Parallel Lives

The Newcomer: Heather Ditmars
Age: 26
Profession: Interior designer
Resides: Three-bedroom apartment on Rutgers Street, near Madison Street. Lives with two roommates—a graphic designer and a video-game designer.
Years in the neighborhood: One.
“I moved here last July from Columbus, Ohio. I came on a whim, interviewed for five jobs, got five offers, and moved out the following week. I found a sublet on Craigslist, on Cherry Street, one block away from my current apartment. No moving truck required, just a caravan on foot carrying mostly shoes.”

1. Pathmark
(227 Cherry St., nr. Pike St.; 212-227-8988)
“Is it dirty? Kinda. Is it crowded? For sure. But it’s better than the temptress Whole Foods. Or, as I refer to it, Whole Paycheck. ”

2. Emily’s Laundromat
(32 Rutgers St., nr. Henry St.; 212-732-2525)
“Downstairs, convenient. They have a turtle in a fish tank. One time I saw a cute guy here.”

3. Stop 1 Deli
(201 Madison St., at Rutgers St.; 212-349-3945)
“The go-to when I need a six-pack. One day after taking a swan dive off a curb, I limped in with $3, enough for one double deuce of Heineken. The guy insisted that I take two more on him.”

4. Sweet Paradise
(14B Orchard St., nr. Canal St.; 212-226-3612)
“It’s a cash-only bar, which drives me a little crazy, but the bartenders have proven themselves worthy.”

5. Bacaro
(136 Division St., nr. Ludlow St.; 212-941-5060)
“I’m a vegan, but my meat-eating roommates tell me the food is amazing. I’ll never know, but the drinks are tasty.”

6. Babycakes
(248 Broome St., nr. Orchard St.; 212-677-5047)
“I’m a big fan of vegan cake, and it’s only blocks away!”

7. Broadway East
(171 E. Broadway, nr. Rutgers St.; 212-228-3100)
“I just discovered this place—haven’t ventured there yet, but I stop by and gaze at the menu in self-pity because I can’t find a guy to take me there. It may have to be a girl date.”

8. Jin
(252 Broome St., nr. Orchard St.; 212-979-0989)
“Since I only eat veggie sushi, prices are usually really cheap. Which means I can order, like, four rolls.”

9. East Side Company Bar
(49 Essex St., nr. Grand St.; 212-614-7408)
“It’s dark in there—dark enough to hide your shame the next morning.”

10. 169 Bar
(169 E. Broadway, nr. Rutgers St.; 212-473-8866)
“Oddly tropical, but a good place to see bands.”

11. Flowers Café
(355 Grand St., at Essex St.; 212-777-8785)
“The guy who owns this place is super-nice. I used to just refer to him as Flowers, but my roommate told me his name is Frank. Whether it’s Frank or Flowers [Ed.: Actually, it’s Bill], he feeds my coffee fix for cheap.”

12. Valley
(48 Orchard St., nr. Hester St.; 212-274-8985)
“A recent discovery: waxing, manicures, and vintage clothes all in one spot. Generally decent prices on the vintage stuff.”

13. Seward Park
(Canal St. at Essex St.)
“Rats. Bushels of rats. Keep your babies out of the grass.”

14. Modern Living Supplies
(20 Rutgers St., at Henry St.; 646-373-1579)
“They have cool stuff, but I can only afford items on permanent ‘designer discount.’ Classy.”

15. Heist Gallery
(27 Essex St., nr. Hester St.; 212-253-0451)
“One of the many galleries that opened up down here in the past year or so, though this one happened to replace Flicker’s, my favorite coffee shop.”

The Old-timer: Paul Weissman
Age: 60
Profession: Semi-retired junior-high-school teacher
Resides: Two-bedroom apartment in the Seward Park Co-op on Grand and Essex Streets. Lives with wife Lori and 15-year-old daughter Alanna.
Years in the neighborhood: 58 (“Except for two years in Queens, it’s always been home”).
“I grew up eight blocks away in the Vladeck Houses—lots of urine in the elevators and spit on the buttons. We moved into the co-op in 1960. Back then, Chinatown only extended as far as the Bowery. Right before Alanna was born, I swapped my one-bedroom for this apartment. We’re tremendously grateful to the buildings—you can’t otherwise live in the city on a teacher’s salary.”

16. Fine Fare Supermarket
(175 Clinton St., at Grand St.; 212-477-5121)
“They’ve started carrying more upscale stuff lately, but I’m not really an upscale kind of guy. Sometimes we go to Pathmark, but the lines there just make me itch.”

17. 48 Laundromat
(48 Hester St., at Ludlow St.; 212-228-6111)
“There is a laundry room in our building, but for dry cleaning, we use a Chinese laundry.”

18. Rite-Aid
(408 Grand St., at Clinton St.; 212-529-7115)
“It opened when Alanna was little with a 24-hour pharmacy, and when you have a kid, that’s a big deal. When I was in college, my dad had the flu and I had to go up to the Forties because it was the only 24-hour pharmacy.”

19. American Choice Deli
(111 Delancey St., at Essex St.; 212-475-5222)
“Great for when I want to get something to feed the beast [Pats belly].”

20. Casanis
(81 Ludlow St., at Broome St.; 212-677-9383)
“When Lori first moved down here with me, there was nowhere to eat! Now we take advantage of all the new restaurants. We’re old farts, so we go in at 7 p.m., and we leave just as all the young, attractive people start coming in.”

21. Kossar’s Bialys
(367 Grand St., nr. Essex St.; 212-473-4810)
“I go here every day for a bagel or an onion roll—best onion roll in the city. ”

22. Jin
“Their stuff is really good, and in terms of delivery … I don’t even know how they cut it up and slice it so quickly.”

23. Wing Shoon
Formerly Garden Cafeteria (165 E. Broadway, at Rutgers St.; 212-780-0238)
“In the sixties Isaac Bashevis Singer used to hang out there. Now we go for takeout.”

24. Seward Park Co-op Playground
“As kids we spent most of our time in the parks in the backs of our buildings. Your girl would sit on your lap, and when a good song came on, we’d all tune our transistor radios to the same station. Most of Alanna’s park time was in the same place I hung out as a kid. ”

25. Main Squeeze
(19 Essex St., nr. Hester St.; 212-614-3109)
“Accordions! That’s all they sell! Only a city this size can support a shop like that.”

26. The Educational Alliance
(197 E. Broadway, nr. Jefferson St.; 212-780-5467)
“Later this year, when I’m retired, I want to go back to darkroom photography here.”

27. Henry Street Settlement: Abrons Arts Center
(466 Grand St., at Pitt St.; 212-766-9200)
“My daughter used to come here for violin lessons, but we stopped because Alanna’s truly horrific at playing the violin.”

28. Lower East Side Conservancy
(235 E. Broadway, nr. Clinton St.; 212-374-4100)
“I give six or so tours a year. Lori gives many more than that. A major stop on the tour is the Bialystoker Synagogue on Willett Street. You have to go there and see it, that’s all I can tell you.”

Parallel Lives