Secrets of the Lower East Side Tour and Tasting

Tour Highlights

  • Explore synagogues of the Lower East Side that have been repurposed into art galleries, churches, and event spaces as well as bathhouses, restaurants, movie theaters, and more
  • Sample traditional Jewish Food from three places
  • Learn about the history of the Lower East Side, once the most densely populated district in the world
  • Uncover the history of Jewish Immigration in the area and hear what tenement life was like, find out where immigrants shopped, banked, and how they obtained news of the times
  • Stop by significant Lower East Side landmarks including the Eldridge Street Synagogue, the Jarmulowsky Bank, Forwards Building, and old Old Loew’s movie theaters

Guests Love This Tour!

  • 5 star ratingNative New Yorker wowed by this excursion Richard, our guide, was articulate, enthusiastic and professional. Despite wiltingly hot temperatures, he kept things moving along in a timely way. He held our attention as he recounted interesting facts and anecdotes about the glorious "gilded mansions of Fifth Ave". I might even do this same tour again as there was so much to learn and appreciate.

    Stefanie S
    8/07/2022

    5 star ratingTerrific Richard, our guide to the Secrets of the Lower East Side, was a fount of knowledge! An incredibly enjoyable tour, and I left with lots of notes to follow up on. Anyone who’s interested in NYC history should take this.

    AlexisinNYC Avatar
    AlexisinNYC
    6/26/2022
  • 5 star ratingLoved Secrets of the Lower East Side Tour I did the Secrets of the Lower East Side Tour & Tasting in June 2022 and it was great. The tour guide, Richard Sodden, knew a lot and I learned interesting history about the places that we went. For example, he took us to a building that used to be a grand movie theater in the 1920s. Not much today at first glance, but look closer. You can see hints of its past glory. He had an ipad with him and he showed us what it looked liked inside — and might still today! — unbeliveably beautiful! Without a guided tour, I would have walked past this spot without a thought. The tour guide grew up in the Lower East Side and he was very knowledgable; could answer all of our questions and tell us interesting things. Really good tour. Learned a lot. I will do others.

    scout5 Avatar
    scout5
    6/18/2022

    5 star ratingLower east side My wife I just completed the Lower East Side tour. It was fascinating and enjoyable. Richard was a wonderful guide.
    Thank you
    Tony

    anthonydJ886YJ
    6/13/2022

About This Tour:

Once the most densely populated districts in the world, the lower east side of Manhattan has witnessed numerous changes during the past hundred years. This walking tour is a resourceful glimpse of the past. The tour will focus on a few of the remaining vestiges and surviving buildings and structures of an era of Jewish immigration.The streets were lined with numerous stores and pushcarts including Jewish delicatessens, bakeries, pickle stands, cafeterias to name a few.

Join long-time Lower East Side resident Richard Soden as he highlights buildings and structures that still exist today as well as those that have been restored, re-purposed, demolished, and abandoned. He will speak about what transformed the neighborhood. The tour will conclude with a discussion of several food establishments that still exist today, some of Richard’s fond childhood memories, and a brief look at the Lower East Side today. Along the way, we’ll stop at a couple of these to nibble on traditional Jewish food. 

About Your Guide

Richard M. Soden, O.D., F.A.A.O. is a Clinical Professor and currently the Director of Health Care Development At SUNY College of Optometry. Previously, he served as Vice President for Clinical Affairs at SUNY Optometry for 10 years. Dr. Soden graduated from SUNY College of Optometry in 1979. After graduation, he completed a residency program at the Northport VA Medical Center on Long Island. In addition to primary care optometry, his special interests are in pediatrics, children with special needs and low vision rehabilitation for children and adults. He is recognized as a low vision specialist and has worked with the Commission for the Blind for his entire optometric career. After leaving the VA and private practice, Dr. Soden returned to SUNY College of Optometry as Vice President for Clinical Affairs.

In addition to the above, Richard is also a licensed New York City Tour Guide and a Docent at the Museum at Eldridge Street.

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