Pernod

Because so many people claim it the true place has been forgotten. It’s original boundary is from the Bowery to the East River between Houston St. (pronounced “How-stun”) and the Manhattan Bridge. pernod1.gifHistory gave the neighborhood it’s name, not realtors. I have been guilty of saying ‘welcome to the Lower East Side’ to get a laugh, as when I wrote it on the wall of the gang shower at college. In truth I grew up nearly a mile away. The only evidence I have for a name for my neighborhood is on a Pernod bottle. Someone bought Pernod at the liquor store around the corner in the 1960’s.pernod21.gif It has a partial price tag with a phone number starting ‘MU5’ for Murray Hill. Since my mother does not drink she still had it in 2001 when I dumped the contents and claimed the bottle as an artifact. People living in Letterland often regard that as the LES and call it ‘Loisaida’. Lower Manhattan is such a small place it would seem silly to make these distinctions. The LES is extinct in any case. In the short span of my life it went from pushcarts to the cafes and restaurants of gentrification. Now the monthly rent for an apartment can exceed $30,000 and to move in you have to have the approval of the NYC Office of Cultural Affairs. As recently as 1990 my mother fought off a purse snatching on Orchard Street using her umbrella, which the snatcher took. Welcome to the Lower East Side.

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