On Sunday night, CNN aired the long-awaited final episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, the last episode he filmed before he took his own life in June. And it was a fitting tribute to his culinary spirit and cultural influences, as the episode turned out to be a love letter to the Lower East Side, with Bourdain talking to many of his artistic friends, peers and heroes from the late '70s/early '80s, while taking stock of how the neighborhood has changed. "This is a show about a very special place," he said at the start of the episode. "A very special time. And some very special people. So much happened—so much began—on New York’s Lower East Side."

"The Lower East Side was in many ways the cradle of New York: where new arrivals first settled, built communities, and later moved on to be replaced by others," Bourdain said in the episode. "In the New York City of the ’70s, nearly bankrupt and riddled with corruption, the Lower East Side—particularly Alphabet City—was left to fend for itself. Huge swaths of it were abandoned, ruined, or simply empty. Much of it became an open-air supermarket for drugs. Whole blocks were taken over by organized drug gangs. Rents were cheap, and the neighborhood started to attract a newer, highly energized and creative group of people who wanted to make things: music, poetry, movies, and art. It seemed, at the time, everybody was a star. And for a while at least it was a golden time. But it was dangerous. If you lived down here, you had to be tough and talented—and often very quick."

As Esquire put it, "it's only fitting—even depressingly poetic—that Bourdain's final show, his unfinished travel story, is about the man himself. It looks unflinchingly at his days as a drug addict chef in New York and juxtaposes it beautifully with the Lower East Side of today—and Bourdain's celebrity life as a successful TV host living dozens of streets uptown. It's a true American story, it's Bourdain's story—not beautiful, not perfect, but unforgettable."

Despite stops at Jean-Georges’ Public Kitchen, Ray's Candy Store, Emilio’s Ballato, John’s of 12th Street, Veselka and more, the food really came secondary to the interviews. Bourdain opened up his rolodex and met up with many key LES figures, including Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, Richard Hell, Lydia Lunch, Fab 5 Freddy, Cro-Mags' Harley Flanagan, publicist Danny Fields, filmmakers Amos Poe and Jim Jarmusch, The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black’s Kembra Pfahler, and Fishing with John star/painter John Lurie.

Below, you can watch him talk to LES photographer Clayton Patterson, who once vowed to move to the Alps to escape gentrification destroying his neighborhood, about rising costs in the city: "You have to now make a huge amount of money to be here. They have huge skyscrapers in midtown that are sold as million dollar apartments and nobody lives in them."

You can watch more clips from the episode here. Uproxx has compiled a list of all the restaurants he stopped at in the episode (including his final dish of hard-boiled eggs at Lurie's apartment). Grub Street has a list of the best moments from the show's entire run. And Eater has an interview with producer Sandra Zweig on Bourdain's legacy:

I hope that they will remember that Tony’s goal was really to open up the world to people and to lessen people’s fear of the other or the unknown. I think that’s the legacy. I think he did that, and I think he allowed people to see and go to places that they may never go to, and at least that gives them a little bit more insight into another culture or something outside of their own world, maybe to walk in somebody else’s shoes for just a few minutes and see what that is like.

And here's an interview we did with Bourdain in 2013. Earlier this summer, a mural honoring the man appeared on Delancey Street, between Essex and Ludlow.