A 3 miles trek (2 hours of strolling and taking pictures, much more if you visit the museums) to discover East Village, NoHo East, Alphabet City and Lower East Side. On the menu, modern and ancient architecture, a still bohemian atmosphere, 5 museums, unusual shops, the statue of Lenin, lively parks and gardens (details and photos under the map).

Highlights: Astor and Tompkins Parks, Cooper Union School, Ukrainian Museum, Marble Cemetery, St. Patrick’s Church, New Museum, International Center for Photography, Tenement Museum, Statue of Lenin, Museum of Reclaimed Urban Spaces.

 

A & B: Take the metro to Astor Plaza station and once outside,  before going further, admire the sculptures that line the square and the classical building of the Cooper Union, a private art school.

Then take Cooper Sq. and you will soon see a building with interesting contemporary architecture that is also part of the Cooper Union school. Have a look at its entrance hall with its big winding staircase, it will give you an idea of ​​the place. The school has also exhibition spaces  open to the public, the guard will tell you more about them.

C: Next, find E 6th St. on your left and you’ll soon see the Ukrainian Museum, a small museum with arts and crafts shows, before arriving on the 2nd Ave which you will take on the right.

You’ll find many restaurants with terraces there, but you are looking for a driveway on your right just after E 3rd St: if it is open, it will take you to the Marble Cemetery, a quiet and secluded place that was a cemetery with marble graves. However, you’ll need to read the explanatory panels placed there to be able to imagine what it looked like because the graves have disappeared.

On E 2nd St that you’ll then take on your right, you’ll find a small and incongruous garden abutting the Marble Cemetery. This is one of the many communal gardens you’ll see along your trek in East Village.

After that, take Bowery on your left then E Houston St on your right and finally Mott St on your left to find the entrance to St. Patrick’s Basilica in the NoHo district. It has the particularity to house the only catacombs of New York, but you’ll have to book a tour to visit them. In the meantime, go inside to look at the beautiful stained glass windows and evocative wooden sculptures.

Once you have completed your visit, continue on Mott St. and when crossing Prince St., turn left and walk back to Bowery.

D: The New Museum will be in front of you and you’ll find the International Center of Photography on your left. Both are well worth a visit if you have the time, the first for its often provocative contemporary art exhibitions and its rooftop terrace overlooking the city, the second for its gorgeous photos.

E: The avenue at this location offers you a whole series of shops specializing in restaurant equipment and they tell in their own way the history of the kitchens where your favorite meals are prepared. You’ll find some more on Delancey St which you will then take to go to another museum, the Tenement Museum. It will tell you the story of the early 20th century immigrants, presented in several typical houses of the time.

F: Continue on Delancey towards the Williamsburg Bridge until you find Norfolk St on your left. After two small communal gardens on Stanton St, raise your head and look to the right: Lenin is on a roof and dominates the city! The statue, commissioned by the communist state just before its fall, was never displayed in the USSR but was bought by a New Yorker in 1994 and erected on the building with the clock in front of you before finding its place here.

G: At the end of the street, take E Houston St on the right then Avenue B on the left and E 3rd St on the left again. You’ll see another communal garden, the Miracle Garden, but if it’s closed, go a little bit further to reach the Church of the Holy Redeemer and sit and admire its architecture. It was the most important church of what was in the 19th century the “Little Germany” district.

H: Then retrace your steps until Avenue C and take it on your left. The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Spaces will be after E9th St but along the way, you ll see other communal gardens, each with its own particular style. The museum will then show you how these gardens have been developed and tell you the story of the squatters and activists of the 1970s who made the district what it is still today (find out about visiting hours and tours lead by the old actors of that time).

Then head to Tompkins Park by way of E 9th or E 10th St. People take sun on the lawns, listen to jazz bands, read, chat and give you a live glimpse of the neighborhood’s special atmosphere. 

I & J: Then follow E 10th St. to the west, you’ll pass the Turkish and Russian baths (comments about the place are varied so it’s up to you to see if you want to stop for massages or a sauna, but the sign is pretty) and once at St Mark’s Church, one of the two oldest churches in Manhattan, you can have a break on the pews before taking Stuyvesant St on your left and going back to Astor Plazza, your starting point (by way of the 3rd Av then E 9th St).

If you now want to explore more, the Greenwich Village trek will not be far from Astor Plazza. You can start it at Grace Church (point J) then walk to Union Square, its starting point, and finish at Jefferson Market Library, the penultimate step of this trek (point I) where you will find a metro station.

Good to know: there are many restaurants on this trek but to sit, it will often be necessary to enter churches or wait for Tompkins Park; to find restrooms, it will be difficult outside the museums

Metro: Astor Plazza (departure and arrival)

Tips for the guide: they are welcome but as we live in a virtual world, it will be easier to click here to buy me a coffee or to help cover the costs of the site by following the suggestions below!

 




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