The Lower East Side is a neighborhood in the southeastern part of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is roughly bounded by Allen St., E. Houston, Essex St., Canal St., Eldridge St., E. Broadway, and Grand St. It has traditionally been an immigrant, working class neighborhood, but it has undergone rapid gentrification in recent years, prompting The National Trust for Historic Preservation to place the neighborhood on their list of America's Most Endangered Places.
One of the oldest neighborhoods of the city, the Lower East Side has long been known as a lower-class worker neighborhood and often as a poor and diverse part of New York. As well as Italians, Poles, Ukrainians, and other ethnic groups, it once had a sizeable German population and was known as Little Germany (Kleindeutschland).
The Lower East Side is perhaps best known as having once been a center of Jewish culture, but more recently, it has been settled by immigrants, primarily from Latin America.
The East Village was once the Lower East Side's northwest corner alongside Greenwich Village. However, in the 1960s, the demographics of the area above Houston Street began to change, as hippies, musicians and artists moved in. Newcomers and real estate brokers popularized the East Village name, and the term was adopted by the popular media by the mid-60s. As the East Village developed a culture separate from the rest of the Lower East Side, the two areas came to be seen as two separate neighborhoods rather than the former being part of the latter.
In the early 2000s, the gentrification of the East Village spread to the Lower East Side, making it one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Manhattan. Orchard Street, despite its "Bargain District" moniker, is lined with upscale restaurants and boutiques.
In recent years, the gentrification that was previously confined to north of Delancey Street has continued south. Several restaurants, bars and galleries have opened below Delancey Street since 2005, especially around the intersection of Broome and Orchard Streets. The neighborhood's second boutique hotel, Blue Moon Hotel opened on Orchard Street just south of Delancey Street in early 2006. However, unlike The Hotel on Rivington, the Blue Moon used an existing tenement building and its exterior is almost identical to neighboring buildings.
As the neighborhood gentrified and has become safer at night, it has become a popular late night destination. Clinton Street and Ludlow Street between Rivington Street and Stanton Street become especially packed at night, and the resulting noise is a cause of tension between bar owners and longtime residents.