Check out our NYC community center on the Lower East Side!
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 of any age, the Manny Cantor Center is a hub of education, health and fitness, diversity and inclusivity, and excellence.
We exist to provide a space for growth, achievement, enjoyment, and connection for all Lower East Siders! Learn more about how Manny Cantor Center came to be and what you can achieve here.
A Diverse & Inclusive Community
The Manny Cantor Center is part of Educational Alliance (EA), a non-profit that brings together and partners with diverse communities in Lower Manhattan. As a trusted family resource center, it offers individuals and families thoughtful, multi-generational programs and services that enhance their well-being and socioeconomic opportunities. Here, everyone is welcome, and progress is powered one relationship at a time.
EA has a proud legacy as a Jewish organization. It provides transformational services and programs to all New Yorkers through a network of community centers on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and East Village. For 130 years, EA has offered best-in-class programming — now across 15 sites — focusing on a mix of education, health and wellness, arts and culture, and civic engagement. The Manny Cantor Center is the original site of the EA, and the administrative headquarters remain in the flagship building at 197 East Broadway.
Who Was Manny Cantor?
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, laugh, and connect.
Manny Cantor immigrated to the United States from Poland in 1921, at 16 years old. 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 and his extended family when they needed his help. His passion for caring for family extended beyond his own and into his newfound community here in NYC.
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 who shared our universal values of community and giving back.
Manny Cantor Center’s Mission & Vision
As the flagship community center of the historic Educational Alliance, our mission and vision are to continue to be a living laboratory for the values of inclusion, diversity, and community. Our purpose is to be not only an NYC family resource center, but a hub of education, growth, uplift, and community.
Manny Cantor Center offers award-winning programs, critical services, and exciting events for people of all ages and backgrounds. We work for and with our vibrant and diverse neighborhood to create experiences that make a difference in our lives and in our world.
Thoughtful, Quality Programs for Everyone
Our commitment to the diversity of the Lower East Side is reflected in our programming:
- Our Early Childhood Program reflects the cultural, religious, and socio-economic diversity of our city.
- The Weinberg Center for Balanced Living and our Coop Village NORC create a community for older adults of all backgrounds and abilities.
- Our fitness center is utilized by neighborhood residents of all ethnicities, income levels, and ages through an innovative tiered membership model.
- Our Edgies Teen Center and College Prep Program serves young people in our community with after-school recreation, fitness, SAT prep, and tools for college success.
- Our Family Resource Center welcomes all individuals and families with holistic support, including mental health, access to benefits, parenting classes, opportunities for continuing education, and job readiness.
Whatever type of program you’re looking for — regardless of age, background, or abilities — Manny Cantor Center has something to enrich your life.
Don’t be shy! Check out our website for more information on our programs, scheduling, and events, or come down to visit us in person. We look forward to meeting you!