My LES: Ludwig Persik
This popular 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 play music! In 2010, I was swooped up on a world tour singing and playing guitar for Jamie Lidell, promoting his 2010 album, Compass. It was an absolute dream come true. This year I finished recording my debut album in Nashville, Tenn., which was produced by the very same Mr. Lidell! Currently, I’m playing shows in NYC promoting the EP, which is available for free on my website. Our next show is Dec. 6 at Glasslands, so stay tuned. Yep!
How long have you lived on the LES?
I grew up on Avenue B, and went to the Neighborhood School for elementary school, and NEST+m for middle and high school. So, my answer: forever.
Favorite block in the hood?
Third and A used to be the center of the universe for me while I was growing up: After-school specials at Two Boots! Halloween Parade! And even though I don’t hang there so much anymore, it has remained fixed in my mind as such. My most immediate favorite block/area is East Broadway as it crosses Jefferson. Oliver Street (down by Chatham Square) is also pretty cool. My girlfriend and I fantasize about some of the buildings on that block.
Favorite date spot in the hood?
Cafe Petisco on East Broadway and Jefferson. The staff there are lovely, the avocado-and-bacon burgers are wicked and the haloumi salad is absolutely delicious.
Favorite coffee in the hood?
Keeping it strictly within a two-block radius, Cafe Grumpy on Essex Street. Their coffee is inspiring. o_O
Favorite cheap eats in the hood?
Lan Cafe on Sixth Street and First Avenue is the best! This is a real contender for my favorite date spot in the hood. They are the freshest, quietest, most delicious and reasonably priced vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant in town. Ace!
Where do you take your visitors when they’re here?
I try not to take them anywhere. Evil, I know, but I feel that sowing seeds of geographic interest is more effective. That way, they feel they have discovered the city for themselves. St. Marks! Avenue A! Chinatown! East River Park! I find that the places I love most are places that visitors might feel are cool, but lacking in the bustle they were in search of. I never go to Times Square and I’ve never been to the Statue of Liberty. Weird.
Favorite dive bar (or hangout) in the hood?
Last year I went to Lit Lounge every Wednesday to dance myself clean, but the one place that is still strong in my repertoire is St. Dymphna’s on St. Marks Place. They have burgers (mmmm), chicken fingers, and a delicious tap.
How has the neighborhood changed in the last few years?
Well, ever since I migrated from Avenue B to East Broadway, I’ve lost touch with the saturation of new businesses and bar life in the East Village. I’m afraid of that movement directing its energies into developing the Seward Park areas. East Broadway is like a cousin to Park Slope. There is something more down-tempo over here — I like it. It’s nice not to be stacked on top of some tiki bar that has heavy metal nights on Tuesdays. Don’t ever change!
Favorite LES memory?
My favorite LES memory isn’t one particular moment, but more of an expression of many instances. I lived a few blocks from my high school, so every summer, on Fridays, my friends and I would parade to a bodega (which has long since shuttered, maybe for obvious reasons), purchase illicit booze, and then we’d spend the rest of the afternoon on my roof, grilling burgers (origin) and singing songs. At one point the pile of empty bottles grew so massive, it was dubbed the “mecca.” The name had no religious connotation. It only described its immensity. It was tragically dismantled by the landlord — the end of an era. RIP.