It was a harried 48 hours in NYC what with storage facilities, a bed, a mattress, cable installation, two guys painting, and what-have-you, but all in all the stars were aligned and nothing bad happened.
Rivington is nothing like it was ages and ages ago when, as a boy and then teenager, I’d visit periodically first with my mom and later with college friends whom I took to Katz’s. Many people older then me seemed scary: Defined by their work, age, and relationships, it didn’t seem likely to find ways to affiliate. Most of all, as a result, a lot of observation took place as if from a distance though people were, in fact, proximate.
These days the Lower East Side is a heady mix of Spanish-speaking residents, most of whom seem to be from the D.R., crazy-hip Chinese or Korean young people, aging hipsters dipped into ink and covered with tattoos, and white kids on their way up or down in a variety of states of employment.
Essex Street Market is an astonishment: Stall after stall of beautiful, fresh fruits and vegetables, Porto Rico coffee, two fish stalls, a butcher, etc. The side streets have a number of very well known and first-rate hole-in-the-wall restaurants, from Ivan Ramen to Mission Cantina, and sake bar after sake bar.
Chinatown is a few blocks away. Little Italy just past that. You can touch East Village.