Building Healthy Communities | Lower East Side
Manhattan’s Lower East Side comprises a range of economically, culturally, and ethnically diverse neighborhoods. In spite of a recent wave of gentrification, tens of thousands of working-class and low- to moderate-income individuals and families—many with deep roots going back generations, and others just arriving—still call these neighborhoods home.
Lower East Side
Grantee Name: Two Bridges Neighborhood Council
Project Title: Lower Eastside Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative
Grant Amount: $300,000
Grantee Name: University Settlement Society of New York
Project Title: Healthy Neighborhoods Fund Phase 2
Grant Amount: $300,000
Community Fast Facts
- The Two Bridges neighborhood is among the lowest-income neighborhoods in Manhattan, with a 27% poverty rate;
- More than 85% of residents depend on rent-stabilized or subsidized housing;
- Residents face environmental hazards posed by the neighborhood’s proximity to New York City’s East River and FDR Drive, resulting in one of the highest asthma rates in the City;
- The Two Bridges Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; and
- The HBO series Flight of the Conchords was based in the Two Bridges neighborhood
- Increase access to healthy and affordable foods through the establishment of a Youthmarket farm stand, in partnership with GrowNYC and Gouverneur Health, and the re-launch of the Fresh Food Box program;
- Influence local bodegas to increase availability of fresh, affordable food;
- Work with City agencies, such as the Department of Transportation, to implement traffic-calming measures; and
- Expand advocacy efforts for East River waterfront parks to maximize open space and increase opportunities for physical activity and other resident-driven uses of space.
What We’ve Achieved To Date
- Relocated its summer Fresh Food Box program (in partnership with GrowNYC) to a new site with Gouverneur Health, which doubled participation in the first year to 122 families, and expanded the program to include a winter season; and
- Increased the distribution of incentives for a senior farmers market and Health Bucks coupons, which can be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.
Built Environment & Physical Activity
- Installed concrete barriers to establish a pedestrian/bike path on heavily trafficked South Street in the neighborhood, which included community-designed murals on the barriers to make them visually appealing; and
- Worked with the New York City Department of Transportation on reaching the milestone of 1,000 miles in the City’s network of bicycle lanes, with that mile running through the Two Bridges neighborhood (East Broadway and Grand Street). This stretch of bike lane includes improved signage and protected lanes and paths exclusively for biking.
- Implemented the first phase of #2BHealthy, a culturally responsive, 18-month, healthy neighborhood campaign. The goal of the campaign is to foster awareness, mobilize involvement, and connect residents to programs that promote healthy eating, physical activity, and other healthy lifestyle