of ‘New York cool’ then nowhere is.
There is a reason why so many of New York’s young and beautiful call the Lower East Side their favourite neighbourhood. It’s both quirky and hugely exciting with an energy that really needs to be experienced to be believed. Throw on your coolest outfit and head down there – you won’t be disappointed.
The Pond – This serene body of water at the park’s southeast corner offers an immediate retreat from the bustling city streets. The forested hill above the pond is the Hallet Nature Sanctuary, which is occasionally open to visitors (check the park’s website). The pond’s northern point is spanned by the famous Gapstow Bridge, which you’ll likely recognize from photos and films. The bridge over the pond, with the Plaza Hotel and skyline as backdrop, is a classic NYC view. This popular attraction allows visitors to view animals from three global zones – tropical, temperate and polar. Feeding times (11:30am, 2:00pm and 4:00pm) offer an opportunity to see the sea lions perform tricks for their meals. In the nearby Children’s Zoo, kids can interact with goats, sheep, a cow and other domestic animals. Open 10:00am – 5:00pm (5:30pm weekends) April through October. November to March the zoo closes at 4:30pm. Tickets are required to enter.