Two Weeks In: Manny Cantor Center at the Educational Alliance

Happening Now: Educational Alliance Scaffolding Coming Down

Educational Alliance, 197 East Broadway.

Educational Alliance, 197 East Broadway.

After two years of construction, the scaffolding is coming down this afternoon on the Educational Alliance’s flagship building t 197 East Broadway.  At the end of 2011, the large Lower East Side non-profit embarked on a $55 million gut renovation of the facility.  A grand opening is scheduled next month.

Manny Cantor Center to Open February 3

The Educational Alliance has set an opening date for its refurbished and expanded headquarters.

Michelle Sarna Named Director of Educational Alliance Preschool

Michelle Sarna

The Educational Alliance has announced the appointment of Dr. Michelle Sarna as director of its preschool.   In a press release distributed yesterday, President & CEO Robin Bernstein said, “We are thrilled to have Michelle join our team at a pivotal time in our history.”  The Educational Alliance’s flagship building at 197 East Broadway is undergoing a $45 million “gut renovation.”  Bernstein added, “her experience, background and enthusiasm are a great fit for the Alliance now and in the not-too-distant future when we open our brand new Lower East Side community center (in the fall of 2013).”

Sarna has a background in early childhood education and child psychology. She holds an M.A. in Education and a Ph.D. in School Psychology from Fordham University; she recently completed a fellowship at the Tikvah Center for Law & Jewish Civilization at New York University School of Law. Sarna has worked in both public and private schools, in mental health clinics, on college campuses, and in synagogues. She has five young children of her own.  “I am excited to join the Educational Alliance and help expand on the agency’s work to engage families from diverse backgrounds in our community,” Sarna said.

Click here for more information about the Educational Alliance’s preschool.

Educational Alliance Moving Forward on Major Upfit

Sidewalk repairs preceded the renovations at 197 E. Broadway; the real work starts next month.

Leaders at the Educational Alliance have sent us an update to last month’s big news about their major capital project. In an email to supporters, administrators at the 122-year-old institution unveiled a new website and an update on the planning process for the overhaul and modernization of their flagship building at 197 E. Broadway, which is scheduled to start in November:

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that the renovation has been officially approved by the Board of Trustees and we’re moving forward with our plans to create the quintessential urban community center.

Construction Zone: Educational Alliance

It looks like the Educational Alliance isn’t wasting any time getting started with the sweeping renovation project we reported about last week. Today a construction fence has gone up in front of the organization’s headquarters at 197 East Broadway.


Ed. Alliance Announces Renovation of Main Building

Educational Alliance, 197 East Broadway.

A big announcement from the Educational Alliance last night: the long awaited renovation of their historic building at 197 East Broadway is about to begin. The “gut renovation” is a 22-month project and will include “revitalized classrooms and new art studios, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and modern multi-purpose space” and will allow the institution to expand programming for all ages.

In a statement, Robin Bernstein, president and CEO, said:

“This is truly an exciting moment in the history of the Educational Alliance… We are thrilled about the potential of this renovation to create a reinvigorated space to better serve our diverse community. The renovated building will offer brand new facilities that match the high quality of our programming, and will help create a true sense of community among all of our neighbors.”

According to the statement, the renovation and details about temporary program locations will be confirmed in early October. The Fall semesters of the Art School, the Parenting Center and our Early Childhood education programs (Early Head Start, Head Start, the Preschool and Child Care) will not be affected by the renovation.

197 East Broadway has been the Educational Alliance’s home on the Lower East Side for 122 years. Never before has the organization embarked on a large scale building renovation of this magnitude.

More to come…


Hidden Identities – A Panel at the Educational Alliance

Valerie Frankel and Laurie Gwen Shapiro will participate in a "Hidden Identities" Panel at the Educational Alliance.

The Educational Alliance will host what looks to be quite an entertaining panel, “Hidden Identities: Tales From Under the Hood,” next Monday evening at 7:00pm.  The event is inspired by the idea of hidden and unmasked identities, and will feature a diverse group of writers, editors and performers from various creative backgrounds.  Local writer and filmmaker, Laurie Gwen Shapiro curated the panel and will moderate the evening.  I asked her how she decided who to include on the panel. Here’s what she had to say:

I was approached by Dana Weissman, who used to run spectacular events for 92nd Street Y, to do something, “Out of the Box,” as she put it, for our community, and given that it was the Educational Alliance she gingerly wondered if we could make it tie into Purim. I thought well, Purim has a wild backstory – a sexy Jewess hiding out undercover…Voila, a theme, “Hidden Identity” or to broaden it, “Unmasked Identity.”

Educational Alliance to Host Community Hanukkah Party

The Educational Alliance will be hosting a free community celebration to kick off this year’s Festival of Lights on Wednesday.  They write: Join us for a celebration for all ages followed by a lighting of the first candle on our Hanukiah (Hanukkah menorah). Bring your children, parents, friends, neighbors, and classmates along for a fun, meaningful kickoff to this year’s Festival of Lights. Mordechai Walker will lead us in song and share the story behind our Hanukkah traditions. Play dreidel for gelt before promenading from the Mazer Theater to the front of our building for a festive first lighting of the menorah. FREE fun for everyone. 4:30-5:30p // 197 E. Broadway.

LES Lit: Shteyngart & Rakoff at the Educational Alliance

The Lo-Down is looking forward to co-sponsoring an upcoming event at the Educational Alliance: “LES Lit,” an evening with authors Gary Shteyngart and Joanna Smith Rakoff. The November 17th reading and discussion is a great opportunity to get to know two accomplished writers who have lived on (and been inspired by) the Lower East Side.

Shteyngart recently published Super Sad True Love Story, a futuristic novel set in a “completely bankrupt, illiterate America where books are ‘smelly and annoying’ and no one reads them.” Last summer, we sat down with the author to talk about his latest work (which happens to be very funny) and his life on the LES. Shteyngart had just moved out of an apartment in the Grand Street coops but can still be found sidling up to the bar at Clandestino on a regular basis.

Rooftop Jazz Poetry and Wine Tasting at Educational Alliance

Jake Marmer and Steve Dalachinsky will each perform a set of their jazz poetry on Wednesday at Educational Alliance

For a unique L.E.S. experience, head over to the rooftop at the Educational Alliance on Wednesday evening for two jazz poetry performances accompanied by a kosher wine tasting.  Jazz poet Jake Marmer, of the punk jazz poetry band Frantic Turtle, and Steve Dalachinsky, a downtown New York poet, will be performing as the sun goes down. Gary Landsman, aka the “Wine Tasting Guy,” will be pouring the wine until it runs out. $10 // 6:30pm // 197 East Broadway.