Travel

Lower East Side

Establishment neighborhood
Katz’s Deli
205 E. Houston St., Lower East Side
A legendary Jewish deli, Katz’s originally opened in 1888 under a different name, and across the street from its current location on Houston and Ludlow. It was an institution long before the iconic orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally, although it didn’t hurt. Most people come for either the hot pastrami or corned beef sandwich, or the Reuben version, which adds Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Katz’s credits its slow curing method, which can last up to a month, for the meat’s superior taste. (You’ll also find matzo ball soup on the menu, along with everything else you’d expect/want, as well as less traditional offerings for a Jewish deli, like NY-style cheesecake.) For those outside of the city, note that Katz’s ships across the States.
CW Pencil Enterprise
15 Orchard St., Lower East Side
As far as specialty shops go, CW Pencil Enterprise is downright granular. It’s shoe-box sized and therefore really easy to miss, so keep an eye out for the pencil drawing, which the owner, Caroline Weaver, put up in lieu of traditional signage. Inside, the floors are black-and-white checkered, and the shelves are lined with neatly labeled jars of pencils and on-theme art. Make good use of the pencil-testing station, which is set up on a Mid-Century desk and topped with vintage-looking sharpeners and old-school notebooks, while the staff (it’s usually Weaver herself manning the store) drop knowledge about each pencil’s provenance, history, color, and optimal use. CW carries amazing stationery brands like Craft Design Technology, Tombow, and Field Notes; and then there’s the Pencil of the Month club and custom pencil services, which the owner fulfills herself by hand with an antique hot foil press.
Hotel Indigo Lower East Side
171 Ludlow St., Lower East Side
A somewhat newcomer to the Lower East Side, Hotel Indigo stands out, literally, as one of the tallest buildings in its radius, which translates into unparalleled views of the neighborhood and beyond. Not surprisingly, the hotel has a rooftop bar (Mr. Purple) and a modestly sized pool—not necessarily for doing laps, but it adds to the atmosphere. The rooms are modern and the best ones have floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The duplex penthouse suite might be the biggest splurge, but the outdoor terrace room on the seventh floor is pretty special, too.
Wildair
142 Orchard St., Lower East Side
COVID-19 update: The duo behind Wildair continue to pivot. Currently the most exciting pastries and sandwiches in New York come from here. Abvailable for pickup and delivery. Chef duo Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske Valtierra of Contra opened a more casual wine-bar-meets-restaurant spot a couple doors down on Orchard Street in the summer of 2015, which has proven to be an LES standout. All of the seating is at high-top, communal tables, and it's walk-in only. The wine list is first-rate, but this isn't just a spot for drinks, so come hungry and attempt to order as many of the very shareable plates as you can. COVID-19 disclaimer: We are working hard to keep our listings as up to date as possible (deliveries, outdoor dining, etc.), but given the evolving nature of local COVID-19 restrictions, we recommend double-checking the information in this guide with any business you plan on visiting. Also, please note that we have not vetted any businesses listed within our guides for their compliance with applicable safety regulations.
Morgenstern’s
2 Rivington St., Lower East Side
This ice cream place is run by Nicholas Morgenstern, a classically trained pastry chef (he was formerly head pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern) who turned out to be a whiz at crafting elevated flavors. Using only the highest quality ingredients, if you're craving a creamy and non-processed—treat, this is the spot. Beyond the scoops, the shop on Rivington is incredibly charming: The exterior is painted royal blue and the inside is set up like an old-fashioned parlor with counter seats and a window ledge. Note: It's cash-only here.
Dayle Breault
Lower East Side
Anyone who gets a facial with Dayle Breault (who, aptly, also goes by Goddess of Skin) emerges with a gleam that extends, almost impossibly, into the next week. Whatever your issue—blemishes, dullness, uncomfortable dryness, sagging—Breault helps sooth, energize, and balance skin with a nurturing touch and variety of high-tech devices. Sessions with Breault are a beautiful, pampering haze; she even makes extractions feel luxurious. Layers of her nourishing products are massaged and smoothed in with her exceptional touch, and she often uses special microcurrent gloves that are truly next-level. “They enable me to use my hands to apply the current, as opposed to probes—it’s a more tactile experience for the patient, as well as for me,” she says. “I can really feel each muscle, it helps encourage manual lymphatic drainage.” Breault travels the world to learn about skin (she recently learned an amazing inside-of-the-mouth technique in Paris), and prizes vitamin C, peptides, and gentle exfoliation as the most important ingredients for a healthy-skin routine. We’re obsessed with how light, airy, and unburdened we feel walking out of her studio, not to mention how glowy we look. Call or…