LES Chats: The Lo-Down

One of our favorite local news outlets is The Lo-Down. The Lo-Down is a community web site and monthly print magazine dedicated to covering news, events and – most significantly – the people who live and work in one of the world’s greatest neighborhoods, the Lower East Side. 

How did the Lo-Down Start?  
We saw a need for local neighborhood news that wasn’t being filled in our area. Ed has a background producing television news and I have a background in film and theater production so he started posting the hard news — politics, real estate development, etc., and I started posting arts & culture info.  We quickly became a “hyper-local” online news site for the L.E.S. — this was in 2009 — and then in 2012 we launched the monthly print magazine version as a way to supplement what we were doing online.

Who contributes the Lo-Down? Do you upload new articles each day?
Ed and I work on TLD full time and we have a half dozen part-timers plus a team of freelance contributors. Yes, we average 5 – 10 new articles each weekday. 

What blogs/ news resources do you read daily?
We read every publication we can that offers relevant info about the L.E.S.  Our RSS and Google Alerts feeds are quite extensive.

How long have you been in the LES? What changes have you seen?
We’ve been here for nine years.  I lived in the E. Village a few years before that. There has been rapid development and an increase in shops, restaurants, bars and especially galleries.  Not to mention real estate prices and rents have skyrocketed in the last three or four years.

What are some of your local favorites, past and present?
We like Forgetmenot, Kiki’s, Bacaro, Russ & Daughters, Katz’s, Bar 169, Pies & Thighs, Cafe Katja, Black Tree, Schiller’s, El Castillo, Cup & Saucer, Zafi’s, Mr. Fong’s, Les Enfants, …the list could go on and on!

How do you come up with your stories? What themes are important to you?
We’ve built many strong relationships with all of the organizations and many of the business owners in the neighborhood, so we keep current on all of their activities. I focus on the local arts venues and the artists who are performing or presenting work in the area. Ed has been writing extensively about Essex Crossing since the the very beginning of serious talks with developers, legislators and community leaders. We keep our eye on crime. We watch real estate and openings and closings very closely. And we also love food — so we are always interested in new places to eat.  We also get a lot of tips from our loyal readers. Our priority has always been on community building, so it’s very important to us to connect various groups and individuals from different areas and backgrounds with each other so they can communicate, share their perspectives and perhaps work together on projects that will implement positive change within our community. 

How do you see the future of media publications changing through use of the internet and social media?
Many publications now rush to post stories without verifying the facts.  So rumors are considered to be news, which is extremely unfortunate!

Words by Helen Cretu

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