New York City Travel Guide
New York changes constantly. Most travel books are written so long ago and need to appeal to such a broad audience that they don't cover the latest information and can't talk about the small places that make a trip special. This site is updated with the latest information and cool little places that make your trip special.
My Travel Story
On my last trip to New York I decided it was time to dig in and start seeing some of the real city. I've sent much of my time in the past visiting the big sites, the shops, the shows, and all the other excitement that New York has to offer, but I decided that this time would be different. This time I'd of course stop by my favorites like Henri Bendel and Balthazar, but I'd also work in some more depth.
My first destination was the Lower East Side. Even though my family came to the US through Canada, not Ellis Island, I've always felt like the Lower East Side (LES to locals) is somehow part of my history.
My first stop was the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. The museum is actually an old tenement building whose living area had been abandoned since the 1930's. It's been restored just enough to make it safe to visit and the museum has researched who lived in each of the apartments and their family stories. The only way to see the museum is with a tour.
Normally, I skip museum tours, but this time something made me want to go. It's lucky I did. The museum is probably one of the more memorable museums I've ever been to. Our tour guide really made the apartments and those times in history come alive (our tour was about garment workers). The carefully chosen artifacts in each of the rooms we visited helped bring that era to life and the pictures and stories of the families completed the connection. I left wanting more and I'm looking forward to returning in the spring for the walking tour of the neighborhood.
While I'm waiting for the summer program to begin, I decided to take my own walk around the area. The Lower East Side continues to be a vibrant area where new immigrants make their home. The area continues to have many Jewish, Italian, and Chinese shops, especially on Grand and Hester between Allen and Essex (I stopped in a few for snacks) but the deeper you look, the more the area tells a story of change. The Edridge Street Synagogue is in disuse and disrepair while fancy new shops like Cones, Ice Cream Artisans (best sorbet ever) draw on the tourists and the newly "immigrated" yuppies from Soho and uptown, while the bar and restaurant scene keeps them occupied at night. I heard one man commenting "my grandmother worked her whole life to get out of the Lower East Side and now people are paying big $$ to get in!" As the influx of Southeast Asian and Chinese populations continues and Italians move out to the suburbs, the "Little Italy" area of town is getting smaller and smaller, and now it's sometimes difficult to find Italian places in between all the Chinese shops and restaurants (yummm...dumplings). Another sign of the times was a school with an obviously Jewish name and big signs posted out front in Chinese and Spanish (but not English or Italian). Fascinating!
Local artist Christina Ray is documenting everything as it stands today for a project to be called "One Block Radius" commissioned by the New Museum of Contemporary Art who will begin building it's new digs in the LES this fall. I'm glad someone's doing this -- the next few years will be a time of huge change for an area that's been changing constantly for 100 years. It's nice to know that we'll be able to look back at this time and remember what the big stuff and the small stuff as it was.
Comments? Send us email
Questions and Answers
When is the best time of year to get reduced hotel rates in NYC?
I will be going to NYC in the fall. How can I find out what is going on, events, free shows. where making movies. working on show. Any help Is Trieba a good place to explore Thanks for any help
Maybe moving from Melbourne Australia in 12 months to New York for 18 months for work. Partner and I want to take our dog with us but don't like the idea of apartment living as the dog likes to run around - on grass! Where would be a nice area to stay for 18 months, not too far out of New York city around $400 per week (2 bedrooms). Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
Visiting NYC in November with my 13 year old daughter who loves to shop!! Apart from Bloomingdales & Macy's where would you advise to go?
Which is the recommended place in West side with alive music?
We are travelling from New York to Atlantic City in July, what is the best form of transport?
I am going to NYC city in May, is there anyway while I am there I can find out if they are making a movie or taping a tv show, so I can see what iit is like, thanks
Like our off-the- beaten path tips? Get even more ideas in a handy printable format you can take with you on your trip! Click here to buy our guides!