As I mentioned in a previous post, the Lower East Side area was by far my favourite part of New York City. As much as I enjoyed the more ‘touristy’ stuff, there was something about this area that immediately charmed me. I felt like I was in the ‘real’ New York.
We first went to the Lower East Side on the Friday afternoon, our first full day there. After a morning of shopping on 5th Avenue and in Bloomingdales, we got the subway down and got off at a random stop without a clue where we were. A man saw us fumbling about with a map, looking like classic lost tourists who were completely overwhelmed. He told us what way we should go.
Admittedly, the area he initially led us to wasn’t amazing. It was a bit tatty and tacky. We were starving and searching high and low for somewhere to eat that didn’t look like it would give us food poisoning. We ended up in this place that, while it did fab bubble tea, did bland noodles that made me feel slightly dodge. But as we walked it off towards Soho all was well. I don’t know where that area was, but as we walked we went from an area that was run down, to an area that was charming and lively. I was greeted with gorgeous buildings, and incredible street art.
I am in love with this second picture because it represents one of my idols, Diana Vreeland.
And then there is this amazing picture of the Statue of Liberty with a Native American makeover. As someone who is extremely interested in America’s civil rights history, I found this piece of art really topical.
There were also plenty of cute, cheeky signs sat outside cafe’s and stores inviting people in
We walked through to Soho where we explored some of the shops. Soho is filled with niche designer boutiques and street fashion. We went to the Dash store, the Supreme store (which had a wall of skateboards, pictured below), and also discovered an American Apparrel Outlet store where I got two dresses for a ridiculous price.
We walked towards Greenwich and by this point we were getting tired. We came across a restaurant called McCoy. McCoy was situated on Mcdougal street, a street which is alive with bars and restaurants. The street is just off of Bleaker street, which is also filled with restaurants, bars and shops. At McCoy, we enjoyed white wine in the evening heat before deciding we would eat there too. The others had burgers with the nicest fries i’ve ever tasted, while I had a gorgeous grilled salmon with Quinoa and vegetables. We were so in love with the area and the chilled out atmosphere. So we decided to go back to the area the next night.
After indulging in Vanilla Lychee Martinis at the hotel bar (omg they were to die for) we headed back to McDougal Street, where we stumbled across the cutest little restaurant ever called The Olive Tree. It was a Saturday night and bustling. We had cosmopolitans and wine, watched a live band play, and ate Veggie kebabs with rice and loads of other mediterianian/Turkish/Morrocan bits.Plus, there was a comedy bar downstairs, as if it couldn’t get any more cooler.
In Greenwich village, all the restaurants had normal portion sizes, instead of the grossly huge options at other, more commrcialised places. Plus, the prices were a lot more reasonable. At The Olive Tree, main courses were only about $12 or $13 dollars, whereas cocktails were between $6 and $10. T he atmosphere was cosy and felt more real.
On the last night, we headed back to the area again. We went for Mexican at a place called Caliente Cab Co. on Bleaker Street. They made fresh guacamole right in front of your eyes. Here the portions were a lot bigger, including massive daquiris, served in novelty glasses that you get to keep. Unfortunately the place did leave me feeling ill. I can’t work out if it’s my suspected allergy to avacados or the richness of my fajitas. But the other girls didn’t get ill. The food was yum and the service could not be faulted.
Because we had such a good time around this area, we couldn’t resist going back on our last day. There is so much to explore, from cute cafe’s to vintage or designer boutiques, to cocktail jazz bars, to street clothing sample sales. It’s the area the cool kids and the local hipsters go to hang. It gets you away from the tourist traps, yet still makes you feel like you are truly in NYC.