Lower East Side
This area is approximately between East Houston St. (north), the East River (east), Manhattan Bridge (south), Bowery (west).
F, J, M
, Z (Delancey St./Essex St.); B
, D (Grand St.); J,
In the mid-1800s an increasing number of immigrants began to arrive in this area. They were Jews, Greeks, English, Irish, Italians, Poles, Russians, Romanians, Germans, Swedes, Slavs, Hungarians and mostly fled from poverty or war or religious persecution. Generally all these people were foreign to the type of life and culture of America, so they tended to lock themselves up in ghettos in an attempt to recreate that atmosphere familiar to them but now. In particular, after 1870, the considerable flow of Jewish immigrants from various European countries led to the formation of the largest group of Jews in the United States, which in 1920 reached 400,000 people.
The Lower East Side was therefore the first point of support in the new country for millions of immigrants, so much to become, at the end of 1800, the most densely populated area in the world (even more than India), with a density of 986 inhabitants per acre (243.646 per km2).
At the beginning of the 1900s, with the application of more restrictive laws on immigration, this enormous flow of people began to decline.
During this period radical artists and politicians began to settle in this area. In 1915 he opened the Henry Street Playhouse where artists such as the comedian, actor and screenwriter Eddie Cantor, the famous jazz player George Gershwin, the librettist and lyricist Ira Gershwin, the composer Irving Berlin, the singer, pianist and actor Jimmy Durante, the singer, actor and composer Al Jolson and the Marx Brothers, the well-known comic group formed by the five Marx brothers, performed.
After the Second World War it became the first neighborhood where there was racial integration with the arrival of blacks and Puerto Ricans. In the 60’s Jews and originating from Eastern European countries moved to other neighborhoods and later in the area spread poverty, crime and drugs. In the 1980s, the low cost of housing attracted middle-class people as well as Asians and Dominicans.
Today, restaurants, bars and boutiques are increasingly taking the place of cheap shops.
Kenneth T. Jackson, Lisa Keller, Nancy Flood
. The Encyclopedia of New York City: Second Edition
. Yale University Press, 2010. pp. 769-770
Lower East Side