New York Icons: Lower East Side

Bowery to Williamsburg.




Corlears Hook (1643)

Bialystoker Synagogue* (1826)

Henry Street Settlement (1827, founded 1893)

Once Upon a Mattress (2015)

Harry De Jur Playhouse* (1915)

Abrons Arts Center* (1975)

St. Augustine’s* (1828)

St. Mary Church* (1833)

Congregation Beth Hamedrash Hagadol (1850)

Angel Orensanz Center* (1850)

Jodamo Building (1850)

Congregation Chasam Sopher* (1853)

Tenement Museum (1863)

Eldridge Street Synagogue* (1887)

Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center* (1897)

The Rumor Mills* (late 1800s)

Rivington Street Public Baths* (1901)

Williamsburg Bridge (1903)

Seward Park (1903)

Church of Grace to Fujianese* (1905)

Yonah Shimmel’s Knish Bakery (1910)

When Harry Met Sally

Katz’s Delicatessen (1910)

Forward Building (1912)

Stanton Street Synagogue* (1913)

Russ & Daughters (1920)

University Settlement House* (1920)

The Back Room (1920s)

Kehila Kedosha Janina* (1927)

Seward Park Campus (1929)

Cooperative Village (1930)

Amalgamated Dwellings (1930)

Hillman Housing Corporation (1950)

East River Housing Corporation (1956)

Seward Park Housing Corporation (1959)

Nike x KAWS basketball court

Sara D. Roosevelt Park (1934)

Kossar’s Bialys (1960, founded 1936)

Manny Cantor Center* (1980)

Paul Taylor Dance Company (2011, founded 1957)

Attaboy (2012)

Honorable Mentions

  • Altman Luggage (1920). Consolidated in the 1970s with Bettinger’s Luggage Shop (founded 1914). Regular shoppers included Fred Gwynne and James Gandolfini.
  • A.W. Kaufman (1924). Third-generation European lingerie shop with most stock kept in stacked boxes.
  • Cohen’s Fashion Optical (1932). Longtime competitor of Hyman Moscot, Jack Cohen also started with a pushcart on Orchard Street in 1927. First store across the road from Moscot, now the flagship for over 100 locations.
  • Ideal Hosiery (1950s). Family-run and normally hosts neighborhood Jews during prayer. Boxes piled to the ceiling.
  • Moishes Bakery (1972).
  • Famous Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse (1975). Restaurant won in a poker game! The name comes from a sign that was already there from the previous restaurant (circa 1939) — nobody is Sammy or Romanian. Regular singing and dancing.
  • Harris Levy Fine Linens since 1894 (1963, founded 1894). Founded in 1894 as a pushcart and in 1963 expanded into a former 1800s premier catering hall (one of three) named Pearl’s Mansion.
  • The Slipper Room (1999). Burlesque and other performance artists. In 2001, fined and closed on two occasions for breaching the cabaret law — passed during Prohibition in which it was illegal for acts or patrons to dance without permission! Hung a “no dancing” sign then formed a coalition that changed the city’s law in 2018. Performers include Lady Gaga, Leonard Cohen, Scissor Sisters and U2.
  • Moscot Eyewear (2013, founded 1915). Started as a pushcart and operating a store on Orchard Street from 1936 until 2013 (relocated across the street). Fifth-generation family with an in-house band called the Moscot All-Stars.
  • Mercury Lounge (1993). Former servant’s residence to the Astor Mansion (connected to it by an underground labyrinth of tunnels), restaurant, tombstone retailer and current rock club. In 2000, The Strokes got their start here — and the Lounge’s booker quit to become the band’s manager!
  • Zarin Fabrics (1999, founded 1936). Last of the fabric warehouses of the LES. To advertise the new location after a fire in 1987, drove around with a bullhorn announcing “Come visit Harry Zarin Company’s new fabric warehouse — and don’t forget to vote!”
  • Sunshine Cinema (2001). Former site of the 600-seat Sunshine Theatre (1917, renamed Chopin Theatre in the 1930s) and operated as an indie cinema by Landmark until its close in 2018.
  • Daredevil Tattoo (2013, established 1997). Seven blocks from the original location, features tattoo memorabilia — including artwork by the man who patented the first electric tattoo machine. Clients include Boy George, Emma Roberts and Kelly Osbourne.



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