Lower East Side

The Lower East Side ( LES ) is the part of Manhattan in New York City, which is located at the southeastern end of the island on the East River.


The exact delimitation of the district is now done with the Houston Street to the north, Bowery to the west and the East River to the south and east. Up to the 60s, today's East Village counted as the northern part of the Lower East Side. Cultural workers and real estate agents forced the roll separation in order to distance themselves as of the slums in the southern area of the Lower East Side can.


Since the 17th century

1621 acquired the Dutch West India Company, the trading rights for the territory of present-day New Jersey to to New England. As a result, settled in 1624 30 Walloon families on the southern tip of present-day Manhattan ( Lower Manhattan ) and named their fortified settlement Nieuw Amsterdam. Their economic base provided the fur trade with the native indigenous population;

1626 acquired the Wesel businessman Peter Minuit, as one suspects the entire island of Manhattan for 60 guilders today and at the same time was thus the first governor of the island. With the Dutch West India Company, new settlers, but also African slaves who were employed in the now also rapidly developing agriculture came.

1656 Peter Stuyvesant did make a first map of Nieuw Amsterdam as the new governor of the settlement and sent them to his home, the Netherlands. The map showed 120 houses in which about 1,000 people lived. According to political infighting eventually took over the British in control of New Amsterdam and renamed it on February 2, 1664 in New York City at, named after the English noblemen, the Duke of York.

From all parts of Europe were more emigrants to the economically prosperous and fast-growing settlement to try their luck. Already about 1672 to 2500 people could count, in 1700 there were about 5,000 and about 60,000 in 1800. The Lower East Side quickly became the gateway for immigrants, and not just for New York City, but also for the rest of the entire United States.

Waves of immigration in the 19th century

1820 began the great Irish immigration wave in the Irish famine ( potato famine ) of 1845 culminated to 1849. When in 1855 the great German immigration began, New York City had more than half a million inhabitants. 1870 lived more than 170,000 German -speaking immigrants on the Lower East Side. They formed a neighborhood in the northern part of the Lower East Side, which was also known as Little Germany. At the same time, Little Italy to the west and southwest of it began to develop around the turn of the century around Chinatown. European Jews from Eastern Europe arrived in large numbers from 1880 added. By 1915, the Jewish immigrants accounted for nearly 60 % of the population of the Lower East Side. Life, culture and problems of immigrant Eastern European Jews on the Lower East Side has been vividly described in numerous works by Isaac Bashevis Singer.

Since the 1950s,

From the early 1940s until the late 1950s, large parts of the Lower East Side, in particular the district along the East River, extensive renovations were subjected to surface. These measures were in a time in which social housing was greatly expanded in New York City. In the densely built-up urban areas, such as the Lower East Side, this happened almost entirely at the expense of the existing buildings from the 19th century. One of the largest new housing developments, the Alfred E. Smith Houses are in the south of the Lower East Side next to the Brooklyn Bridge and the Baruch Houses.

As the gateway to immigration to the United States, the Lower East Side has been for centuries reservoir of cultures. The crucible has given a distinctive character because of linguistic diversity and the different religions of the neighborhood of Manhattan.

With the liberalization of immigration laws in the 1960s, immigrants were added from Latin America, Central America and from various Asian countries.

In the late 1990s, Chinatown has extended over parts of the Lower East Side and an exodus of the Jewish population was noticeable. The Poles, Italians and Ukrainians, who characterized the streets are given way to newer immigrants from Japan, Bangladesh and other Muslim countries.

Since the 1960s, an increasing appreciation ( gentrification ) of the East Village by hippies, musicians and bohemians who settled here and had extensive media coverage took place. In recent years, the tendency of the East Village has expanded to Trendy to the not yet renovated parts of the Lower East Side. This has rejuvenated the area and taken him to subbürgerlichen paint or made ​​the scenery. Many businesses and institutions that existed over several generations, are no longer to be found. The usual Sunday closure of Orchard Street is hardly necessary because the road dealers have almost disappeared in favor of new and more expensive boutiques. The area has become an entertainment district with many concert venues.

In the culture

The following films are set in the Lower East Side:

  • The film Once Upon a Time in America (1984 ) describes the childhood of the main characters in the Jewish Quarter 's Lower East Side in the 1920s.
  • Moonstruck, by Norman Jewison (1987 )
  • Crossing Delancey, by Joan Micklin Silver ( 1988)
  • Hester Street, by Abraham Cahan (1975 )
  • Harry and Sally, Rob Reiner (1989 )
  • Gangs of New York by Martin Scorsese (2001)
  • The Jazz Singer, by Alan Crossland (1927 )
  • The feature film Enemies - A Love Story (1989 ), by Paul Mazursky on a novel Isaac Bashevis Singer, who plays in the Jewish milieu of New York, is partly set in the Lower East Side.

The Lower East Side found in the following musical works mention:

  • Have released a rock musician Michael Monroe song " Ballad of the Lower East Side ( 2013) ", addresses the social transformation of the Lower East Side, since the 80s.