About Manny Cantor Center

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Chloe Apple Seldman/Michael Priest Photography


Educational Alliance’s Manny Cantor Center, is a community center for all in the Lower East Side. Offering exciting events, award-winning programs, and critical services for people ages 0 to 100+, the Manny Cantor Center is a hub of diversity and inclusivity, of health and fitness, of education and of excellence. We hope the Manny Cantor Center will provide a space for growth, achievement, enjoyment and connection for all Lower East Siders today.


Inspired by the life of our namesake, an industrious Polish immigrant who came to the U.S. to make a better life for himself and his family, the Manny Cantor Center is a gathering place and an inspired space for the entire community to learn, to laugh and to connect. Manny Cantor immigrated to the United States from Poland in 1921, at the age of 16. When his father passed away, Manny began to work as a stock boy in a small retail store, while also studying English and completing his education. Eventually, he started a wholesale dry-goods business which grew successful enough to support his wife and their two children, as well as his extended family when they needed his help.

Manny Cantor was of the generation of immigrants who regarded this country as the land of opportunity.

After establishing his own success, he dedicated himself to giving back to his community. Manny Cantor passed away in 1952 at the age of 47, but his legacy and values lived on in his two sons – both of whom achieved graduate-level education and had successful professional careers – as well as seven grandchildren, and seventeen great-grandchildren. We are proud to name the Lower East Side’s new hub after a man of such tenacity and whose shared our universal values of community and giving back.