Howard Halle, Art editor:
"No matter how many condos, cool hotels or hipsters with trust funds move into the Lower East Side, it still has that patina of hardscrabble striving. It's all about focusing on artists and their work. Instead of Chelsea's chilly showrooms, crammed with big-ticket pieces ready for market, the vibe at LES galleries is low-key, intimate and warm."
Marilyn Minter, artist:
"The Lower East Side is an essential art neighborhood in NYC these days. The New Museum has some excellent programming that has attracted foot traffic and enticed some young galleries, including but definitely not limited to Lisa Cooley, Sue Scott and Salon 94, which have brought more crowds to the more veteran ones, like Canada."
Robert Longo, artist:
"This young group of artists put up a show in Greenpoint's St. Cecilia Convent that I think is just fantastic. Issue Project Room [in Gowanus] also does fantastic programming. In terms of artists taking control of their destiny, I would have to say Brooklyn. Chelsea is amazing, but it's like Athena, who emerged fully formed from Zeus' head—it just sprang up pretty quickly. Brooklyn is like an incubator, and has lots of great music and experimentation between the artists who live there."
Richard Phillips, artist:
"There are great things happening in places like Bushwick, but what's special about the Lower East Side is that the art is close to capital. The art economy always follows after the regular economy, and since a lot of little boutique stores can no longer afford to be there, they've moved out and galleries have moved back in. Great galleries like Orchard 47 have come and gone, and so now not only is there an economic and cultural history there that's fascinating, but also an art history."
Jeffrey Deitch, gallerist:
"Coney Island is absolutely essential. It's a neighborhood where artists have always gone for inspiration. It's been this generator of a wonderful artistic energy, in a kind of transgressive way."