1. Eat your way through the tenement trail
Once upon a time, the Lower East Side was a veritable Jewish Plymouth Rock: During the turn of the 20th century, hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe flooded the area. And though the neighborhood’s Yiddish accent has softened in more recent decades, you can still have a taste of the area’s history at three longtime Houston Street staples. First, grab a fluffy, golden potato knish at 127-year-old Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery, then head down the street to Russ & Daughters for some old-world pickled herring (the appetizing store has been doling out the stuff since its pushcart beginnings in 1914). Cap off the tour with a sandwich stop at the iconic Katz’s Delicatessen, where smoky pastrami has been hand-sliced since 1888. So, you know, old school.