|The Manny Cantor Center (Manny Cantor Center website)|
The center, which recently underwent a $55 million renovation, has a large and impressive gym to which fees are paid on a sliding scale. Families living in one of the area’s many public housing projects pay $10 a month; those living in one of the neighborhood’s many middle-class co-op developments, built by labor unions in the middle of the last century, might pay more; and those living in $2 million lofts in the building that used to house The Jewish Daily Forward pay the top rate of $87 a month. The gym opened a few weeks ago, and so far the project’s intent would seem to have been realized, with approximately a third of members coming from public housing, a third coming from the co-ops and a third from luxury properties on the Lower East Side. Art classes at the center will have a similar fee scale.
What is inspiring about the center is how little it seems motivated by noblesse oblige. As part of its commitment to communitarianism, the center houses both a Head Start preschool program and a private preschool for those in the area who can afford it. The classrooms are side by side. . . .Click here for the rest of this article.