My LES: Jessica Perez
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’m a flight attendant with a regional airline based out of Laguardia Airport. I get to fly to a bunch of places that no one cares about ( j/k). I’m also a day time dreamer and a music listener.
How long have you lived on the LES?
Six years. I moved to the big city almost eight years ago. Started in Harlem, then Bushwick, a.k.a. “East Williamsburg,” and then the LES. It’s my favorite area. Everything I want is right here. Anything else is not too far away.
Favorite block in the hood?
Doyers Street. It’s a cool little block. You take a short walk through it and think, “Where am I?” Then you make a left on Pell Street, then a right and left on Bayard Street and you run into this park where there’s a flood of Asian elders playing dominos and exercising. And you think again, “Where am I?” I enjoy getting lost so it’s a good feeling. And (I like) Orchard Street below Delancy. The Tenement Museum is there and it’s got an old time vibe. That’s where my first LES apartment was. They’d have farmers’ markets outside my apartment during the summer. I loved it.
Favorite date spot in the hood?
Because I’m always out, my favorite date spot is at home with my man, eating some take-out. But if I go out for “date night,” and I’ve been to these places before, I go to Congee Village on Allen Street because it’s fun and festive, and Tiki Bar on Essex, because it’s dark and cozy and the drinks are delicious. Tiki bar is pretty pricey but super tasty. I don’t remember the name of the drink I had but I can never forget it.
Favorite coffee in the hood?
Any place that serves an Irish Coffee is good in my book.
Favorite cheap eats in the hood?
Vanessa’s Dumplings on Eldridge. I don’t think you can can get a better deal. And they’re tasty. Also, Nice Green Bo on Bayard Street. I like to go there on Chinese New Year. It’s so much fun and everyone’s so happy. And — it’s not as cheap, but I like Tiny’s Giant Sandwich shop. I can’t remember eating a tastier, juicier, fresher chicken sandwich, or any other sandwich, than theirs. Mmmmm! I think I want one now.
Where do you take your visitors when they’re here?
Bars, bars, and more bars. And if I know of a good band playing I take them to that. If they’re into tourist stuff, I know it all. I’m into nerdy tourist stuff. Right now I have a yearly Tenement Museum Pass, plus one visitor for a year. I’m excited to take anyone there!
Favorite dive/locals bar in the hood?
It’s just above Houston but I love the Double Down Saloon. Great punk music, cheap drinks, awesome happy hour, and a cool patio. Always a good time, even if you have one drink and go.
How has the neighborhood changed in the last few years?
Everyone’s getting older, the rats are getting bigger, and the streets are getting smellier.
Favorite LES memory?
Walking around during the Chinese New Year. The streets were filled with people, confetti, dragons, drummers. It was fun. Everyone was chasing after parachutes that are shot out into the air with confetti. Everyone’s really happy and it was just good energy and I felt like I was taking part in the Chinese culture. I thought, “This is my neighborhood!”