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LES Walking Tours

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Since the holiday weekend is nearly upon us and we’re expecting beautiful weather, we thought it would be a good time to review some of the neighborhood’s best walking tours…

Eldridge Street Synagogue

Let’s start with the Museum at Eldridge Street, which is offering a “Five Points” tour on Sunday, 2pm. The roots of the grand Eldridge Street Synagogue can be found in Five Points and Chinatown.  You’ll be guided through the streets of these communities, tracing the “Jewish immigrant experience,” visiting synagogues, as well as the historic cemetery alongside Chatham Square. $15. More info.

This Sunday (and every Sunday through the fall) the Lower East Side Business Improvement District offers a tour of the historic “bargain district.” The two-hour trip down Orchard Street recounts the major role retail played in the development of the neighborhood. 11am, free. No reservations required. More info.

The Tenement Museum currently offers two walking tours: Immigrant Soles, which explores life on the LES 100 years ago, and Next Steps, which looks at the evolving community post 1935. Tours offered at various times; Next Steps on weekends only until late June. $20. More info.

The Lower East Side History Project runs a variety of tours, including: Gangsters (Saturdays 2pm), Five Points (Sundays at 2pm), the Bowery (Mondays at noon). Most tours cost $15 ($20 starting June 1). More info.

Bialystoker Synagogue

The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy is not offering tours over the holiday weekend. but Sunday, June 6, they’ll be running “The LES Then & Now.” You’ll see key places of worship, such as the Balystoker Synagogue, the neighborhood’s largest active orthodox congregation. Also part of the tour: the exterior of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, once the largest Russian-Jewish orthodox congregation in the country; and Kehila Kedosha Janina, the only Romaniote (Greek) synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. 10:45am – 3 hours long. $18. Hint: “Like” the Conservancy on Facebook for a better dealMore info.

There are, of course, many other tours. In this post we’ve focused on the ones conducted by neighborhood-centric organizations, rather than citywide tour companies.

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