Saturday, August 1, 2009

Touring the LES again: "Its unloveliness remains resolute"

Helayne Seidman For The Washington Post

JoAnn Greco, a native New Yorker who frequented the LES as a child, moved to Philadelphia in 1991. She hasn't been back to the LES since then. Greco, a travel writer, did this piece -- Posh Meets Past on New York City's Lower East Side -- for The Washington Post.

A few of her observations.

As I exited the tour, I noticed that the street signs were marked "New York City Orchard Street Bargain District," even though $2 million apartments and $400 hotel rooms have invaded the area.


I peeked into the much-talked-about Hotel on Rivington, all mock mod with its white and red tubular entryway and Space Age touches. Its restaurant, however, celebrates the surroundings with a courtyard situated between picturesquely dilapidated tenements.


It was all very encouraging: newcomers embracing the past and oldsters stepping up to the future. The shop talk may have changed -- some 40 galleries can be found here -- and the eateries may have gotten fancier. Too many tenements have been defaced and even erased. But this place continues to feel different: Its unloveliness remains resolute, the Williamsburg Bridge still swoops off Delancey Street, and the jabber of multiple languages is ever-present. Endangered, maybe. But gone? Never.

Wonder what her opinion would have been after a visit on a Friday night.

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