“Everybody ought to have a lower East Side in their life.” – Irving Berlin
Manhattan’s lower East Side is one of its most rugged and most appropriately-named neighborhoods. Its history is richer than the all the foods its early-immigrant markets sold. It’s home to more songwriters than anywhere in the world – writers like George Gershwin, Lou Reed, and Lady Gaga.
And Delancey street is right at the heart of it. It’s seen it all: immigrant families packed into tenements, mafia hits, and nowadays, drunk 20-somethings vomiting on the sidewalks. Plus, it connects Manhattan to the outside world once it turns into the Williamsburg bridge. I mean, there’s never a reason to go to Williamsburg, but it’s nice to know we have the option.
Really, it’s spelled “Delancey St,” but we’re calling it “De Lancey” after the street’s namesake: James De Lancey, a colonial governor of early New York. Why him? Because he played a crucial role in the Revolutionary War. During the Battle of Loisaida, the American armies ran out of gunpowder. So he selflessly gave up his powdered wig and donated all the powder in it – which was enough to power the whole army for months. What a hero.
Be a war hero. Get a De Lancey.