Eric Ferrara, a fourth-generation Lower East Side resident and native New Yorker, has a passion for preserving as much of the Lower East Side as possible before it is all gone. "My great-grandmother on my mother's side arrived on the Lower East Side from the Ukraine in 1870. My great-grandmother on my father's side arrived in Little Italy from Italy soon after in the 1880's. I am a New York landmark myself, some would say; four generations on both sides."

"People these days only know this area as a nightlife district, or a place where someone's grandmother used to buy bagels and pickles," Eric continues. "Many do not realize the great history this area has, and how it touched people around the world, whether they had a relative processed through Ellis Island or not."

Eric set up an organization called East Village Community Media six years ago which has become a pillar of Lower East Side historic preservation and public education. EVCM's main website,, provides extensive history, local features, and one of the most diverse calendars in NYC. EVCM also provides inexpensive and free historic walking tours of the East Village neighborhood of the Lower East Side.

"Embarrassingly, most people living here now do not even realize that the East Village is a neighborhood within the Lower East Side," Eric says. "The Lower East Side is everything on the east side below 14th Street, all the way down to the Two Bridges neighborhood below Chinatown."

Eric's tours are a crunch course in Lower East Side history, with a concentration on St. Marks Place, which has been known as the counter culture capital of the world since the early beat writers and abstract expressionists arrived in the 1940's looking for cheap rent and freedom to experiment with their craft.

"We disguise the tour as a general history tour, but in reality it is the gentrification tour," Eric explains. "We walk down St. Marks Place and through Tompkins Square Park because there is a lot of exciting history in that area, but we really talk about how the entire Lower East Side has changed and what it is to become. The beat generation, the gangsters and the weirdos and all that just make it exciting."

Eric has since become somewhat of a spokesperson for the East Village, many have even described him as an unofficial "Ambassador."

"I don't really take it (that title) too seriously," Eric explains. "I'm just one of many people and organizations fighting for the same cause. I just happen to be out there everyday and very accessible. This is my small contribution. I feel a sense of duty to pay respect to those pioneering residents who lived through the last 200 years here in poverty, which include members of my own family. I want to do my part before it is all gone."

Eric has done numerous interviews for documentaries and articles around the world, and is always available to answer questions. "If I don't know, I can probably point you in the right direction," he says.

If you would like more information, or to request an interview with Eric Ferrara, please contact Lea Rappaport at 646-810-2576 or email