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My LES: Vanessa L. Bolger

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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 am a special education teacher & educational consultant.

How long have you lived on the LES?

I just had my 6 year anniversary of living on Grand Street.

Favorite block in the hood?

Ludlow between Houston and Stanton. My first boyfriend lived there, and I’d make the trip over from the west village (where I grew up) and relish in the scene. I remember going to Max Fish to see an art show of fax transmissions, and thinking, this place is amazing.

Favorite date spot in the hood?

Baccaro in the winter, Les Enfants in the summer, Fat Radish in the fall and spring.

Favorite coffee in the hood?

I make coffee at home most of the time, but if I’m out, I go to Sugar Sweet Sunshine. I use the coffee as an excuse to pick up a (appropriately named) Yum Yum bar…layers upon layers of deliciousness.

Favorite cheap eats in the hood?

Cheeky Sandwiches. New Orleans inspired sandwiches most of which are served on biscuits that are out of this world. My favorite is the egg, muenster and smoked salmon breakfast sammy. The shop is tiny but somehow pulls off feeling comfortable and the folks that work there are delightful.

Where do you take your visitors when they’re here?

The Hester Street fair is a great place to bring visitors. Interesting local retailers and a wide variety of excellent food vendors eliminates the chore of coming to a dining consensus. I often swing by to check out what’s new and grab a pork belly taco from Son’s of Essex. Walking down Orchard to check out the galleries and ending up at The Tenement Museum is another option when I have guests in tow.

Favorite dive/locals bar in the hood?

169 is great, but I’d like to see more options further east.

How has the neighborhood changed in the last few years?

It’s changed in a lot. There are obvious improvements and additions that make living here more desirable than it was 15 years ago (although there are times when nostalgia prevails). It’s challenging to find that balance of progress and development while maintaining the integrity of the neighborhood. New small businesses and appropriate chains, great. 7-11, no thank you.

Favorite LES memory?

Summer of 1995, sitting on the stoop of 173 Ludlow, drinking a to-go margarita from The Hat, listening to Dinah Washington sing “This Can’t be Love” out of the FM radio held by a man asleep in a lawn chair on the sidewalk in front of Pink Pony.

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