LOCATION: Downtown Manhattan. The Lower East Side has been redefined in recent years to include only Houston to Delancey Streets, between the Bowery and the East River. SUBWAYS: Subway stops: The F or V train to Second Avenue or Delancey Street or the J, M, or Z line to Essex Street. HISTORY: Historically, the Lower East Side was a crowded area ripe with immigrants of many backgrounds and nationalities; during the Great Depression it was one of the most densely populated areas in the United States. It was the end of the line for many immigrants from Europe -- Jews, Germans, Poles, Italians, Irish, etc. They settled here in run down tenements seeking better lives for their families. This is New York's landmark historic Jewish neighborhood, which was once the world's largest Jewish community. It was here that the New York garment industry began. CHARACTER: Despite a recent influx of trendy eateries and food shops, bars and boutiques, lounges and late-night life, the lower east side remains a diverse cultural melting pot. Designers, writers, artists, musicians, and professionals mix in with the pickle vendors and kosher wine distributors. The neighborhood's center is Orchard Street, which is a true multicultural blend, with trendy boutiques, French cafés, and velvet-roped nightspots sprinkled among dry-goods discounters, Spanish bodegas, and mom-and-pop shops. Its parks and museums include the Hamilton Fish Park on East Houston Street & Avenue C, the Seward Park on Canal & Essex Street and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum on Broome & Orchard Street. Only a few blocks away you can venture into Little Italy and Chinatown. FOOD/NIGHTLIFE: The area is not known for its upscale dining. However, in recent years quite a few restaurants, including some upscale, opened in an effort to cater to the demanding tastes of the new residents. Perhaps, the best-known restaurant on the Lower East Side is Katz's Delicatessen on East Houston. Katz’s has been famous since 1888. The neighborhood has one of the highest concentrations of bars in the city. Ludlow and Orchard streets between Houston and Delancey are especially busy. Many of the city’s music venues are located here as well.