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Thread: Manhattan Neighborhoods

  1. #1
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Default Manhattan Neighborhoods

    Sugar Hill, Manhattan:

    Sugar Hill: Reclaiming a Place Where the Music Once Played

    Published: June 6, 2004

    WHEN Duke Ellington made "Take the `A' Train" his theme song in 1942, he established forever in music what everyone already knew. Sugar Hill was the place to go, the place to be, in Harlem. He lived on Sugar Hill and so did his collaborator Billy Strayhorn, who scribbled down the tune when the homesick band was playing in Chicago.

    Sugar Hill, a ritzy neighborhood for the black bourgeoisie. Sugar Hill, the mythic center of the Harlem Renaissance between the World Wars. Sugar Hill, the good life.

    For decades, African-Americans all over the country dreamed of living on Sugar Hill, but throughout its history, it has drawn people of all hues and nationalities.

    "The biggest misconception about Sugar Hill is that at any time it was all black," said Willie Kathryn Suggs, a former ABC television producer who became a realtor after buying a Sugar Hill town house two decades ago. "Of all the Harlem neighborhoods, it has always been the most diverse."

    The word "hill," too, is misleading, because the neighborhood, part of Hamilton Heights, perches on a bluff high above the Harlem Plain. When affluent and influential African-Americans began moving in after World War I, the name "Sugar Hill" came into use, probably because "sugar" was said to signify money and the sweet life. David Levering Lewis, describing it in "When Harlem Was in Vogue," wrote that in 1929 "Sugar Hill, a citadel of stately apartment buildings and liveried doormen on a rock, soared above the Polo Grounds and the rest of Harlem like a city of the Incas."

    In its broadest geographic definition, Sugar Hill extends westward from Edgecombe Avenue to Amsterdam Avenue. The southern boundary sometimes is placed at 145th Street, or into the West 130's where the topography starts climbing toward Coogan's Bluff. But the heart of Sugar Hill is in the Hamilton Heights-Sugar Hill Historic District between 145th and 155th Streets, from Edgecombe Avenue to a border approaching Amsterdam and squiggling down to Convent Avenue.

    In those few blocks lived pioneering civil rights activists like W. E. B. Du Bois, Walter White, Roy Wilkins and the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Sr.; writers like Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison and Zora Neale Hurston; musicians like Paul Robeson and Cab Calloway; and professionals like Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to become a United States Supreme Court justice. Even into the late 1950's, Sugar Hill still delivered the good life, older residents recall, but by the 1970's, many of the row houses had been divided into rooming houses and heroin was sold on the streets.

    Another renaissance is under way as Sugar Hill addresses regain some of their old cachet, pumped up by the hot real estate market and by the neighborhood's activist tradition. Prospective buyers come from downtown, Europe and Asia to bid on 19th-century town houses, some priced at considerably more than $2 million. African-American professionals have rediscovered the neighborhood. Actors by the dozens rent in historic apartment buildings.

    The Hamilton Grange Public Library, which closed all but the first floor in the 1970's, recently completed a $1.2 million renovation. Jazz headliners downtown head uptown to jam at St. Nick's Pub. The Dance Theater of Harlem has its headquarters on West 152nd Street. When the 16th annual Hamilton Heights House and Garden Tour takes place today, half of the properties being shown will be in the heart of Sugar Hill.

    The neighborhood has not fully returned to its old glory, however. The stately apartment buildings do not have the liveried doormen of days past, for instance. "It is the extremes right now," said Nora Cole, an actor, who on a Saturday morning was weeding one of two pocket parks maintained by volunteers on Edgecombe Avenue above Jackie Robinson Park, the old Colonial Park.

    A SOLID core of well-to-do African-American families passes properties from generation to generation, yet other residents still toss disposable diapers into the Edgecombe pocket park, Ms. Cole said. Overall crime rates have dropped more than 60 percent in the last decade, according to statistics from the 30th Precinct, but drugs are still sold on some street corners.

    Paula Hill, with three children under 8, says the attraction is space, which sometimes includes a backyard, and the parks in every direction. But most of all, it's the sense of community, she said. "In seven years in Greenwich Village nobody knew us, but here we have a parents' network to help each other out and address issues like schools," she said. Through it, more than 90 families keep in touch online.

    While many children attend private schools in the city, a group of parents has established the Hamilton Heights Academy, an alternative school with a diverse socioeconomic mix and a progressive curriculum, within Public School 125. Ultimately to have kindergarten through eighth grade, the academy will enroll about 100 students next fall in kindergarten through second grade. Also in the neighborhood is Mott Hall (Intermediate School 223), with an academically rigorous program in math, science and technology for the fourth through eighth grades.

    Until the Eighth Avenue elevated railroad reached 145th Street in 1879, the area was mostly rural, a country-home favorite because of its cool breezes. Alexander Hamilton's last home, the Grange, originally stood at what is now 143rd Street and Convent Avenue. The national memorial was moved to 287 Convent Avenue in Hamilton Heights in 1889.

    Residential development took off between the 1880's and World War I, spurred by subway construction in 1904. Many lots are only 16 feet wide, but architects like Henri Fouchaux and Frederick P. Dinkelberg designed block-long compositions for white upper-class clients.

    Luxury apartment houses followed in the early 1900's. The Colonial Parkway Apartments at 409 Edgecombe became Sugar Hill's most desirable address with tenants like Jules Bledsoe, who sang "Ol' Man River" in "Show Boat." The six-story Garrison Apartments, originally named Emsworth Hall, built on Convent Avenue in 1910, opened as an African-American co-op in 1929. When an apartment becomes available, it is quickly snatched up, says Nancy Love, an agent with the Corcoran Group. A two-bedroom apartment listed at $300,000 was on the market less than a week this spring.

    More recent construction includes the 1956 Hillview Apartments, which since 1999 has been popular among foreigners seeking pieds--terre in Harlem. A prewar building on Convent has just been converted into the 10-unit Sugar Hill Condominiums, which quickly sold out with prices ranging from $339,000 to $449,000. The Bradhurst Urban Renewal Area south of 143rd and east of Edgecombe is being developed for middle-income families, adding a chain supermarket and pharmacy within walking distance of Sugar Hill.

    The biggest real estate activity is in row houses, many of which haven't been on the market in decades, if ever. More are on the market now because the owners are dying or becoming too infirm to climb the stairs.

    Some properties are little more than shells. Lawrence Comroe, a vice president at Corcoran, said that a facade without a roof runs around $575,000 and up.

    At the other end of the spectrum is a 114-year-old town house with well-maintained original details like basket-weave lattice, offered for $2.3 million.

    In between are town houses in need of considerable renovation. Lorraine D. Gilbert of ReMax Upscale Properties sees more buyers restoring rooming houses to their original single-family status, but buildings "without issues" claims from tenants command higher prices.

    But anyone planning to rent or buy in the neighborhood should consider more than real estate values, the people who live on Sugar Hill say. It's not just high ceilings, parquet floors and gracious space. It's involvement, beginning with the early N.A.A.C.P. leaders and continuing today among parents working for better neighborhood schools.

    Even in the worst of times, Sugar Hill residents speak up. A small group of female volunteers in 1985 reclaimed an eyesore triangle plot at St. Nicholas and Convent Avenues. Led by Luana Robinson, the women created a Convent Garden, today a jewel of green space with lush grass, flower beds and a gazebo.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
    Last edited by krulltime; April 13th, 2005 at 05:45 PM.

  2. #2
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    Manhattan - UWS


    Yorkville, Manhattan:

    Despite Upper East Side pedigree, Yorkville still affordable

    By Eric Marx
    July 2004

    Viewed by some as one of the most affordable areas in Manhattan despite its Upper East Side pedigree, Yorkville has seen a continuous 10-year building boom that has kept inventory plentiful, although prices have begun to rise, as they have throughout the rest of the city.

    A 65-block area running from 79th to 96th Street and Third to East End Avenue, Yorkville is still very much a neighborhood of contrasts - somewhat undervalued but affluent. The area attracts fresh-out-of-school graduates looking for affordable studios and one-bedrooms in the side street walkups or high-rise apartments west of Second Avenue on 79th, 86th or 96th Streets, as well as families with young children who want to be near East End's Carl Schulz Park.

    A neighborhood bursting at the seams with residential high-rise development, Yorkville is often associated with the towering edifices that, according to old-time residents, make the area around First, Second and Third Avenues somewhat cold and forbidding.

    A serene, small-town residential feel still dominates the low-lying townhouses and prewar tenement buildings that dot the side streets. Further east along York and East End Avenues' rolling promenades, open green spaces and discreet restaurants and shops lend the neighborhood a parochial, even folksy air.

    "It used to be much more of a bargain than it is now," said Seiglinda O'Donnell, a 30-plus-year East End resident and vice president with William B. May. She offered as an example a three-bedroom post-war apartment on 86th Street between First and York Avenues, which she sold for $452,000 four years ago and which has since doubled to $925,000.

    Recently built high-end buildings such as the Chartwell House (finished in 2001) on Second Avenue between 91st and 92nd Streets and the Philip Johnson-designed Metropolitan at 90th and Third Avenue (nearing completion) filled up quickly and are near 100 percent occupancy, noted Gordon Golub, manager of Citi-Habitats' East 84th Street office.

    With interest rates rising, many buyers are turning to the rental market instead, and rental prices for high-end apartments in the area have increased more than 10 percent in the past six months, according to Golub.

    Overall, in the past four years, about 1,000 rental units have been developed along First Avenue in the high 80s and low 90s, most of them in the $2,400 to $5,000 a month range, Golub said.

    Older luxury high-rise buildings such as the Normandie Court at Third Avenue and 95th Street are also seeking to draw more high-end renters by combining units to draw families to the building.

    "We've already noticed a change in more married couple types and families," said John Sutherland, director of leasing for Ogden Cap Properties, which manages the Normandie Court, a 20-year-old 1,477-unit complex that has a reputation as one of the most affordable high-rise buildings in Manhattan.

    In recent months, the Normandie added a children's playroom and renovated its apartments, with particular attention focused on combining units to form larger two and three-bedroom apartments.

    "We still have a number of people fresh out of college and sharing units, but the big difference is they're paying more money," Sutherland said of the building, which has earned the nickname "Dormandy Court" because of its young population.

    Sutherland said rents have increased roughly 10 percent at the Normandie in the past six months, part of the first sustained resurgence for rentals in the city since Sept. 11.

    Going forward, in addition to expansion northward, the neighborhood could soon see new residential development at the site formerly known as Doctor's Hospital on East End Avenue, opposite Gracie Mansion. The trustees of Beth Israel Hospital voted in May to sell the site, and have reportedly attracted over 40 bids, most of which have plans for residential development. The site could be one of the most valuable sold for development in years.

    With the new and existing development, Yorkville's density is a concern to
    some residents and community activists like Gorman Reilly, president of CIVITAS, a zoning land use and neighborhood advocacy group. Reilly said the population is taking a toll on the transportation infrastructure in the area. "The M15 is the most heavily used bus route in the city, if not the nation, and it's difficult to make any time [getting downtown]," Reilly said. He is lobbying the MTA for a rapid transit bus service for the area.

    While the planned Second Avenue subway line - if it's ever completed- could ease transportation woes, it would also spur on more condo and retail development as the area continues to evolve, said O'Donnell - something that she and other residents in the area said they welcomed.

    "Up until six months ago Fresh Direct refused to deliver to the neighborhood," said O'Donnell. "And now we have a health spa. We're thrilled to pieces. The only thing we don't have is a museum and a department store."

    Copyright 2003-2004 The Real Deal.
    Last edited by krulltime; April 27th, 2005 at 12:23 PM.

  3. #3
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    Washington Heights, Manhattan:


    July 28, 2004

    Just about everything is rising in Washington Heights these days.

    Rents, businesses, foot traffic everything is on the rise, except the crime rate.

    "I call it the wow factor," said NYPD Deputy Inspector Jason Wilcox, 39, the 33rd Precinct's Commanding Officer.

    "The police say, 'Wow, look at that. BBQ's is here and steakhouses are opening up' . . . You can't help it."

    The same street corners that once served as open-air markets for drug dealers are now home to chi-chi restaurants. And street life above 155th Street in Manhattan now means shoppers, and even bar-hoppers, after dark.

    "It's an entirely different ballgame here in Washington Heights," said David Hunt, a native of neighboring Inwood and co-owner of Coogan's Bar. "Sure, the crime stats are way down, but the whole tenor of the neighborhood has changed."

    Hunt said 10 years ago, one of Coogan's main selling points was the feeling of security "to be in off the streets." Now, he is considering opening a sidewalk cafe.

    "It seems now the street crime is nonexistent," he said.

    Not quite, but things are moving that way.

    In the 33rd and 34th precincts covering Inwood and Washington Heights, murder has decreased more than 80 percent in the past 10 years. Rape is down more than 50 percent, and crime overall has plummeted almost 70 percent since 1994.

    Veteran cops say the decline is the result of a multilayered approach. The most important, they say, was the 1994 creation of the 33rd Precinct, which greatly alleviated the stress on one of New York City's most thinly spread police stations.

    "It was really big," said Wilcox, who was a sergeant in the 34th Precinct in the early 1990s. "The 34th Precinct was just tremendous in size and it was almost overwhelming because you had a lot of crime and a lot of area to cover. It was just too much."

    Anti-narcotics programs in the area such as the Northern Manhattan Initiative and model-block program also took a hefty bite out of crime.

    "In 1996 or so, we began to see a turnaround in the level of crime and the overall quality of life," said Walther Delgado, president of the Audubon Partnership for Economic Development.

    Banks stopped abandoning the area, chain stores started to show an interest in the neighborhood, and longtime residents began to feel comfortable investing their money in the area, Delgado said.

    In addition to crime reduction, Delgado credits a large part of the resurgence of Washington Heights and Inwood to the increasing business savvy of first-generation Dominican-Americans and those who grew up in the neighborhood and went on to college.

    But not all of the area's changes are homegrown. Wealthy New Yorkers also have sought residences in Washington Heights and Inwood.

    As a result, income and rent averages in the area are swiftly soaring.

    "People are getting priced out," said Delgado.

    Old-timers like Hunt say they hope rents and real-estate prices start to stabilize. But in the meantime, the old and new elements still sit comfortably side by side at Coogan's.

    "They all get along," Hunt said. "I haven't sensed any anti-gentrification among the older crowd."

    Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc.
    Last edited by krulltime; April 13th, 2005 at 05:47 PM.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by krulltime

    "Up until six months ago Fresh Direct refused to deliver to the neighborhood," said O'Donnell. "And now we have a health spa. We're thrilled to pieces. The only thing we don't have is a museum and a department store."
    Why would have Fresh Direct refused to deliver to the neighborhood?

  5. #5


    I'm absolutely certain that the Fresh Direct truck drivers weren't too frightened to deliver groceries to Yorkville. They probably just hadn't expanded the delivery area to include it.

    The fact that Ms. O'Donnell thinks Museum Mile is just too darn far away is pretty funny.

  6. #6
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    Fresh Direct has been expanding its service in Manhattan for a while.

    This is from their website: "We deliver to certain neighborhoods in New York. Very soon, we'll be delivering to every address in Manhattan as well as parts of Brooklyn and Queens."

  7. #7


    Does Yorkville have a history of high crime?

  8. #8


    Not in the least. I think the only way it could be considered a rough area is if your standard is based upon the Gold Coast.

  9. #9
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    Upper West Side, Manhattan:

    April 2005

    Looking Back: On UWS, from sleazy to staid

    By Philana Patterson

    Tourists and newcomers to New York might find it hard to believe that the word "sleazy" could be used to characterize the Upper West Side, but that's just how the New York Times described Broadway between 59th and 96th streets in a 1982 article, which credited the area with a "sleazy vitality" that improved on its condition in the previous decade. At the time, in the midst of its early- 80's redevelopment, the ambiance was becoming "genteel, even prissy" and "increasingly successful at attracting the class of young affluent professionals who have for so long felt at home on the Upper East Side," the Times reported.

    Today, Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue are lined with restaurants--some with white tablecloths and candles, some less classy--as well as boutiques and national chain stores such as Victoria's Secret and Pottery Barn. Housing prices have increased by extraordinary lengths since the Gray Lady weighed in back then, and now the Upper West Side has relative pricing uniformity up as far as 110th Street.

    For decades, property values on the West Side trailed far behind those of the East Side, but in 1979, the margin narrowed dramatically, almost overnight, wrote Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group, in her book "Use What You've Got, and Other Business Lessons I Learned from My Mom."

    The reason for the speedy gentrification, according to Corcoran: the "thirty-something" children of affluent parents on the East Side were moving in. She ignored naysayers who she said called her "crazy" and opened a huge West Side office to capitalize on the influx.

    The Upper West Side's rejuvenation happened despite abundant graffiti, abandoned buildings and the city's fiscal crisis. At the same time neighborhoods such as the East Side, Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Yorkville and Park Slope were transformed by an urban-style social revolt.

    Baby boomers rejected the lifestyles and values of their parents and "moved to rural Vermont or back to the city that Mom and Dad fled," according to the Times. On the Upper West Side that often meant moving in to new construction or renovating old brownstones and hotels. At the time, the changes were expected to push poor residents from the neighborhood, and as observers correctly predicted put the squeeze to many middle-class residents as well.

    Today, the Upper West Side is synonymous with a sort of settled, familial affluence. The asking price of a five-story townhouse recently listed by Corcoran is $8.25 million, an unimaginable price 20 years ago. Two-bedroom co-op apartments averaged more than $1 million last year, and two-bedroom condos around $1.7 million. Prices reach up to $23.5 million, the asking price for three adjoining apartments being sold in the legendary San Remo that could set a record for the most expensive apartment on Central Park West.

    Copyright 2003-2005 The Real Deal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schadenfrau
    Port Morris has less crime than Williamsburg and is located in what's famously the poorest congressional district in the United States.

    I think you're confusing the outward trappings of prosperity with actual progress.
    If that's true, great. I'd love to see the latest numbers.

    I have a question, is Port Morris mostly industrial? Does this include South and North Williamsburg, because South Williamsburg, I think, has a lot more crime than the much more gentrified Northern section?

    Even if this is true, this is surely the exception and not the rule. It's pretty basic if you look at it. The city has seen some tremendous gentrification over the last decade or so, either by Yuppies or by immigrants that have money or work and get money. Not surprisingly, crime has plummeted in that time. It's a lot more than a coincidence.

    The same can be said of rehabilitation of buildings, development of vacant lots, cleaning of streets, graffiti, etc.

    Without the middle, upper middle, and (especially) wealthy, the poor in this city would be a lot worse off. Who do you think pays all those lovely taxes? Who pays for all that Medicaid?

    What is considered BAD gentrification? Is it the artists moving into slums? Is is the banker pushing out the artist? Is it the Jamaican immigrant pushing out the American black? Is is the Chinese and Koreans pricing out the middle income whites? What's the problem? Why is it someone who likes lattes and steak frites should have less rights then someone who likes Oxtail soup or Paella? Please, explain.

  11. #11


    Crime stats and neighborhood borders are readily available on

    Quote Originally Posted by billyblancoNYC
    Why is it someone who likes lattes and steak frites should have less rights then someone who likes Oxtail soup or Paella? Please, explain.
    I assume that you're suggesting rich white people like the former and poor brown people prefer the latter?

    Working with that in mind, I'm perplexed as to how you've come to the conclusion that the wealthy have "less rights" than poor people. Money brings privilege and the capacity for choice.

    If someone comes along and wants to force you out of your home by paying double the rent, you've pretty much got no choice in the matter. You will have to leave. If you're a poor person, chances are slim that you're going to find an affordable new place to live anywhere in the city, because you were maxing yourself out with what you had been paying.

    Thus, the latte-lover inherently has more rights than the poor could ever dream of.
    Last edited by Schadenfrau; July 8th, 2005 at 06:07 PM.

  12. #12
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    NYC - Financial District


    Cheek by Jowl

    Patrons at La Bottega restaurant on Ninth Avenue have a view of Fulton Houses, a public housing complex.


    Published: July 10, 2005

    IVAN LOPEZ, an unemployed forklift operator who has lived most of his life in Chelsea, was chatting about his recent lunch with Harrison Ford, a newcomer to the neighborhood. "I met him at La Taza de Oro," Mr. Lopez said, referring to a small rice-and-beans shop on Eighth Avenue.

    "Well, I didn't really meet him," he admitted. "I was sitting there, and he was so close." Mr. Lopez could hear Mr. Ford talking about the luxurious loft he had bought. "I got his autograph."

    This is today's Chelsea, a neighborhood of sometimes stunning cheek-by-jowl incongruity, where no one was at all surprised the other day to see a wrinkled Latino man in a Panama hat tooling up Ninth Avenue in a motorized wheelchair past two impeccably coiffed blond men in tuxedos hailing a cab.

    But perhaps the biggest incongruity is this: On Ninth Avenue, in the middle of $2.7 million penthouses on West 19th Street and $3,400 jackets at Chelsea Market, stand Fulton Houses, the 944-unit public housing project stretching from 16th to 19th Streets. Although the average Chelsea household earned about $83,000 in 2000, the most recent year for which data is available, average household income among the 2,215 residents of Fulton Houses is just under $25,000.

    Once, the two worlds were more similar. When Fulton Houses' 11 brick buildings were completed in 1965, the economic divide between the project's residents and those in the predominantly working-class neighborhood around it was far less pronounced. The average household income at Fulton was $5,408 in 1970, while the average Chelsea household earned $8,505.

    But the character of Chelsea has evolved considerably. Gentrification proceeded gradually in the 1960's and 70's, gathering force in the late 80's and 90's with an accelerating influx of gay professionals and middle-class families. Bodegas and workingman's bars gave way to upscale restaurants. The 1990's also brought Chelsea Piers and a thriving gallery scene in West Chelsea, lending an air of hip prestige that has helped drive real estate prices skyward.

    Other neighborhoods have experienced rampant gentrification around public housing. But as Chelsea becomes a place where two restaurants within three blocks have bathroom valets, the changes around Fulton vividly demonstrate what happens when a mixed-income neighborhood is pressed by forces of wealth and fabulousness.

    And the area is poised to transform further still. Late last month, the City Council approved a plan to rezone 68 acres of far west Chelsea between 16th and 30th Streets. The centerpiece of the plan is the transformation of the High Line elevated railway into a 22-block-long ribbon of green space, but the rezoning will also add 5,500 units of housing to the neighborhood.

    While the plan calls for about 1,200 of the units to be affordable to households with low, moderate and middle incomes, the remaining 4,300 would be market rate. And in Chelsea's sizzling real estate environment, where the median sale price of a three-bedroom condominium is currently $3 million, that means even more luxury will be bumping up against Fulton Houses.

    As these waves of wealth wash up on its shores, some inside the complex feel increasingly cut off.

    "We're an isolated little island," said Ann Marie Baronowski, secretary of the Fulton Houses Tenants Association. "We have great apartments and great rent, but we can't afford to do anything here. The only thing we can afford is Western Beef. There are no restaurants you can afford, no food shops you can afford, no clothing stores you can afford. You're living here, but basically all you can do is sleep here."

    Inside the Brick Towers

    Thursday through Sunday nights, the Fulton Houses apartment of Sonia Jamison throbs with music, laughter and alcohol-tinged conviviality. Unfortunately for her, this good cheer originates not in her home but across Ninth Avenue in the Maritime Hotel building at 17th Street, where La Bottega's restaurant, cafe and two cabanas regularly overflow with well-dressed night owls.

    "I have never been over there because I can't afford that," Ms. Jamison said one recent afternoon while chatting with friends in a Fulton Houses playground. "But I see who goes in and out of there: movie stars, P. Diddy, Jay-Z. A couple weeks ago, some guys came out of there arguing and fighting because they were drunk."

    Ms. Jamison, a mother of three who works as a bank customer sales representative, jabbed a finger toward the gleaming white hotel. "They put it right across the street from the project," she said, her anger building. "The bottom line is, it's for rich people."

    Not everyone living in Fulton Houses resents the presence of trendy newcomers like the Maritime, the former home of a sailors' union that was redeveloped in 2003.

    "Because I work and my whole family is successful, I appreciate this," David Nelson, a supervisor at United Parcel Service, said of the proximity of upscale clubs and restaurants. Mr. Nelson, who had just returned from his shift and was sitting on a playground bench, talked proudly about his eldest son, a 25-year-old movie actor whose mother grew up in Fulton Houses with famous siblings, the Wayans brothers comedians.

    "It brings up the whole area," Mr. Nelson said of the high-end new businesses. "The problem is the drug dealers. If you're building around projects and you bring clientele to places around here, you're making them more money."

    A Golden-Lit Playground

    The midnight scene at the Maritime Hotel on a recent Saturday looked like a cross between Times Square and Tavern on the Green. Honking cabs lined up two deep along Ninth Avenue, disgorging well-scrubbed young men along with young women clutching designer handbags. A white Hummer stretch limo glided by. Above the raised plaza of La Bottega, glowing Chinese lanterns wafted in the breeze, hovering bowls of inviting golden light that provided a striking contrast to the mostly darkened windows of the Fulton Houses across the street.

    In the northern cabana atop La Bottega's restaurant, accessible only through two sets of gatekeepers, young patrons sipped martinis and grooved to Foxy Brown's new single, "Come Fly With Me."

    Maurice Rodriguez, the Maritime's director of operations, said petty theft had been a problem, and attributed it to young people from Fulton Houses. "In fact," he said, "on Thursday night we caught two kids who lived in the projects purse snatching." Mr. Rodriguez said that the two youths had told the hotel's security staff that they lived in Fulton Houses.

    Law enforcement officials said they saw no pattern of Fulton Houses residents' being arrested for robbery.

    Many patrons, meanwhile, were oblivious to the proximity of Fulton Houses. "Are they projects?" asked Lianne Graubart, a Chelsea resident and real estate agent, when told that a public housing complex sat across the street. "Are they really projects? Really?"

    "Housing projects? No way," added her boyfriend, Morris Amiri, an asset manager who was wearing a white linen shirt, True Religion jeans and a tan acquired while attending a friend's wedding in Maui. "That's sad. They're all screwed up, and we're over here having a good time. I hope they're not going to be chased out."

    Between shots of Patron tequila, he added: "The rich are getting so rich, and the poor are getting more poor, so you're seeing a situation where extravagance is driving people's happiness. The more they get, the more they want."

    Exit the Middle Class

    Melva Max, a funkily elegant restaurateur who opened the unpretentious French bistro La Lunchonette on 18th Street and 10th Avenue with her chef husband in 1988, is not among those who want more extravagance in Chelsea.

    "I'm happy about a lot of the changes, like the galleries, but now it's going too far," she said the other day, pointing to lots down the block from the projects where luxury condominiums are slated to rise. "The building of all these super, very, very expensive apartments is disturbing to me."

    Ms. Max, who lives in a rent-stabilized apartment, noted that many customers had been priced out of the area by rising rents, while friends had sold their brownstones for $5 million and moved away. "These are like normal people, really working-class, middle-class people with kids," she said. "And it's just shocking to me that they're all selling and moving out. I just feel kind of sad."

    The New, the Rich

    Some people buy used mattresses on the Craigslist Web site. Austin Nagel, a 22-year-old Brooklyn real estate developer, bought a $2.7 million triplex penthouse in Chelsea Club, an icy-chic luxury condominium, 12 stories of tinted glass and cast stone rising on the site of a former parking lot on 19th Street near 10th Avenue.

    Mr. Nagel, who has made a quick fortune turning Brooklyn Heights town houses into condos, stood atop his private roof recently and grew giddy as he scanned his sweeping views. He surveyed Chelsea Piers, where he works out; the high-rise where his acupuncturist keeps his office; docked boats bobbing in the glittering Hudson River; and the blocklong Chelsea Market, where one of his new neighbors, a celebrity hair-and-makeup artist, stores fine wines in the Chelsea Wine Vault. He also surveyed the dingy brick buildings of Fulton Houses, where the average monthly rent is $348.

    "It doesn't even bother me that I'm looking over this," he said of the project. "These people will talk with you if you talk to them. You'll see them when you're walking your dog. They'll say, 'What's up?' They'll get to know you. On the Upper East Side, no one will talk to you."

    Isolated by Affluence?

    Inside the concrete-block-walled office of the Fulton Houses Tenants Association, the group's president, Jimmy Pelsey, sat with a few of the association's members and discussed the scarcity of neighborhood jobs for Fulton residents. A parade of new upscale Chelsea businesses had promised employment for Fulton residents at meetings of Community Board 4, only to later break their word, said Mr. Pelsey, who is a board member.

    When Richard Born, a co-owner of the Maritime, sought a variance in 2001 to add two structures to its raised plaza, Mr. Pelsey said, "I asked in Community Board 4, 'What are you going to offer to people in the development?' " Mr. Born, board minutes show, replied that 90 percent of his project's 150 to 175 jobs would be open to the community. Later, said Miguel Acevedo, another board member, "I personally brought over 150 applicants with applications." But according to the two men, no Fulton residents were hired.

    "We have several people that live within walking distance that work here," said Mr. Rodriguez, the Maritime's director of operations, who oversees most of the business's 450 employees, including one living in Covenant House, the center next door for at-risk youth. "I don't know if they specifically live at the Fulton House. We hire people of all colors and races."

    The fear that rising rents and the burgeoning development of luxury condominiums might further isolate Fulton Houses and other nearby projects, the Chelsea and Elliott Houses, in a sea of affluence impelled Mr. Acevedo and others to argue strenuously for the city to include affordable housing in the rezoning of far west Chelsea. As the new zoning plan shows, they largely succeeded, and 100 of the mixed-income units will be developed on a Fulton Houses parking lot.

    While Mr. Acevedo maintained that such mixed-income housing would give the children of Fulton residents a chance to stay in the neighborhood, not everyone at the gathering was so optimistic.

    Joe Schuler, a powerfully built man with a salt-and-pepper Fu Manchu mustache, believes that Fulton Houses will eventually be sold to private developers. His comments echoed a longstanding rumor making the rounds at the project. "You don't have millions spent around a ghetto and have it remain a ghetto," Mr. Schuler said. "We're the sore spot in this neighborhood."

    Howard Marder, a spokesman for the New York City Housing Authority, insisted that the authority had no plans to privatize Fulton Houses. "That rumor pops up all over the city, for some reason, whenever a neighborhood undergoes gentrification," he said.

    Still a Gay Ghetto'

    The evening after the city's gay pride parade last month, hundreds of well-groomed "Chelsea Boys" poured into the Park restaurant on Tenth Avenue near 17th Street for the club's regular Sunday party. Some chatted in the outdoor garden, which is planted with softly illuminated Japanese maples. Others cavorted in the hot tub in the Asian-theme rooftop bar area.

    But Sophia Lamar, a Cuban-born transsexual who was performing at the party and wore a polka-dotted Balenciaga bathing suit and high heels, was not entirely sanguine about the area's status as a magnet for gays. "Chelsea is still a gay ghetto," Ms. Lamar said, crossing one gartered leg over the other. "I'm against ghettos, whether they're youth ghettos or black ghettos or minority ghettos or gay ghettos. I don't think there's any need to separate yourself from the rest of the society."

    For this reason, she said, the juxtaposition of glamorous wealthy people with the low-income residents of Fulton Houses is a terrific thing. "I've lived in different cities in the U.S., and the housing projects are always in places where people don't go," continued Ms. Lamar, who has visited a friend's mother at the housing project and has never felt uncomfortable among its residents. "And here I think it's wonderful because it shows that there's room for everyone. Rich people are going to a supermarket, and poor people are going to the same supermarket, and that doesn't happen in any other city."

    What the Barber Knows

    When Manuel Manolo and his two fellow barbers are snipping away in the misleadingly named New Barber Shop on Ninth Avenue near 19th Street, the talk, by turns in Spanish and English, ranges from baseball to politics. On a recent Saturday, it settled on Fulton Houses.

    Eddie Andujar, a longtime Fulton Houses resident who worked as a groundskeeper for the project for 25 years, said that it had been beautiful until about 1990, but had gone downhill since. "Because of the drug dealers, it's very dangerous over here at nighttime," he added.

    There have been two homicides at Fulton Houses since late January, the police said, but neither was thought to be drug-related. "Crime in the 10th Precinct has declined dramatically in recent years," said Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne. "The Police Department pays close attention to conditions there and responds accordingly." Since 1993, robbery in the precinct has dropped 74 percent and felony assault 53 percent.

    Near the spinning barber pole, George Weaver, a 30-year-old Fulton Houses resident in a faded Million Youth March T-shirt, awaited his turn in Mr. Manolo's chair. Mr. Weaver, who recently received an associate's degree in business administration from Monroe College in the West Bronx, said he wished the Housing Authority would screen prospective Fulton Houses residents more thoroughly. "People from shelters don't necessarily have a sense of community," he said.

    To illustrate his idea of how a community should work, he nodded toward Mr. Manolo. "He always encouraged me to stay in school every time," Mr. Weaver said.

    Mr. Manolo, who has lived in Fulton Houses for 40 years and cut hair for just as long, grinned. "I took a picture of him the day he graduated from college," he said proudly as Mr. Weaver climbed into his red leather chair. With that, the courtly barber took a straight razor and ran it gently across Mr. Weaver's Afro, which fell in leisurely dark clumps onto the worn linoleum floor, mingling with the blond hair and eyebrow trimmings snipped from the customer in the neighboring chair.

    The Maritime Hotel, left, overflows with well-dressed night owls and celebrities. On the other side of Ninth Avenue, residents of Fulton Houses pay an average monthly rent of $348.

    The glowing Chinese lanterns of La Bottega, where patrons sip martinis and groove to music, oblivious to the proximity of Fulton Houses. "We're an isolated little island," said one Fulton resident.

    Rich and poor rub shoulders on Ninth Avenue. Gentrification gathered force in Chelsea in the late 80's and 90's with an accelerating influx of gay professionals and middle-class families.

    The lively scene at the Park restaurant, part of the burgeoning collection of restaurants and nightspots that have given Chelsea an air of hip prestige.

    The New Barber Shop, where Manuel Manolo, a 40-year resident of Fulton Houses, cuts hair along with two fellow barbers. Changes around Fulton vividly demonstrate what happens when a mixed-income neighborhood is pressed by forces of wealth and fabulousness.

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  13. #13
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    Lincoln Square, Manhattan:

    Grand Buildings, but Also a Sense of Community

    The refurbished Columbus Circle is a gathering place at the boundary of a neighborhood that seems to
    specialize in vibrant friendliness.

    By C. J. HUGHES
    Published: April 30, 2006

    IF each neighborhood were a nation, Lincoln Square might win points for patriotism. Its residents tend to cheer frequently about how wonderful it is, and they rarely want to pack up and move away.

    And to be fair, it can be hard to begrudge them. The older sections of this West Side neighborhood, those closest to Central Park, can seem downright utopian. The area is graced with buildings as grand as castles, and yet, like a small country village, people know their neighbors' names as well as their butcher's.

    But despite its intimacy, Lincoln Square, which runs from Central Park West to the Hudson River and from West 59th Street to West 72nd, is unmistakably urban.

    The population is ethnically diverse, and many residents are employed in the media and arts. Lincoln Square has some of the nation's finest private and public schools, and Lincoln Center, home to world-class performances of music, opera and dance, is at its geographic and cultural heart.

    In the next year or so, emigrating to Lincoln Square will be easier, with the opening of a handful of new condominium buildings. The 1,000 new apartments will be some of the city's most luxurious, with landscaped rooftop bars, in-house dining rooms, 35-seat screening rooms and 75-foot-long swimming pools.

    This building boom, mostly around the neighborhood's southern and western edges, rivals the urban renewal projects of the 1960's in terms of square footage. But this time around, entire blocks of the neighborhood are protected within a landmark district that is the largest in the city in terms of the number of buildings, thanks to residents like Arlene Simon, who in 1985 founded Landmark West, a still-active preservation group.

    Mrs. Simon worries that the new condos will be merely be pieds--terre and consequently, that their owners won't have much of a stake in the community.

    "When you're a brownstone owner, you talk about your modest garden and restoring your stoop," said Mrs. Simon, a former children's clothing designer who has lived with her husband, Bruce, a labor lawyer, in the Lincoln Square neighborhood since 1960. Their current home is a 2,300-square-foot duplex, with five bedrooms and two and a half baths, that they bought for $60,000 in 1973.

    "With these new buildings, it's all about who has the best view, and too much 'can you top this?' " she said.

    Yet at least some people who are buying new condos plan on living in them full time and are just as die-hard about Lincoln Square as the old guard like Mrs. Simon.

    Last September, Justin Marcus, who runs a staffing company in Manhattan, paid $2.73 million for a 1,500-square-foot condo with two bedrooms and two and half baths on the 23rd floor of 15 Central Park West, currently a mishmash of cranes and scaffolding.

    Mr. Marcus, who is single, said his second bedroom would become a rehearsal space he plays both piano and guitar and when his second CD comes out next January, he hopes to hold the release party at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, the theater in the Time Warner Center where he attends jazz performances.

    "There used to be a concentration of musicians in the East Village and West Village, but they all left for Brooklyn or Queens," Mr. Marcus said. "This is one of the few places left in New York that retains its musical heritage."

    What You'll Find

    Lincoln Square's most memorable buildings may be the co-ops with multiple towers along Central Park West. The neighborhood's other defining architectural style can be found on the side streets: four-story brownstones, whose twisting stoops and rampart facades resemble fairy-tale forts.

    Yet new buildings are never far away in Lincoln Square. At Columbus Circle, sales recently closed on the last of the Time Warner Center's 200 units. Along the Hudson, residents have moved into 120 Riverside Boulevard, the seventh and final building in the complex developed by Donald Trump.

    At 15 Central Park West, 60 percent of the 199 units have been spoken for. They range from one-bedrooms to full floors, priced from $2 million to $45 million. Sales of apartments on the lower floors of the 43-story building won't close until the spring of 2007, said Richard Wallgren, the sales director.

    The 20-story Hudson, at 225 West 60th Street, between West End and Amsterdam Avenues, has 80 units, starting at $625,000 for one-bedrooms. Fifty-five percent have been sold, though buyers can't move in until this summer, said Samantha Behringer, the sales manager.

    On the same block is 10 West End Avenue, which is expected to be completed in about a year. It will have 173 apartments, ranging from small one-bedrooms up to four-bedrooms, priced from $750,000 to $4.5 million.

    Next door, at 555 West 59th Street, the foundation is being completed for the Element, which will have 198 apartments and 35 stories, along with a basketball court and three pools. Its one- to four-bedrooms are $750,000 to $6.5 million.

    Closer to the river, the 32-story Avery, at 100 Riverside Boulevard, is also at the foundation stage. Gary Barnett, the president of the Extell Development Company, the project's developer, said that 35 percent of its one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, priced from $850,000 to $3 million, have been sold.

    "Even a year ago, people wanted prewar character and charm and all the old moldings," said Barry Rudnick, a vice president of the Corcoran Group who has been selling apartments in Lincoln Square for four years. "Now it's all about service and luxury and new construction."

    What You'll Pay

    When all the new condominiums come to market, Mr. Rudnick said, they may push prices down. But for now, prices for both condos and co-ops seem to be holding their own, he said. Prices are about the same no matter the type of ownership. The condos tend to have a little more space and higher quality finishes, but the co-ops are in older sought-after buildings. The two factors tend to equalize prices.

    The listing price for a 500-square-foot studio in Lincoln Square would typically be $400,000, Mr. Rudnick said, while a 750-square-foot one-bedroom, one-bath unit might be listed at $800,000.

    With two-bedrooms, there's greater range in price, Mr. Rudnick said. While a typical Lincoln Square 1,300-square-foot two-bedroom might cost $1.75 million, he recently sold a 1,450-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bath condo at 220 Riverside Boulevard for $2.45 million. It went for its asking price, he said, because it was on the 44th floor and had great views.

    Rentals make up about half the market in Lincoln Square, said Josephine Vinci, a sales associate at Citi Habitats. The most in-demand rentals, she said, are in brownstones; one-bedrooms start at $2,600 a month, and two-bedrooms at $4,000.

    In Lincoln Square's newer high-rises, studios start at $2,300 a month, one-bedrooms at $3,200 and two-bedrooms at $5,000, Ms. Vinci said.

    Demand for condos, as opposed to co-ops, seems to be growing in lockstep with the wave of construction in the neighborhood. Condos require a lower down payment and are easier to sublet, two of the factors that are winning favor among buyers.

    Gregory Heym, the chief economist at Brown Harris Stevens, said that in the first quarter of 2006, 70 percent of all units sold in Lincoln Square were condos. The median sales price was $972,000, a 43 percent increase over the same quarter a year earlier but in line with other highly desirable addresses elsewhere in the city.

    "You don't have the action at the high end of the market that you had a year ago," Mr. Heym said, referring to the Time Warner Center. "But the whole market has shifted upward."

    What to Do

    Whatever the city offers, so does Lincoln Square. And then some.

    Two spectacular parks Central and Riverside South form the neighborhood's bookends. And the median malls along Broadway, planted with fresh beds of red tulips, end like an exclamation point at the refurbished Columbus Circle.

    There, on a recent weekday afternoon, a lunchtime crowd of political activists, teenage skateboarders and office workers reading books gathered around the tall monument at the circle's center.

    For those who can't afford Lincoln Center's indoor offerings, there are free outdoor shows in the warmer months. At Pier One in Riverside Park South, a seasonal restaurant is set up in summer, along with a screen for outdoor movies.

    And for the fit and dexterous, there are two indoor rock-climbing walls, one in the Harmony Atrium, at Broadway and 62nd Street, and the other at Recreation Center 59, at 533 West 59th Street.

    The Shops at Columbus Circle offer three floors of stores like J. Crew, Tumi and L'Occitane. Trendier wear can be found along Columbus Avenue at boutiques like Betsey Johnson, Theory and Lucky.

    The Schools

    Some of the city's best public high schools are in Lincoln Square. Fiorello H. La Guardia, at 100 Amsterdam Avenue (65th Street), is strong in the arts and offers a pre-conservatory program. In 2004, 77.2 percent of its seniors went to four-year colleges.

    On the SAT reasoning tests in 2004, La Guardia students had an average verbal score of 536 and an average math score of 534, compared with 444 verbal and 472 math for the city.

    Another well-regarded high school is Beacon, at 227 West 61st Street. In 2004, seniors' average SAT scores were 506 verbal and 502 math; 70.7 percent went to four-year colleges.

    Some of the city's top private schools among them, Collegiate, Calhoun, Dwight and Trinity are in the neighborhood, or close to it. Annual tuitions are steep. At Trinity, for example, high-school students will pay $29,770 for the next school year.

    The History

    The land along the Hudson River south of Riverside Park was once home to a bustling, smoke-belching industrial area. New York Central trains clacked down the piers with loads of grain, milk and vegetables.

    At Pier D, at the foot of 67th Street, a rusting hulk is all that's left of a warehouse that burned down in 1971. When a breeze blows through, its metal ribs clang like industrial-size wind chimes.

    What We Like

    Because the developers worked so closely with neighborhood residents in planning them, the massive new buildings seem to fit in, giving Lincoln Square a pleasant mix of old and new.

    Going Forward

    The new buildings seem designed to give their residents little reason to go out, and this could compromise the neighborhood's friendly feel and vibrant street life.

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
    Last edited by krulltime; May 2nd, 2006 at 10:19 AM.

  14. #14
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    Manhattan - UWS


    The Lower East Side, Manhattan:

    Two Bridges: Development spills into bitty, gritty nabe
    Could the Two Bridges area be the last frontier for Lower East Side gentrification?

    Jacob Goldman, owner of LoHo Realty,
    in front of Co-op Village, which sparked
    gentrification in the area when units
    went market-rate.

    By Emma Johnson
    April 2006 Issue

    In the real estate haven that has been New York in the past decade, it is oft lamented that Manhattan is void of undiscovered areas -- nothing left to gentrify, no deals to be had.

    This may be true, but the nugget of the Lower East Side coined by the media as "Two Bridges" has piqued the interest of brokers who say the area encompassed by Grand Street on the north, Bowery on the west, and the East River to the east and south, is benefiting from overspill from hip, bordering neighborhoods.

    The momentum behind this development is strong enough that Two Bridges has weathered the softening market thanks to being part of the larger-than-life force that is the Lower East Side, according to brokers.

    "The market here is still extremely hot -- I believe it is the hottest market in sense of excitement of the neighborhood," said Jacob Goldman, owner of LoHo Realty, which specializes in the areas to the south and east of Houston Street. But Goldman claims he hadn't even heard the term "Two Bridges" before the New York Post interviewed him for a recent story on the area.

    While MenuPages, the New York restaurant Web site, lists 85 establishments under "Chinatown/ Two Bridges," for example, not everyone is convinced that the area is as booming as some reports would suggest. Just as it will take quite a while, if ever, before Hell's Kitchen becomes Clinton, the Two Bridges sobriquet may not catch on, despite the efforts of the real estate industry and media.

    "'Two Bridges' hasn't really hit the lexicon on the street," said Rob Gross, a senior vice president at Prudential Douglas Elliman who specializes in the Lower East Side. "Demographically, it's kind of the way the Lower East Side was five to eight years ago -- there's not a lot of big parcels, a lot of tenement buildings, and not a lot of opportunity for tons of development. There's not a lot of loft buildings."

    While change is indeed slow, there is an undercurrent of gentrification. When the 4,500 units of Co-Op Village became available in 2000, the area caught some new attention and the standard process of "every building being bought and redone, tenements being torn down and big buildings being erected" is now under way, Goldman said.

    Glenn Schiller with the Corcoran Group recently sold what he calls a "rare piece of property" -- a 2,300-square-foot floor-through loft condo on Grand Street between Essex and Ludlow for $1.8 million. In Soho or Nolita -- both once-disparaged neighborhoods that have enjoyed their respective moments in the real estate headlines -- that apartment would have gone for $1 million more, he said.

    Some notable new projects in the area include the Two Bridges Condos at 48 Canal Street, with units from $660,000 to $1.6 million with ubiquitous stainless steel kitchens, open layouts, and other amenities that appeal to the young, affluent buyer. A condo development at 142 Henry Street has units listed at $535,000 to $1.8 million.

    The Forward Building that formerly housed the Yiddish socialist newspaper at 175 East Broadway is another project. It is comprised of 29 luxury units priced at $575,000 to $5.5 million and scheduled for May or June completion. Michael Bolla, exclusive broker for the property, said that half the condos are already sold -- but not to the demographic project principals predicted.

    "I expected it to be geared to young, cool, hip single people, but that's not what happened," Bolla said. "It's mostly families from the West Village and Greenwich, Conn."

    The main attraction with these buyers is the strong nearby public schools, Bolla said, especially Shuang Wen PS 184M, which produces 10-year-olds fluent in Mandarin and English. Other area amenities include nearby subway stops on the J/M and F/V lines and the nearby, newly renovated Seward Park and East River promenade. The city is also in negotiations with Basketball City, which hopes to move its Chelsea courts and event center to a 64,000 square-foot warehouse at Pier 36 just north of Manhattan Bridge.

    While he is not convinced that Two Bridges is yet a significantly hip location, Rob Gross is sure it will see its day. "Will Two Bridges become the way Chelsea was?" he said. "Demographically, before Chelsea became the gayest zip code, it was a Hispanic neighborhood and all brownstones. That is the beauty of New York."

    Copyright © 2003-2005 The Real Deal.
    Last edited by krulltime; May 2nd, 2006 at 02:34 PM.

  15. #15
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    The Lower East Side, Manhattan:

    How Low Can You Go?

    By Matt Gross
    May 8, 2006 issue of New York Magazine

    Not so long ago, you’d have done anything to get away from the Lower–Lower East Side. Now you’ll do anything to come back. The French bistros and avant-garde boutiques that spilled across Houston Street from the East Village have crossed Delancey and creep right up to the borders of Chinatown. Hip-hop brunch joints sit peacefully cheek by jowl with slick-floored fishmongers. Million-dollar lofts peer down at one-buck-dumpling shops. And a 25-block zone once occupied mainly by Chinese meat markets and the odd yarmulke emporium has become the most intriguing neighborhood in Manhattan.

    1. The Lower East Side Tenement Museum
    108 Orchard St., at Delancey St. 212-431-0233

    The ultimate repository of local history runs tours through the restored homes of the German, Jewish, and Italian immigrants who lived here more than a century ago. The museum’s coolest project is right up to date: “Folk Songs for the Five Points,” at, lets you create a neighborhood soundtrack by mixing sound samples.

    2. Blue Moon Hotel
    100 Orchard St., nr. Delancey St. 212-533-9080

    From the outside, the neighborhood’s first boutique hotel looks like a tenement. But the 22 rooms ($275 to $875 per night), named for bygone celebs like Tommy Dorsey and Al Jolson, look like ghetto grottoes gone upscale, with ceiling fans and wrought-iron beds. An immigrant-themed restaurant, Sweet Dreams, is expected to open by early autumn.

    3. Congee Village
    100 Allen St., nr. Delancey St.

    212-941-1818 This Cantonese hot spot has earned acclaim for its namesake rice porridge, which is best with roast duck and meatballs (classic pork and preserved egg is a favorite, too). Book a private room, bring a dozen friends, and order the house-special chicken. Karaoke is optional.

    4. Il Laboratorio del Gelato
    95 Orchard St., nr. Broome St.

    212-343-9922 A spring expansion will mean the city’s best frozen treats come in twenty flavors, including brand-new blends such as Cheddar cheese and wasabi.

    5. Recollections
    90 Orchard St., nr. Broome St.

    212-387-0341 When you want your million-dollar loft to look like a nineteenth-century hovel, stop at the Tenement Museum’s store for chandeliers, old wallpaper, and enameled cast-iron stoves.

    6. Kehila Kedosha Janina
    280 Broome St., nr. Allen St.

    212-431-1619 Delve into the fascinating history of the 2,000-year-old Greek-Jewish heritage at this untouched synagogue; see particularly the large collection of alephs, hand-painted birth certificates unique to the Romaniotes sect.

    7. Bo Bo Poultry Market
    287 Broome St., nr. Eldridge St. 212-274-0130

    There’s nothing like a freshly slaughtered bird for dinner. These poultry perfectionists will provide you with, say, a $12 pair of partridges from their farms upstate.

    8. Milk & Honey
    134 Eldridge St., nr. Delancey St.

    Disguised as a tailor’s shop, Sasha Petraske’s semi-secret ode to the cocktail bars of yore requires a reservation. It’s worth it: The throwback cocktails are the best in the city, and the leather banquettes are plush enough to make you think you’re in The Sting.

    9. Happy Ending
    302 Broome St., nr. Forsyth St. 212-334-9676

    The slickest ex-brothel turned trendy bar in the area. Upcoming guests at Amanda Stern’s acclaimed reading series include Arthur Bradford, Lydia Davis, and Sigrid Nunez.

    10. Deadly Dragon Sound
    102B Forsyth St., nr. Broome St. 646-613-0139

    Looking for an obscure ska band on 45? Or just the latest dancehall hits from Kingston? You’ll find both—probably on vinyl—at this tiny storefront devoted to all things reggae.

    11. Fontana’s
    105 Eldridge St., nr. Grand St. 212-334-6740

    A cavernous bar for guys’ guys—with paintings of Elvis, Clint, and breasts— owned by the four women behind the East Village’s 85A. The newly opened basement hosts local bands.

    12. Dumpling House
    118A Eldridge St., nr. Broome St. 212-625-8008

    It’s a scientific fact: Dumpling House has the best fried pork dumplings in Manhattan. What science has yet to explain, however, is how such flavor-dense little packets can cost just $1 for five.

    13. Manpolo International Trading Corp.
    301 Grand St., nr. Allen St.; 212-966-0289

    Good fortune is on sale here in the form of lacquered altars and statues of Chinese gods. Luck doesn’t come cheap, however: An eighteen-inch Guangong, the red-faced warrior god, can easily top $200.

    14. Hello Sari
    261 Broome St., at Orchard St. 212-274-0791

    All your subcontinental fashion needs fulfilled, from Pakistani beaded sandals ($25) to glowing silk saris ($95), which, if you’re not quite ready to dress like a Delhi bride, look great draped across a sofa.

    15. 88 Orchard
    88 Orchard St., at Broome St. 212-228-8880

    Eight is a lucky number in Chinese culture, and the Jewish owners of this sun-drenched corner café certainly got lucky when they opened three years ago: It’s always filled with customers sipping coffee, surfing the Net, and playing board games.

    16. Barrio Chino
    253 Broome St., nr. Orchard St. 212-228-6710

    Yummily authentic tacos and high-end tequilas downed at a friendly communal table in a room watched over by enormous vintage Chinese ancestor portraits. Weekend nights get crowded, so come after work for a michelada (beer mixed with assorted sauces) and some fresh-made guacamole.

    17. Babycakes NYC
    248 Broome St., nr. Ludlow St. 212-677-5047

    If your belly says no to gluten, nuts, refined sugar, dairy, and eggs, stop here for cupcakes so good you’ll forget they’re vegan.

    18. Guss’ Pickles
    87 Orchard St., nr. Broome St. 516-569-0909

    Brined cukes, marinated ’shrooms, and barrels of kraut, from people who know from pickles (the business is about 90 years old).

    19. Little Giant
    85 Orchard St., nr. Broome St. 212-226-5047

    An Ikea dining room hosts seasonal New American dishes with playful names like Beet Box (roasted beets with Humboldt Fog cheese, $10) and Babys Got Bass (wild striped bass with clams, lentils, bacon, and aïoli, $25). The Swine of the Week is $22.

    20. El Bocadito
    79 Orchard St., nr. Broome St. 212-343-3331

    A new Mexican tapas joint serving “little bites”—e.g., taquitos—to the spillover crowd from Barrio Chino.

    21. Forward
    72 Orchard St., nr. Grand St.

    646-264-3233 The shelves at this incubator for fashion designers currently feature lush, sexy lingerie from Martha Colón.

    22. East Side Company Bar
    49 Essex St., at Grand St. 212-614-7408

    Another cocktail nest from Sasha Petraske (see Milk & Honey) but less exclusive. Huddle up in a booth, order a delicious Pimm’s Cup, and watch the candlelight play off the pressed-tin roof.

    23. Kossar’s Bialys
    367 Grand St., nr. Essex St. 877-424-2597

    New York isn’t exactly packed with bialy stockers. But even in a town with 1,000 of them, Kossar’s light, bready, onion-smeared renditions would be the best.

    24. Doughnut Plant
    379 Grand St., at Norfolk St. 212-505-3700

    Forget Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme, and your local cart. These superb sugar-caked rings of fried dough come in offbeat flavors like vanilla bean and strawberry cake.

    25. Orchard
    47 Orchard St., nr Hester St. 212-219-1061

    It’s hard to categorize the collective behind this gallery space. And that’s kind of the point: Take the current show, “Vera,” which mixes Jason Simon’s film of a woman talking about her passion for shopping with one-off karaoke and video art nights.

    26. Girls Love Shoes
    85 Hester St., nr. Orchard St. 917-250-3268

    Paradise for lovers of vintage footwear. There are 1,000 pairs for sale (a Maud Frizon tiger-print pump is $150), and 1,000 more for rent at this store run by Zia Ziprin, whose great-grandfather started a yeshiva on East Broadway and whose beatnik mother opened a vintage store nearby in the sixties.

    27. The Sweet Life
    63 Hester St., at Ludlow St. 800-692-6887

    Sugar aficionados get hives just looking at the buckets and buckets of honey-glazed pecans, giant swirl lollipops, Pez dispensers, halvah, and Turkish delight in the window.

    28. Brown
    61 Hester St., at Ludlow St. 212-477-2427

    The epicenter of LES life below Grand Street serves remarkably fresh salads, baked eggs, and sandwiches (try the mortadella-and-Garrotxa on ciabatta) to local hipsters, who linger over rich espressos and Wallpaper*. Next door is Orange, a grocery, and across the street is Green, the catering wing.

    29. A NY Thing
    51 Hester St., nr. Essex St. 212-777-0919

    Everything a skateboarder needs—baggy clothes, LPs, stickers, and ’tude—except actual skateboards.

    30. Classic Coffee Shop
    56 Hester St., nr. Ludlow St. 917-685-3306

    “Classic” is right—with Rocky Marciano photos on the wall and post-bebop jazz on the stereo, Carmine Morales’s tidy hole-in-the-wall is just the place for a tuna melt and an egg cream.

    31. 48 Hester
    48 Hester St., nr. Essex St. 212-473-3496

    This minuscule boutique carries Trovata, Rag & Bone, sass & bide, and Nobody jeans—the same brands at owner Denise Williamson’s Mercer Street showroom. Now in: Williamson’s own women’s line, Franck.

    32. The Main Squeeze
    19 Essex St., nr. Hester St. 212-614-3109

    Walter Kuehr’s squeezebox emporium—he offers his own line of accordions and lessons in how to play them—looks like a relic of the 1890s, even though it opened in 1996.

    33. Organic Avenue
    23 Ludlow St., nr. Hester St., second floor; 212-334-4593

    A treasure trove of materials for natural living: wild jungle peanuts, cruelty-free silks, and a hemp Brazilian bikini.

    34. Les Enfants Terribles
    37 Canal St., nr. Ludlow St. 212-777-7518

    An exquisitely designed French-African restaurant (worn leather banquettes, gold leaf ceiling) that’s hybrid in every sense. By day, locals munch on merguez sandwiches; by night, it’s a sexy multiculti scene. Try the Ivorian sliced-steak korhogofefemougou (a mouthful in more ways than one).

    35. Clandestino
    35 Canal St., nr. Ludlow St. 212-475-5505

    A gloriously simple French-owned bar that opened in early February with the kind of stealth that usually produces La Esquina–level buzz. Expect it to be mobbed by . . . oh, right about now.

    36. Happy Joy Restaurant
    25 Canal St., nr. Ludlow St. 212-388-0264

    Everyone from families to construction workers loves the friendly waiters and very tasty Chinese-Malaysian food here. Eggy tofu is house-made; kuey teow noodles a filling standby; curried skate wing a sour-spicy marvel.

    37. Good World Bar & Grill
    3 Orchard St., at Canal St. 212-925-9975

    The pioneer. In 1999, Annika Sundvik converted a sketchy barbershop (i.e., brothel) into a wood-floored bar and Swedish restaurant. Then the world discovered Good World’s long beer list, house cocktails (the Berzerker: aquavit, Absolut Citron, ginger ale, dry vermouth, and a cucumber slice), and Scandinavian staples. Now weekends are uncomfortably crowded; Sundays with a pint of Hoegaarden in the rear courtyard, however, remain perfect.

    38. Super Taste
    26 Eldridge St., nr. Canal St. 212-625-1198

    In northern China, hand-pulled noodles are a common streetside snack, but they’ve yet to penetrate New York foodie brains. Order No. 2 on the menu—noodles in spicy beef broth, $4—and feel your consciousness rise, along with your body temperature.

    39. Cup & Saucer
    89 Canal St., nr. Eldridge St. 212-925-3298

    This is the kind of ancient lunch counter that restaurateurs spend millions to re-create.

    Real Estate

    Most Lower East Side buildings are tenements in need of renovation, which means you just might find a one-bedroom rental for less than $1,000 (it helps to speak Chinese). Rare loft conversions are still a relative bargain.

    40. 50 Orchard Street

    This Christmas, the sixteen two-bedroom condos in this new luxury development will sell in the $1.5 million to low $3 million range. For that, you get Bosch appliances, Italian cabinetry, and a communal roof deck. Through Larry Michaels at Douglas Elliman, 212-891-7072.

    41. 345 Grand Street

    “The only cast-iron building in the Lower East Side,” claims Corcoran’s Glenn E. Schiller (212-941-2561). Three of its six units sold for less than $2 million—a million less than a few blocks west in Soho.

    42. 173–175 East Broadway

    The landmarked home of the Yiddish-language Daily Forward newspaper went condo a few years ago, but its units are only now coming on the market, for $575,000 to $4.5 million. Through Michael Bolla at 212-334-4855.

    43. 118 Forsyth Street

    From the outside, you’d never suspect this building is full of pristine 2,300-square-foot co-ops for $1.6 million (they went for far less two years back). Call Jeffrey Stockwell at 646-613-2715.

    44. 79 Delancey Street

    Renovated about three years ago, this former bank—the first Jewish financial institution in the city, according to Misrahi Realty’s Chris Crane (212-475-6660)—has rare vacancies for big-windowed apartments that range from $1,900 to $3,000.

    Copyright © 2006, New York Magazine Holdings LLC.

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