Friday, October 23, 2009

Lower East Side vs. the East Village



The Villager revisits the topic this week. So, if you live within the geographical boundaries of 14th Street to Houston, Fourth Avenue/Bowery to the East River, then is it the Lower East Side or the East Village? Opinions vary! Tempers flare!

Among the people weighing in on LES vs. EV is Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation:

“I think the East Village does have a clear identity separate from the broader Lower East Side, but it clearly also has an identity as part of it, as well,” stated Berman. “It seems that of late there has been a revival of that thinking, and I find many people, especially neighborhood activists, are seeking to rejoin the East Village to the broader Lower East Side and re-identify with it. Interestingly, this may reflect the fact that today the East Village and the Lower East Side in many ways share more in common than they have since the 1960s when the ‘East Village’ identity was first created and the blocks north of Houston St. began to develop a distinct ‘bohemian’ character.”

Both areas are struggling equally with issues of overdevelopment, large-scale gentrification and the difficulty of longtime residents and businesses being able to afford to stay here.

“Not only are they once again very similar in character,” Berman said of the two areas, “but I think in many ways they are seeking to hearken back to the days before the big high-rises, frat bars and exorbitant rents swept over the neighborhood — and the name ‘Lower East Side,’ which is less associated with the gentrification process than ‘East Village,’ may be one way of doing that.”

10 comments:

Mykola Dementiuk said...

I'm sure that calling it Lower East Side or East Village was a mind frame from the early Hippie days and real estate greed. To the tough boys of the Lower East Side we would never accept the name 'East Village', it meant pantsified faggot drivel. No way would I use that name in my teen years! Of course the years pass and the tough boys have disappeared from the Lower East Side and one by one they have fallen to the corporate building and ownership of the 'East Village' which has become another safe investment in money hungry New York. A horrible history greed will write for us...

Mick

www.mykoladementiuk.com

esquared said...

If one takes a look at the Subway Maps (top of the map) in the EV areas, LES (along with SoHo, NoHo, & Nolita) are part of the EV, at least according to MTA. Just saying.

Goggla said...

I've always felt a change in vibe when crossing Houston, so I consider that to be a definitive north-south dividing line. But, I know people who have lived here much longer and they still call the northern portion "LES".

Barbara Hanson said...

Cross Houston, it's the Lower East Side. Avenue A? EV. Essex Street? LES.

Jeremiah Moss said...

what if it's the other way around--and "Lower East Side" is now the hip symbol of hyper-gentrification and trendiness, the selling point for the real-estaters, while "East Village" sounds old and tired out?

Larry Slade said...

I used to live in the EV or the LES but now it seems that I live in Greater Avalon.

OneWhoKnowsandRemembersEverything said...

This is easy. Why must the know-nothings try to intellectualize all of this? The LES encompasses everything from approx Grand Street up till about 14th ST and 1st Avenue. The EAst Village was always everything between Houston and 14st and between the Bowery and the East River. I should know I grew up there (on Avenue D with the animals) long before the prettyboys, Hippies, Frat Boys, EV Grieve, Jermiah Moss, ad nauseum ever appeared. Now would everyone please shut up...Thanks and have a good day

evi said...

I'm almost 50 and I grew up on Avenue A too. I am a fourth generation East Village person...And it was always called the Lower East Side. In the 80's it was suddenly called the East Village and we laughed about how real estate people cooked up the name. No need to get self righteous about it.

OneWhoKnowsandRemembersEverything said...

Not self-righteous just bitchy and bothered about the nonsensical drivel that is wasted here by people who act like they know-it-all when in-fact they know shit. BTW, surviving Avenue D when we we were the
last white family in existance, gives me the right to be self-righteous, if I choose. OK?

RatherBeBiking said...

OneWhoKnows -

To those of us who were born around 1990' in the EAST VILLAGE thats what it is to us.

Below Houston is always LES. But LES can go above Houston. East Village cannot go past 14th and cannot go below Houston. 1st Avenue is the end of it for us if you're being strict about it.