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Your Guide to the Lower East Side NYC Neighborhood


Few neighborhoods exude cool like the Lower East Side NYC, but finding a home in this neighborhood can prove harder than you think.

Locking down an apartment or condo in Manhattan feels like a major accomplishment, but finding a home in one of the coolest parts of town is easier said than done. The Lower East Side NYC has cleaned itself up over the years, and now finds a perfect balance between offering up the perfect mix of nightlife, trendy apartments, and a touch of some of its grittier edges that helped it create punk rock and counterculture art.

The Lower East Side NYC generally stretches from the East River and the Bowery all the way to Canal and Houston street. This vibrant stretch of the city has attracted a broad range of businesses and residents over the years and has seen its fair share of NYC history.

This neighborhood ranks as one of the oldest in New York City, and has amassed a ton of history over the years. Old constructions vie against modern housing units, making the area one of the most sought-after NYC destinations to live in. The Lower East Side NYC has attracted its fair share of talent over the years. According to CUNY, Robert DeNiro, Lady Gaga, Comic-Writer Jack Kirby, and many more celebrities called this neighborhood home. This portion of Manhattan has found its fans over the years and ranks as one of the most established parts of the city thanks to its long history and deep roots that stretch back to the founding of NYC.

How the Lower East Side NYC got its start

You may never guess it, but the Lower East Side started off as farmland that supplied crops to the upper portions of the city. According to the New York Public Library, Dutch farmers claimed this portion of Manhattan, but were later replaced by English settlers in 1664. The area slowly developed, but mostly remained agricultural farmland until the 1800s when tenement housing started to replace the fields and marshes. By the 1930’s, waves of immigrants started arriving from Europe and many claimed the cheap housing that started to define this portion of the city.

Tenement Times

Everyone has heard about stereotypical cramped NYC apartments, but the original housing units from this period put modern stereotypes to shame. The Tenement Museum claims that it wouldn’t be unusual for a 10-person family to share an apartment during this time that only measured 325 square feet. The New York Times reports that the Lower East Side NYC also used to span a much greater area than it currently does — reports from this period placed the beginning of the neighborhood at approximately 14th street.

Overdevelopment of the Lower East Side at the beginning of the 20th century led to health problems, and diseases like tuberculosis affected many residents. The city expanded housing out by creating new developments and by the 1930’s, the Lower East Side saw far fewer health problems. Over the course of the century, the city tore down many of these old tenement houses and replaced them with new constructions.

Neighborhood Revitalization

By the 1960’s, the American countercultural movement was in full force – some folks who couldn’t get a foothold in Greenwich Village migrated to this neighborhood, while recent arrivals to the city started setting their roots down in the Lower East Side. Around the same time, art galleries started popping up and clubs started featuring local bands from the area. This portion of Manhattan started developing a reputation for producing punk rock and avant-garde art, helping finalize the transformation of the area that many are familiar with today.

While the Lower East Side NYC has seen buildings come and go, the neighborhood claims some of the best attractions in the city and anyone can easily make a day out of exploring this portion of Manhattan.

The Best Things to See and Do in the Lower East Side NYC

Culture Trip

You can easily find a million things to do in the Lower East Side NYC. According to Civitatis, you can’t go wrong exploring the area’s deep roots.This neighborhood claims some historic synagogues that you can tour, including the Eldridge Street Synagogue that dates back to 1887. It now functions as a museum and gives visitors a great view back into NYC’s past.

If you need to grab some gifts or just want to treat yourself, markets and boutiques like Tictail Market and Tani have a wide selection of handmade goods and specially selected oddities that can pique anyone’s interest.

In the afternoon, visitors need to hit up The Tenement Museum to see what the neighborhood looked like a hundred years ago, and shouldn’t miss the Lowline, the Lower East Side NYC’s answer to the Highline. This underground green space ranks as the world’s first underground park and features some sites that can’t be missed.

Eat and Drink

The Culture Trip recommends starting a day off here at a local coffee shop like Why Not Coffee or grabbing a donut at Doughnut Plant or Russ & Daughters.

Anyone who wants to grab some lunch can try to find a table at Katz’s Deli, one of the most iconic NYC diners around or hit up the bustling Essex Street Market that has made a name for itself thanks to numerous food vendors.

The restaurant scene in the Lower East Side easily ranks as one of the best around and denizens flock to the area for dinner. NYC Go recommends hotspots like Pig and Khao, Wayla, Scarr’s Pizza, and Ivan Ramen.

Night Life

The neighborhood truly comes to life at night and features some of the top clubs in NYC. Thrillist found that venues like Mercury Lounge and the Bowery Ballroom rank second to none when it comes to live indie music, while Mr. Purple’s rooftop bar shows off the New York skyline in style. If you want a cozier experience but still crave a cocktail, The Flower Shop or Clandestino have your name on them.

If all of these attractions sound like you, you might just have found your perfect NYC neighborhood. Finding a home in the Lower East Side can seem challenging at first, but knowing what to look for in an apartment or condo can make all the difference.

Where to Live in the Lower East Side NYC

If you can easily see yourself finding your own slice of NYC in the Lower East Side, you just need to figure out exactly where in the neighborhood to live. The New York Times scouted out the area in 2020 and found that some of the best deals in the area lie in buildings that date back to the 1930s. Twelve buildings that line Grant Street popped up to house trade union members but now rank as some of the more affordable homes in the area.

New developments like Essex Crossing have also caught the eye of many buyers. The construction features a wide swathe of designated affordable housing mixed in with businesses that include a Target, bowling alley, and an underground market called Market Line that comes complete with restaurants and boutiques.

If you can see yourself living in a brand new unit, you need to keep tabs on the 28-story tower going up on 222 E Broadway. The construction, designed by architect firm S4Architecture, features 70 units that range between studio apartments and four-bedrooms living spaces, with units averaging over 1,300 square feet.

These units appear attractive, but trying to budget out exactly how much to spend on your new home could make anyone’s head spin. By knowing the market price of units in the Lower East Side NYC, you can make an informed decision when it comes to tracking down your next home.

How Much Does it Cost to Live in the Lower East Side NYC?

Finding the right home in the Lower East Side takes a bit of planning. During 2020, The New York Times found that income-restricted one-bedroom, one-bathroom units averaged around $399,000 and required a joint household income of $40,176 for a 2-person family.

The most expensive unit in the neighborhood hit the market at $14 million and featured five bedrooms and five bathrooms. The cheapest rent prices spanned from about $1,500 on the low end, all the way to $50,000, and the median purchasing price of units sat at around $950,000. One-bedroom apartments went for about $775,000, while two-bedrooms sat at $962,500.

Prices in New York City don’t stay static for long, and the market constantly shifts. A 2-bed, 2-bath 1,000 square-foot unit on 208 Delancey Street currently sits at $1,899,000, while Keller Williams lists units in the area that range between $599,000 and $2,250,000. The pandemic marked a shift towards affordable prices and based on market prices, you couldn’t ask for a better time to buy a new home in this neighborhood.

How to Find Your Perfect Home in the Lower East Side NYC

The Lower East Side has attracted tons of residents over the year for good reason. If you can easily see yourself in the Lower East Side NYC, you need a team of experts on your side that know the ins and outs of the neighborhood. Luckily, NewDevRev has hot listings of some of the latest units that just hit the NYC market and a full staff ready to help you find your new forever home.

Let the real estate experts at NewDevRev help you find your dream apartment today!