The street stretches from Essex Street to Centre Street, with a discontinuity between Chrystie Street and Forsyth Street for Sara Delano Roosevelt Park. There is also a discontinuity at Allen Street, which was created in 2009 with the rebuilding of the Allen Street Mall.  At Centre Street, Hester Street shifts about 100 feet (30 m) to the north and is called Howard Street to its far western terminus at Mercer Street.
In November 1851, the assistant board of aldermen of New York City voted in favor of removing a liberty pole at the junction of Hester Street and Division Street. The Franklin Building Association held its second regular monthly meeting at Washington Hall, on December 3, 1851. The building was located at the corner of Bowery. On April 15, 1912, an investigator reported that a parlor house on Hester Street had three inmates (prostitutes) who were waiting to entertain customers.
It has historically been a center for Ashkenazi Jewish immigrant culture. The sculptor Jacob Epstein was raised at 102 Hester Street. More recently, it has been absorbed by Chinatown, although some kosher and Jewish-owned stores can be found.
At the east end of Hester Street, an open-air market called the Hester Street Fair currently runs on weekends from April through October. The market is on a parcel of land owned by Seward Park Co-op and is run by MTV News Correspondent SuChin Pak, her brother Suhyun Pak, Adam Zeller, and Ron Castellano.
Hester Street is featured in Abraham Cahan's 1896 novel Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto.
Well you wake up in the morning on Hester Street and run to the factory, You can't afford to be late
Working every morning, every evening, every day for your money, Yet there's nothing to save
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