There REALLY goes the nighborhoodIs there anyone out there who still thinks that Manhattan’s Lower East Side is cool? I mean other than Kelsey? The neighborhood has long been a haven for wannabe-hipsters, NYU students slumming it in swank, renovated Mom-and-Dad paid for apartments and neo-yuppies trying to maintain that street cred they never had while wearing $900 Manolo Blahniks to work every morning. The vast majority of the old school Jews have moved out. The squatters and punks are gone, the artists can’t afford to live there and all that remains is this vague and distant memory of a place that used to be fun, said vague memory now available for $1600 a month for a small studio. If you’re lucky.

So can it get worst? Yes indeed it most definitely can! The news is out that Madonna / Esther has plans to finance a three story Kabbalah Center at 179 Ludlow Street on the LES. The three story space she is looking at will rent for about $45,000 a month, which kind of makes me wonder… who are the idiots that are buying all that water?? Why is Yehuda Berg of the Kabbalah Center listed as one of the top 10 most influential Rabbis in America? When the hell is Madonna going to get over this Kabbalah crap already??

The Gawker post on this story, from which I lifted the beautiful graphic that I used as an illustration, takes a stoic attitude to the whole affair and quotes the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hassidic Judaism:

Everything is by Divine Providence. If a leaf is turned over by a breeze, it is only because this has been specifically ordained by G-d to serve a particular function within the purpose of creation.

That’s sweet. Yes. Gawker quoted the Baal Shem Tov and even added a dash between the letters G an D when mentioning God. I mean Gawker? Being machmir? And the notion of the degeneration, degredation and yuppification of the LES being simply God’s will? Nice. As for me, I’d like to quote internationally renowned NYC DJ, Junior Vasquez as follows:

If Madonna calls, I’m not here.

I wish more people would take that advice.

About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • I hate her. A whole fucking lot. I dont think she is cool in any way shape or form.

    And all I need to know about her voodoo is what Adin Steinsaltz has to say:

    To compare the popular Kabbalah Centre with the real thing is the relationship between pornography and love.


  • Sadly, if the LES is no longer cool, there’s nothing left. But sign me up for one of those fab NYU-student apartments!

  • Landmarking buildings and zoning laws could be employed to save the historical character and culture of this neighborhood, but that would mean standing up to real estate greed, and Bloomberg is certainly not the guy to do that.

  • Is there anyone out there who still thinks that Manhattan’s Lower East Side is cool?

    There are millions of people who don’t ever think about Manhattan, period end of story.

  • there are no “interesting” neghborhoods left in New York. Forget real estate greed, NY is about corporate financial giants and the enterntainment needed to satisfy their employees. NY is more like vegas every day. Maybe it is a good thing, maybe not.

  • Jesus has clearly never walked the four blocks between the subway and my apartment…

  • Jesus has clearly never walked the four blocks between the subway and my apartment…

    how gritty can your walk be, really? Isn’t Manhattan kinda over as a cultural icon? It seems to be to just be a playground for the well off. Don’t get me wrong that does make it fun sometimes, but I’m not sure anyone really says wow anymore if you tell them you live in Manhattan and Madonna, although I like her music, is just another loser who thinks they are cool for being there.