My LES – Joseph Meloy
This weekly feature spotlights a wide variety of people who live and work on the Lower East Side. If you know someone you would like to suggest be featured in “My LES,” please email us here.
What do you do?
I am an artist and an exotic dancer. Actually I am not an exotic dancer, but I am an artist. Really! (Joseph currently has his first collection of work showing at Le Salon D’Art on Stanton Street – make sure to go by and check it out.)
How long have you lived on the LES?
I was born and raised in the LES (4th generation LES, no less!). In recent years, I have split my residency between the LES and Downtown Brooklyn.
Favorite block in the hood?
Not quite sure if this qualifies as “favorite” per se, but I would like to point out that Attorney Street between Delancey and Rivington seems to be something of a block that time forgot… It looks more like this place used to look in the 80’s. I dig it and I hope it stays gritty like that.
Favorite date spot in the hood?
Umm I’m a walker, so to me a nice date spot is right along the East River, in that stretch between Jackson Street and 14th Street. I love the view and the relative seclusion of it all…
Favorite coffee in the hood?
The Classic Coffee Shop at 56 Hester! If you’re looking for some legit Old-School LES go check it out right now and tell ‘em Joseph Meloy sent ya!
Favorite slice in the hood?
As an admitted pizza snob, I hate to say it but most of the pizza in the LES kinda sucks… I mean most of it is OKAY, but when you compare it to Di Fara’s, Totonno’s or Grimaldi’s, there’s just no comparison. Lombardi’s is great too, but that’s more Nolita than LES… I was so happy to have Two Boots on Grand Street, but I guess I must have been the only one because that didn’t last very long…
Where do you take your visitors when they’re here?
There’s always something interesting going on in Chinatown, so that’s a good spot to bring out-of-towners. Lots of sights and smells to, um, take in. But this month, if I have any visitors, I’ll definitely be taking them to Le Salon d’Art at 90 Stanton Street to check out my awesome Vandal Expressionism exhibit!
Favorite dive/locals bar in the hood?
Hmmmm.. I’m usually pretty comfortable anywhere where I can draw on the bathroom wall without feeling guilty.
How has the neighborhood changed in the last few years?
Well I first started seeing the big changes around 2000 or so… I started seeing scruffier people appear sporadically on Grand Street… It was so rare to see that in the 90’s, and bit by bit, there were more people roaming around that just didn’t quite look like they were born and raised in this exact neck of the woods… With regard to the last couple of years, after a 4 or 5 year hiatus from going to Piano’s, I was dismayed to see that there’s now a rope and a B&T line out the door…
Favorite LES memory?
When I was in 8th grade, my friend, my brother and I found a way into the catacombs under the East River Houses. The floor was absolutely carpeted with dead bugs (not a single one was alive if I recall), there were all kinds of crazy files from the 70’s just strewn about, and there were both living and dead cats. The clearance in some parts was less than 3 feet high, so we felt like the Goonies making our way through the passages beneath the buildings. I still remember a piece of graffiti on the wall that said “Hurt Me” and to this day, I’m still somewhat freaked out by it. But in a good way.