Why Visit the Lower East Side of New York?

August 31, 2006 at 10:46 pm Leave a comment

Soho, Greenwich Village, Little Italy and Chinatown are just some of the places in Lower Manhattan that intrique me. My friend, Sandy, and I had a great getaway there last year although neither of us had been to that part of Manhattan before. It was an experiment that worked out really well. We flew into La Guardia, but wanted to try Newark this time. When you’re on a tight schedule (we were trying to maximize our time in the city), it’s handy to have some airport flexibility to get flight times you’d prefer. Fortunately, Midwest flies into both airports.

Last Year’s Getaway
We shopped Orchard Street, Canal Street – oh, that’s a different experience you need to be prepared for – and down in the Village. Home to the bohemian lifestyle of the late 50s and 60s, Greenwich Village opened its arms to artists, musicians, writers and radicals that included Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie, Allen Ginsberg, E.E. Cummings, Dylan Thomas and so many more. Kind of a nostalgic rush. It’s still an artsy, interesting place and still home to alternative lifestyles.

The big treat on that getaway, though, was Katz’s Deli on Houston (How-ston) Street. I wanted a good old-fashioned New York Jewish deli experience and I got it. Really good. Like stepping back in time. Corned beef piled 3 inches high – really. An egg cream. The table at Katz's where Harry met SallyMore menu choices than I ever imagined. Original décor, men in starched grey cotton service jackets handing out numbers in stereotypical “New York” regimentation – “Carry-out seating here. Order over there. Table service, take a number and we’ll seat you.” No smiles. Katz's Deli on Houston StreetNo polite chit-chat. Just service and terrific food. What more can you ask? If you want to take some pastrami home, they’ll shrink wrap it for you so it won’t be messy in your suitcase.

This Year’s Getaway
I was anxious to get back but wanted to explore even more of Lower Manhattan this time. My traveling friend was Ginny – though Sandy really wanted to make the trip as well, she had other commitments. We did fly into Newark Airport and found it to be a terrific option. Clean, new looking, well marked with signs – especially to ground transportation. That’s where we asked for the least expensive shuttle to our hotel in TriBeCa. Cost us $15. (In retrospect, we should have purchased a roundtrip shuttle ticket – I’ll tell you why in a later posting.) We did eat at Katz’s again and it was just as good as I remembered – and this time the wait staff was friendly, polite and outgoing. Our waiter saw my camera and actually asked if we’d like him to take our picture. What a change in demeanor. Loved the place either way!
NEXT: Why pick a hotel in TriBeCa? TIPS:
Get on Google. Find out more about the areas of Lower Manhattan before your trip. Knowledge converts to confidence when you’re in a new city.
2) Have a Plan. Pick out 2 or 3 things you absolutely want to do. Fill in with a few others that you discover spontaneously. Don’t cram everything into a day or two. Leave some things for another getaway.
3) Be Street Savvy and Safe. Bring a shoulder tote bag for items you buy. Wear clothing with lots of pockets for your money, credit cards, cell phone. Consider a hidden travel wallet for the bulk of your cash. If you must carry a purse, put nothing of value in it and carry it inside your tote bag. These are good tips for travel in most any city.

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Entry filed under: New York City.

Let’s Plan a Girlfriends’ Getaway Why Stay in TriBeCa?

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