The Market

Kips Bay to the Lower East Side: "It's nice to go to bar without standing three deep in line everytime you order a drink"

By Andy Lavoie  | July 13, 2012 - 10:39AM

Why did I move? I'm getting old. 

I lived with three other guys for most of time in New York City, and during the last year, it was down to two other guys. I lived in Kips Bay on 27th and Second and loved every minute of it.

For one thing, my apartment spoiled me. From the appliances to the floors, we were the first to use everything in that apartment. Huge windows would let us soak in fresh sunlight. Our balcony played a winning role in our small get-togethers. 

For another thing, the neighborhood was conveniently central. A 20-minute walk would take me to Madison Square Park or to the tip of the East Village. And everything is just bigger in Kips Bay and Murray Hill.  If I wanted to go watch a game, avoid huge crowds or just get a drink, I’d walk over one block to Arctica on 27th and Third. 

I could do the same at Tonic East, which I’ll admit gets a little more crowded but the bar is still spacious. In a city where everything is shrunk down, it’s nice to go to a bar without having to stand three-deep in line every time you order a drink. Having a conversation with your friends shouldn’t be a luxury. Unfortunately, it is.

But, after four years, it was time to move on. One of our roommates sparked the idea, when he said he wanted to live alone. It made sense. We all had crossed over to the late 20s age box. Living alone seemed like the next logical step.

I started looking for one-bedroom apartments in Gramercy. That sounded more grown-up. I thought I could find another newly renovated apartment, and I could still be close to places like Blue Smoke or Les Halles, which was always a solid brunch option. Ok, I also wanted to stay close to Arctica. (What? The bar has a lot of, um, space.)

I ended up on the Lower East Side, on Houston and Norfolk, by accident.

In the middle of my search, I got a call from my broker about an apartment that met all my criteria. But, it was a little farther downtown than I wanted, 27 blocks farther to be exact. I figured I should go check it out anyways. 

When I walked into the newly renovated, light-filled spacious one-bedroom, I knew I wanted to live there. It was just like my Kips Bay apartment but as a one-bedroom Lower East Side manifestation. I loved the view. The outdoor space and the rooftop. The weird bug paintings in the elevator. I moved in a little over a month ago.

I’m glad I did. The number of my restaurant choices increased exponentially.  Just on Clinton south of Houston nooked between the trees, I already found Ed’s Lobster Bar and Donnybrook, which is a big bar with TVs. I like space. I like enjoying my drink instead of spilling it. I got over raging parties when I stopped being 22. 

I’m enjoying living on the LES.  The crowd is about the same age as the Murray Hill crowd but there are fewer cocky frat guys. No one dresses up just to grab a drink after work.

It’s got the laid back feeling of the struggling artists stereotype, but the expensive rent, say $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom, pushed a lot of the dream-catching crowd out.

People are friendlier down here, though. I have conversations with strangers. For the first time, my neighbors start elevator-ride conversations with me. 

I’m still looking for a regular drinking spot, so sometimes I venture up to Arctica. But, not often. Those are 27 long blocks. 

Transitions highlights New Yorkers’ first impressions as they transition from one neighborhood to another. Want to tell us your transition story? Drop us an email.

See all Transitions


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Upper East Side to Kips Bay: I still don't really hang out where I live


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