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NYC Grid is a photo blog dedicated to exploring New York block-by-block and corner-by-corner. Each post covers a new street or feature with a focus on the mundane and ephemeral.


Entries in Lower East Side (49)


Forsyth St Between Grand St and Broome St 

Today's photos were taken by my good friend Shalimar Luis. Please be sure to visit her website, which is full of her amazing artwork ranging from illustrations and painting to typography and graphic design.

A sister to Chrystie Street across Sara Roosevelt Park, Forsyth is a long mixed stretch of industrial, commercial and a dash of residential (sounds like a Sim City layout). While the park makes it feel a bit different than you'd expect, there's no mistaking that this is still Chinatown. The assortment of groceries for sale make that abundantly clear. 

The park itself is a great mixture of sports, art, and just plain-old sitting around. The narrowness of the park, especially when it's right up next to the street, can make it rather hard to get around sometimes- but as long as you keep to one side or the other, you'll be ok.


Delancy St Between Clinton St and Norfolk St

Right near the base of the Williamsburg Bridge, this part of Delancey is a bit dead. Sure, there's a good enough selection of stores, but with a big empty void on the south side of the block, you're a bit stuck.

The massive size of Delancey makes for a loud, crowded stretch of road, and the grungy nature of the area make for a rather un-welcome feeling. However, if you're looking for something that is uniquely New York, and hasn't really sold out (yet) to the real estate world, this area should fit the bill.


Chrystie St Between Canal St and Hester St 

With with grand entrance to the Manhattan Bridge behind me (along with the towering mass of buildings in the Financial District), walking north along Chrystie street into the maze of blocks that make up the Lower East Side can be a bit disorienting. The tangle of streets that make up the various ramps onto the bridge create for a bit of a pedestrian nightmare. If not for the massive arch structure acting as a visual clue to traffic, it'd be hard to tell where to go.

The right-hand side of this street is home to a big, open astroturf field which belongs to Pace High School. Also starting here is the 7-block-long Sara Roosevelt Park (Which Google Maps misspells as "Sarah" similar fashion to how it misspells "Grammercy"). It also seems, at least according to my map, that the school is located in this park, but that may be coincidence .

By the end of the block, much of the park space is fenced off, and is under construction. It seems that by next spring there will be some really interesting changes coming to this part of the LES.


3rd Ave Between 18th St and 16th St 

With an endless series of bars and restaurants marking the middle ground between Union Square and the Lower East Side, this part of third ave is one part destination, and one part neighborhood. With plenty of dorms in the surrounding area, this place is lousy with students and other fake-ID-holders. 

For such a major street, I'm a bit surprised it isn't more "over" developed. The only major chain of note is Duane Reade, and it's never surprising to find one of those. Most of the restaurants and stores appear to be locally-owned.


Suffolk St Between Houston and Stanton St 

A rather desolate-feeling block with a Latino flair, this opening stretch of Suffolk Street isn't the most inviting place in the world. With just as much character as any other LES block, you wont be at a loss of things to look at and admire. However it's got no equivalent north of Houston St - so unlike Essex or Clinton (to the West and East respectively), there's no natural traffic feeding in here.

There's plenty of apartment buildings here, and as you get closer towards Stanton (and deeper into the lower east side), you begin to feel more like you're in a neighborhood and less like you're in some weird development zone. There's a community garden party way down the block, which looks like a really great use of what must have been an empty lot (let's hope it stays that way). And of course, this wouldn't be the neighborhood that it is without a bunch of random stuff painted on buildings - Everything from flags to murals, to graffiti- this block has it all.


3rd Ave Between 11th St and 9th St 

While not much has happened on these particular blocks, recent years have seen seismic changes in the surrounding area. With towering, overwhelming examples of starchitecture shooting up in all directions, the smaller, more humble buildings begin to feel a bit anemic and out-of-place.

One of more noticeable examples is the new Cooper Union building about two blocks south of here. I happen to be a fan of its sheer insanity, though there are many who probably think I'm crazy. Aesthetics aside, as a designer I like it whenever a bold step like this is given a chance (in any medium). With so many different people having a hand in a massive project like this, it's a miracle the building didn't get dumbed down the the "safe" point - the point at which nearly everyone would find it inoffensive. How boring that would be.

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