Neighborhood Info

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  • Upper Manhattan
  • Harlem
  • Upper West Side
  • Upper East Side
  • Clinton
  • Midtown
  • Murry Hill
  • Chelsea
  • Gramercy
  • Greenwich Village
  • East Village
  • Soho
  • Lower East Side
  • Tribeca
  • Chinatown
  • Financial District

Upper Manhattan

Broadway, brownstones, books, and some of the city's best bagels... the Upper West Side extends north from Columbus Circle at 59th Street up to 110th Street, and is bordered by Central Park West and Riverside Park.

The Upper West Side is separated from the Upper East Side by Central Park. This is the traditional stronghold of the city's intellectual, creative, and moneyed community, but the atmosphere is not as upper crust as the Upper East Side.

Elegant, pre-war buildings along the boulevards of Broadway, West End Avenue, Riverside Drive, and Central Park West meet shady, quiet streets lined with brownstones. Much of the area is protected by landmark status, and the neighborhood's restored townhouses and high-priced co-op apartments are coveted by actors, young professionals, and young families.

The Upper West Side boasts an impressive list of "firsts": The oldest Baptist congregation in the U.S. (founded 1753; First Baptist Church, Broadway and 79th St.); the oldest Spanish and Portuguese Jewish congregation in New York (established 1654; Congregation Shearith Israel, Central Park West and 70th St.); the world's largest bible collection (American Bible Society, with 37,000 items); the first fireproof building in NYC (122 West 78th St., built by Rafael Guastavino in 1883); the oldest school in the U.S. (Collegiate School, West End Avenue and 77th St.; founded 1628); and the world's largest carillon (the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Carillon, in Riverside Church, and the largest tuned bell, the "Bourdon").

The famous Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts sits between 61st and 66th Streets on Broadway. It is home to the New York State Theater, New York City Ballet, the New York City Opera, the Metropolitan Opera House, Avery Fisher Hall, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vivian Beaumont Theater, Jazz At Lincoln Center, the Library and Museum of the Performing Arts, Alice Tully Hall for chamber music, and the world-famous Julliard School of Music. The Walter Reade Theater is the home of the center's film society. Its central plaza is the focus of summer outdoor performances of all kinds and dance nights (free salsa, tango or swing lessons, anyone?). In early winter, the Big Apple Circus pitches its tents here.

Sidewalks in this neighborhood are always crowded during the day with performers rushing to auditions and families pushing their babies in imported strollers. In the evenings, however, the action moves inside, where singles mingle in myriad restaurants and bars. Stroll along Columbus Avenue to investigate the glitzy boutique-and-restaurant strip; walk along Amsterdam Avenue with its mix of bodegas, bars, and boutiques. Along Central Park West are such titanic habitats as the buff colored, castle-like Dakota, where John Lennon was killed and Yoko Ono still lives (respects may be paid across the street in Central Park's Strawberry Fields memorial). Other interesting architectural jewels along the avenue include The Lanhgam (a 1920s Italian Renaissance-style high rise); the twin-towered San Remo (home sweet home over the years to such luminaries as Rita Hayworth, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Simon, and Diane Keaton); and The Kenilworth, with its impressive pair of ornate front columns, once the home of Michael Douglas.

Cultural attractions include the dinosaur-filled American Museum of Natural History and Rose Center for Earth and Space, the New-York Historical Society (whose collection reaches from the 1600s to today), and the Children's Museum of Manhattan.

Dining choices include two of the city's most beautiful restaurants - the romantic Café des Artistes and fantastical Tavern on the Green, plus a mind-boggling variety of cafés and restaurants along Columbus Avenue, serving everything from deli sandwiches to burritos to haute cuisine.

Venturing further uptown one finds the world's largest gothic Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Columbia University, Grant's Tomb, Riverside Church, Audubon Terrace (home of the Hispanic Society), and the Morris-Jumel Mansion, a colonial treasure. For greenery, Riverside Park is a real haven. The only state park situated on Manhattan Island, this 28-acre multi-level park rises 69 feet above the Hudson. Keep going, just past the George Washington Bridge, to the very tip of the island, and you will discover the Cloisters, which houses the Metropolitan Museum of Art's medieval art collection. In Fort Tyron Park, the Cloisters displays the famous unicorn tapestries and other 12th-16th century treasures.

Harlem

Above Central Park is the area known as Harlem, an area rich in African American History. Harlem has gone through a revitalization in the last 10 years. Former President Bill Clinton brought some attention to the area when he opened his offices here. Visit the Museo del Barrio, a museum that focuses on Latin American Art. The famous Apollo Theater is host to many famous entertainers. Visit the St. Nicholas Historical District and New York's oldest Black Church Abyssinian Baptist. Also worth a look - the Studio Museum

To the west is Columbia University, one the best and oldest universities in the country. Also, Grant's Tomb can be found at W.122nd and RiversideDrive.

Upper West Side

Broadway, brownstones, books, and some of the city's best bagels... the Upper West Side extends north from Columbus Circle at 59th Street up to 110th Street, and is bordered by Central Park West and Riverside Park.

The Upper West Side is separated from the Upper East Side by Central Park. This is the traditional stronghold of the city's intellectual, creative, and moneyed community, but the atmosphere is not as upper crust as the Upper East Side.

Elegant, pre-war buildings along the boulevards of Broadway, West End Avenue, Riverside Drive, and Central Park West meet shady, quiet streets lined with brownstones. Much of the area is protected by landmark status, and the neighborhood's restored townhouses and high-priced co-op apartments are coveted by actors, young professionals, and young families.

The Upper West Side boasts an impressive list of "firsts": The oldest Baptist congregation in the U.S. (founded 1753; First Baptist Church, Broadway and 79th St.); the oldest Spanish and Portuguese Jewish congregation in New York (established 1654; Congregation Shearith Israel, Central Park West and 70th St.); the world's largest bible collection (American Bible Society, with 37,000 items); the first fireproof building in NYC (122 West 78th St., built by Rafael Guastavino in 1883); the oldest school in the U.S. (Collegiate School, West End Avenue and 77th St.; founded 1628); and the world's largest carillon (the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Carillon, in Riverside Church, and the largest tuned bell, the "Bourdon").

The famous Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts sits between 61st and 66th Streets on Broadway. It is home to the New York State Theater, New York City Ballet, the New York City Opera, the Metropolitan Opera House, Avery Fisher Hall, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vivian Beaumont Theater, Jazz At Lincoln Center, the Library and Museum of the Performing Arts, Alice Tully Hall for chamber music, and the world-famous Julliard School of Music. The Walter Reade Theater is the home of the center's film society. Its central plaza is the focus of summer outdoor performances of all kinds and dance nights (free salsa, tango or swing lessons, anyone?). In early winter, the Big Apple Circus pitches its tents here.

Sidewalks in this neighborhood are always crowded during the day with performers rushing to auditions and families pushing their babies in imported strollers. In the evenings, however, the action moves inside, where singles mingle in myriad restaurants and bars. Stroll along Columbus Avenue to investigate the glitzy boutique-and-restaurant strip; walk along Amsterdam Avenue with its mix of bodegas, bars, and boutiques. Along Central Park West are such titanic habitats as the buff colored, castle-like Dakota, where John Lennon was killed and Yoko Ono still lives (respects may be paid across the street in Central Park's Strawberry Fields memorial). Other interesting architectural jewels along the avenue include The Lanhgam (a 1920s Italian Renaissance-style high rise); the twin-towered San Remo (home sweet home over the years to such luminaries as Rita Hayworth, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Simon, and Diane Keaton); and The Kenilworth, with its impressive pair of ornate front columns, once the home of Michael Douglas.

Cultural attractions include the dinosaur-filled American Museum of Natural History and Rose Center for Earth and Space, the New-York Historical Society (whose collection reaches from the 1600s to today), and the Children's Museum of Manhattan.

Dining choices include two of the city's most beautiful restaurants - the romantic Café des Artistes and fantastical Tavern on the Green, plus a mind-boggling variety of cafés and restaurants along Columbus Avenue, serving everything from deli sandwiches to burritos to haute cuisine.

Venturing further uptown one finds the world's largest gothic Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Columbia University, Grant's Tomb, Riverside Church, Audubon Terrace (home of the Hispanic Society), and the Morris-Jumel Mansion, a colonial treasure. For greenery, Riverside Park is a real haven. The only state park situated on Manhattan Island, this 28-acre multi-level park rises 69 feet above the Hudson. Keep going, just past the George Washington Bridge, to the very tip of the island, and you will discover the Cloisters, which houses the Metropolitan Museum of Art's medieval art collection. In Fort Tyron Park, the Cloisters displays the famous unicorn tapestries and other 12th-16th century treasures.

Upper East Side

From the Plaza Hotel at the edge of Central Park at 59th Street to the top of Museum Mile at El Museo del Barrio at 105th Street, this is the city's Gold Coast. The neighborhood air is perfumed with the scent of old money, conservative values, and glamorous sophistication, with Champagne corks popping and high society puttin' on the Ritz.

On the corner of Lexington and 59th Street is Bloomingdale's - one of the NYC shopping icons, a beloved sanctuary for stylish consumers. On Madison Avenue, window shopping can be intoxicating: so many tempting boutiques, so many famous names to flaunt on everything from socks to shoes to satin sheets to chocolates.

Between Lexington and Madison Avenues, Park Avenue is an oasis of calm with wide streets meant for strolling, lovely architecture, and a median strip that sprouts tulips in season and sculptures at other times of the year. Railroad tracks ran in this median before World War I. This grand street stretching down to midtown is one of our city's most coveted residential addresses.

Once Manhattan's Millionaire's Row, the stretch of Fifth Avenue between 72nd and 104th Streets has been renamed Museum Mile because of its astonishing number of world-class cultural institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum. This stretch is lined with the former mansions of the Upper East Side's more illustrious industrialists and philanthropists.

The neighborhood is a cornucopia of treasures, including the intimate Frick Collection, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Academy of Design's 19th 20th-century collections of American Art, and the graceful Cooper-Hewitt Museum (now officially the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Design). An added attraction to strolling along Fifth and Park Avenues are the many fascinating non-museum displays on view to the careful observer, especially in the evenings, many apartments keep their window treatments open, so it's possible to get a discreet peek inside the posh residences and maybe pick up a decorating idea or two.

And speaking of neighbors, the mayor lives up here too, but not in Gracie Mansion. Gracie Mansion, the usual mayoral abode, is a historic house on 88th Street and East End Avenue overlooking the East River and surrounded by a waterfront park.

Central Park lines Fifth Avenue. Go into "the yard" and discover a zoo, a castle, a reservoir, an ice-skating rink, a boathouse where you can rent rowboats, a gorgeous "secret" conservatory garden, and plenty of trails for walking, jogging, bicycling, and horseback riding. It's a park for all seasons, from ice skating in winter to free, summertime performances of Shakespeare's plays and concerts on the Great Lawn that crescendo to dazzling displays of fireworks. After the show, you could head over to the bar at one of the neighborhood's tony hotels, like The Mark or The Carlyle.

Clinton

If there's any neighborhood in the city that has suffered by none other than its name, it's the former Hell's Kitchen, affectionately referred to these days as the community of Clinton. Located just west of Times Square's neon lights, corporate offices and mobs of starry-eyed tourists, Clinton is a neighborhood that has learned—the hard way—not to underestimate its potential.

Like many Manhattan neighborhoods, Clinton has "belonged" to certain communities throughout its history. During the 19th century, the mix of ethnicities vying for territorial rights to the blocks west of Eighth Avenue, between 42nd and 59th Streets, rendered the area a bona fide melting pot…in the most boiling sense of the phrase. The merging of these groups—or more appropriately, the clashes between them—earned the neighborhood a name that has taken decades to shake: Hell's Kitchen. When community activists suggested renaming the area "Clinton" during the 1970's, their entreaties fell on deaf ears.

Few people cared to acknowledge the steady improvements being made in the area, and, as Puff Daddy knows, it's difficult to make a new name stick. It wasn't until the redevelopment of Times Square in the early 1990's that the new moniker—and the area's growing reputation as an up-and-coming neighborhood—began to sit well with New Yorkers. As 42nd Street's peep shows and adult video stores moved out, Disney, Condé Nast, MTV and a slew of new developers moved in. Luxury condos and rentals (The Biltmore, The Westport and The Foundry) began popping up all over the area at prices far more reasonable than what you'd find further uptown. Not such a bad deal with Time's Square at your back door, the Hudson River at the front and institutions such as Carnegie Hall and the Port Authority flanking you on the sides.

One of the newest establishments to move in nearby is the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Though located just south of Clinton, the huge, gleaming glass structure has added immeasurable value to the former Hell's Kitchen, while also spawning a community of its own within the immediate vicinity. Like all growing neighborhoods, it has a ways to go before food, clothing and furniture shopping is done on the same block, but that hasn't stopped leading architectural firms like Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Vicente Wolf Associates and Gwathmey Siegel & Associates from snapping up property along these increasingly valuable blocks—nor should it stop you from giving serious consideration to this "budding" community.

Midtown

Midtown is the center of many visitors' trips to New York City. The beautifully restored Grand Central Terminal is paces away from the Chrysler Building, the United Nations complex, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and Trump Tower. There's the fascinating Morgan Library and the awesome New York Public Library, both of which have changing exhibitions.

Behind the public library is the lovely Bryant Park, which hosts Broadway Under the Stars, free movies and music events in summer. And what says New York better than Fifth Avenue stores? Midtown also includes the new, revitalized Times Square and the Theater District, where world-famous Broadway productions wow audiences nightly. The Museum of Modern Art, a midtown attraction, is moving to Queens summer 2002 while its Manhattan building undergoes major renovations.

The Museum of Television & Radio is in midtown as is the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, the American Craft Museum, Carnegie Hall, and Radio City Music Hall. The Diamond District is on 47th Street but if you'd rather invest in art, explore the galleries along 57th Street where you'll also find theme restaurants including the Hard Rock Cafe and Jekyll & Hyde

Murray Hill

Murray Hill is probably best known to its close proximity to the Empire State Building. Aside from the historical landmark, the area is also a center of business, and the site of many clubs, churches, hi-rise apartment buildings, brownstone mansions and restaurants.

Murray Hill is a neighborhood where time has changed old carriage houses into charming homes. The brownstones here are unpretentious turn-of-the-century buildings that are elegant and fashionable. This popular area is made more attractive by the vitality of its early evening street life. There are doctors, nurses and other young professionals employed by the University and Bellevue Hospitals and related New York University medical facilities. Casual, inviting shops and restaurants crowd Second and Third Avenues and play to a youthful audience. Points of interest include the Empire State Building and Pierpont Morgan Library

Chelsea

These days, art and fashion seem to go together like hand and glove, so it makes perfect sense that New York's gallery district neighbors fashion-design central. Chelsea, a neighborhood defined for many years by its all inclusive attitude and its landmark hotel (the Chelsea Hotel has housed a number of rock stars and writers to include Mark Twain, Dylan Thomas, O. Henry and most infamously, Sid Viscous and Nancy Spungeon), is now one of the city's hottest zip codes, thanks to the many art galleries, restaurants and bars that have moved into former warehouses located west of Ninth Avenue.

During seasonal art openings, the area buzzes with cocktail-wielding gallery-hoppers who are as interesting to look at as the art itself. East of Ninth Avenue, the crowds get thicker, the merchants are more abundant and the warehouses give way to stunning landmark townhouses, prewar co-ops and new luxury rental buildings. Some of the latest to crop up along Sixth Avenue are the Tate, the Westminster and the Sierra. Though eye-pleasing in their own right, traditionalists may prefer the look of Historic Chelsea's Cushman Row, located between Ninth and Tenth Avenues on 20th Street. The best deals, however, are found further uptown in the west 30's, where dining options and clothing stores are less prevalent, but price-per-square-foot offers more bang for your buck.

As you continue northbound on Seventh Avenue, the buildings grow taller and the streets more hectic: Welcome to Fashion Avenue and Fashion Center! Everywhere you look, r acks of beautiful garments are being loaded, unloaded, pushed up the sidewalk, delivered to retailers—this is where F.I.T. grooms its bright-eyed hopefuls into the next Donna Karans and Calvin Kleins of the world (the former even has offices in the neighborhood). It's also where millions of shoppers flock to snap up the bargains at Macy's, an equal number take in events at Madison Square Garden and more yet travel daily through Penn Station. In terms of housing, there is a lot going on within the boundaries of Fifth Avenue and Eighth Avenue, between 34th and 42nd Streets.

Gramercy Park

Nothing says happy medium like the areas of Gramercy Park and the Flat Iron District. And by happy, we mean ecstatic! Both regions offer residents the convenience of living downtown (the Village, Noho and Soho are only blocks away), not to mention the sophistication generally reserved for the city's toniest uptown neighborhoods. In fact, Gramercy Park is one of the most expensive areas to buy in New York City, and just one stroll along its pristine, manicured blocks will tell you why: The private park for which the area was named is the epicenter of a tight-knit community made up of breathtaking Victorian brownstones and the fortunate people who own them.

As you move further east, beyond Third Avenue, the terrain becomes a mix of pre- and post-war structures that are significantly more affordable than their park-side counterparts. As to be expected, buyers in these buildings tend to be young professionals and singles who chose the area because it's safe, reasonably priced and centrally located. As a result of their decision to move here, more restaurants, bars, lounges and venues for entertainment are settling in the blocks between E 14th and E 23rd Streets, giving the neighborhood a more a youthful glow.

Just a few blocks west of Gramercy Park and beyond Union Square, you'll find the Flat Iron District. The neighborhood, named after the world's first steel-frame skyscraper (formerly known as the Fuller Building), is a symphony of activity, populated with as many well-muscled joggers and dog-walking singles as it is frenzied shoppers and tireless professionals. Those who didn't rush here as a result of the internet boom of the 1990s, were drawn to this traditionally commercial area by its detailed architecture and its huge, airy lofts. Some of the other attractions in the vicinity include Madison Square Park, chic restaurants, such as Tabla and Eleven Madison Park, and a number of useful retail stores.

Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village - also known as the West Village or the Village - is more upscale than the East Village and is the original corner of cool, the closest any American neighborhood comes to a corner of Paris. This part of town has been home to artists and writers, nonconformists, entertainers, intellectuals, and bohemians since the turn of the 20th century. Downtown charm is personified in lots of low-rise townhouses, thumbnail size gardens, secret courtyards, and a wacky serpentine layout of streets.

Washington Square Park and the rows of townhouses around it with charming alleys behind them are all frozen in time. The park, with its arch famous from much movie exposure, is the heart of the Village. This 9 ½ -acre park at the foot of Fifth Avenue is an oasis and circus combined, where skate boarders, jugglers, stand-up comics, sitters, strollers, sweethearts, chess players, fortune tellers, and daydreamers converge and commune.

Washington Mews and Mac Dougal Alley are quiet cobblestone lanes right off the square. Legendary streets such as McDougal, Astor Place, and Bleecker (famous Beat and hippie hangouts) are lined with super-hip boutiques, delis displaying esoteric beers from around the globe, and cafes and restaurants of all stripes.

It makes sense that New York University is in the Village, an area that has been home to some of the world's most famous writers and artists including Henry James, Edith Wharton, Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Eugene O'Neill, Norman Rockwell, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and Beat writers Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

At night, Greenwich Village comes alive with sounds from late-night coffeehouses, cafés, experimental theaters, and music clubs. Bars and restaurants ad infinitum serve everything from cranberry martinis and celestial sushi to pita-wrapped shwarma. Searching for the soul of the Beat generation? At fabled coffeehouses like Caffe Reggio and Café Figaro, you can order a double espresso or cappuccino and pretend for a few minutes that you're Allen Ginsberg, Jack Keruouac, or William Burroughs.

The Village is home to a large community of gays and lesbians. Across 7th Avenue is Christopher Street, site of a historic clash (in front of the Stonewall bar) in 1969 between city police and gay men, marking the beginning of the gay rights movement.

East Village

During the 19th century, millionaires like the Astors and Vanderbilts had homes in East Village, but the waves of Irish, German, Jewish, Polish, and Ukrainian immigrants who flooded into New York City in the 1900s soon displaced the elite, who moved uptown.

Since then, the area has been home to the Beat generation of the 1950s, hippies in the 1960s, and punks in the late 1970s and 1980s. Today it's still a young person's neighborhood, with its experimental music clubs and theaters and cutting-edge fashion. New York University is in the area, so there's no shortage of clientele here. Foodies take note: this neighborhood reputedly contains the most varied assortment of ethnic restaurants in New York City, from the crush of Indian eateries on the south side of East Sixth Street (sometimes called "Little Bombay") to McSorley's Old Ale House, a pub that seems unchanged since it first opened in 1854. Nearby, in what was once the home of the Astor Library, the restored Public Theater has been the opening venue for many now-famous plays.

For more trend-setting street life, head east toward Alphabet City (named for avenues A, B, C, and D)- still a little rough around the edges but with many reasonably priced, fun, and gamut-running places to eat, drink, and shop…and, if you're really getting into the scene, some very cool tattoo parlors.

A haven from the pressure of classes at New York University, students regularly gather around the Alamo at Astor Place. The Alamo is a 15-ft (4.5m) steel cube designed by Bernard Rosenthal that revolves when pushed. Cooper Union, a school that holds many interesting public lectures and exhibits, was established in 1859 just in time for Abraham Lincoln to make a campaign speech in its auditorium. Today, Blue Man Group performs its popular Tubes Off-Broadway audience-participation performance art extravaganza at the Astor Place Theater.

Soho

Within only a quarter of a square mile, SoHo has an estimated 250 art galleries, four museums, nearly 200 restaurants, and 100 stores.

The blocks south of Houston (pronounced HOW-ston) and north of Canal streets are home to the city's largest concentration of the cast-iron fronted buildings, built as warehouses and manufacturing spaces, but converted to living spaces, called "lofts," for artists and sculptors who appreciated the larger spaces. These huge, 19th-century architectural gems (Victorian Gothic, Italianiate, and neo-Grecian among them) are prized by preservationists and the well-heeled bohemians of SoHo who call the neighborhood home.

The Museum for African Art, New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Alternative Museum are all in SoHo.

The New York Fire Museum on Spring Street displays a nostalgic and inspirational collection of hand-pulled and horse-drawn apparatus, engines, sliding poles, uniforms and fireboat equipment from the 18th through the 20th centuries - a good place to pay respects to our heroes from 9-11.

Robert Lee Morris sells jewelry that is wearable art; Canal Jean Company sells authentic Levi's, cutting-edge shoes, and sportswear at discount prices; Vintage New York features only wines and food from New York State; The Scholastic Store sells Scholastic brands including Clifford the Big Red Dog and Harry Potter - in an interactive, multimedia environment; and the Ward-Nasse Gallery has the largest selection of original art in SoHo.

If you work up an appetite after all the shopping, head to the Cub Room or Zoë for dinner, and afterwards to NV/289 Bar Lounge, S.O.B.'s (Sounds of Brazil) for a little samba, or the SoHo Grand Hotel for a drink in an international and sophisticated environment.

Lower East Side

This is New York's landmark historic Jewish neighborhood, which was once the world's largest Jewish community. It was here that the New York garment industry began. Today it is one of New York's favorite bargain beats, where serious shoppers find fantastic bargains (especially along Orchard Street on a Sunday afternoon), cutting-edge new designers, and hot bars and music venues - and possibly the best place to get a great pastrami sandwich, pickles out of a barrel, and the world's best bialys. Try Katz's Delicatessen (205 East Houston St.), the oldest and largest real NY deli, founded in 1888.

Bounded by Houston Street, Canal Street, and the FDR Drive, the neighborhood's center is Orchard Street. Once a Jewish wholesale enclave, this street is a true multicultural blend, with trendy boutiques, French cafés, and velvet-roped nightspots sprinkled among dry-goods discounters, Spanish bodegas, and mom-and-pop shops selling everything from T-shirts to designer fashions to menorahs. Orchard is lined with small shops purveying clothing and shoes at great prices. Grand, Orchard, and Delancey Streets are treasure troves for linens, towels, and other housewares, and the traditional Sunday street vendors (Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, is observed by many shopkeepers as a day of rest) offer great opportunities to hone your bargaining skills! At Shapiro's Winery visitors can taste one of their 32 flavors of wine, and at Streit's bakery, matzoh mavens can sample the freshly baked unleavened bread as it rolls off the conveyor belts behind the counter.

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum interprets the area's immigrant and migrant experiences through tours of a landmark 19th century tenement, living history programs, neighborhood walking tours, plays, and special programs. The first synagogue built by Eastern European Jews in America (1887) is the Eldridge Street Project, now a cultural center and gift shop.

Tribeca

Formerly a walk down the streets of Tribeca would have been an elixir for the senses: herbs and spices from around the world, colorful tradesman offloading burgeoning ships laden with fine goods from foreign lands, the sound of the longshoremen as they hustled to dock those huge vessels that sought the piers as their final destination after traveling halfway around the globe.

Now primarily a residential area, Tribeca (which stands for triangle below Canal Street) started out in the 1800's as a result of being a shipping destination, a commercial neighborhood, featuring the city's first department store, A. T. Stewart. Over the years, more businesses moved in, particularly commercial food industries, which constructed huge warehouses to store their many supplies. When they began relocating to the Bronx during the 1960's and 1970's, loft-hungry artists and other professionals didn't miss a beat. More spacious and unequivocally less expensive than anywhere else, Tribeca saw an influx of painters, designers, filmmakers and the like transforming its barren buildings—many of them of architectural significance—into beautiful, sun-drenched art studios living and working spaces.

Tribeca is now one of the city's highest priced neighborhoods. It is quickly blossoming into its own hub, with hip hotels like the Tribeca Grand sharing the spotlight with fabulous boutiques (Tribeca Issey Miyake) and high profile residents. Glamorous events also take place here (Tribeca Film Festival), and award-winning restaurants like Danube and Nobu have transformed the neighborhood into a NYC destination.

In recent years, families have taken an interest in the generally larger loft spaces in this fashionable area. Its proximity to the West Side Highway's waterfront parks, not to mention its quiet streets, spacious housing and wonderful schools (Stuyvesant High School, P.S. 234, P.S. 89), make it very popular with couples who have children. Beyond that, the area just happens to be a loft-lovers dream-come-true, with many of its warehouses having already undergone extensive conversions. Loft living is so desirable that one of the newest structures to be built in Tribeca was designed with "loft like" ceiling heights. It is the sixteen-story Hubert Building scheduled to open in 2004. Now one of the city's most desirable neighborhoods, Tribeca continues to draw the finest purveyors of food and services, furniture and recreational facilities, fine and fun dining establishments as well as is becoming a second Broadway with a wide variety of theater and other cultural attractions.

Chinatown

South of Canal Street lies bustling Chinatown, which has over the years expanded into the Lower East Side and Little Italy. The largest Asian community in North America can be found among the narrow streets between Worth and Hester and East Broadway and West Broadway; its main street is Canal Street.

Within these boundaries, you'll find traditional Chinese herbal-medicine shops, acupuncturists, food markets filled with amazing varieties of fish and exotic vegetables, funky pagoda-style buildings, stores selling all manner of items from beautiful jewelry and silk robes to hair accessories and plumbing parts, and hundreds of restaurants serving every imaginable type of Chinese cuisine, from dim sum to fried noodles to extravagant Cantonese, Hunan, Mandarin, or Szechuan banquets.

The many signs in Chinese, the music pouring into the streets from open windows, the delicious smells from the restaurants, noodle shops and tea houses packed side by side, and the sound of the language swirling around you make it easy to feel ike you've flown half way around the world in the short time it took to get downtown.

Although the neighborhood is known for its excellent Chinese cuisine, perhaps one of its more secret highlights is the Eastern States Buddhist Temple on Mott Street. Step inside - your spirit will be refreshed and your eyes will be delighted by the sight of 100 golden Buddha's shimmering in the candlelight. Frequent festivals and parades (especially during the January and February Chinese New Year celebrations, when paper puppet dragons, firecrackers, and beating drums rule the streets!), as well as the galleries and curio shops create a glorious celebration of Chinese culture.

Financial District

The lower tip of Manhattan (called The Financial District, Lower Manhattan or Downtown), where the East and Hudson rivers meet, is where New York City began; it was also our nation's first capital. In one of history's most famous real estate deals, Dutch traders purportedly purchased the island of "Man-a-hatt-a" from the Algonquin Indians in 1621 for $24 worth of beads and other trinkets. Originally called New Amsterdam by these Dutch settlers, the 21st century blend of old colonial churches and gleaming skyscrapers has become the financial capital of the world.

The heart of it all is the area clustered around Wall Street - originally a walled fortress (c. 1633) built by the settlers. Titanic edifices such as the New York Stock Exchange and the Federal Reserve Bank buildings line the streets here.