Yuco Buildings

New Community Center Opens On Lower East Side

Raymond Yu, President of Yuco Real Estate Company, Inc., officiated the grand opening of the Chinatown YMCA's Houston Street Center. NY1's coverage of this event follows:

New York, NY
Thursday, April 6, 2006


After decades of talk, a new community center for Chinatown and Lower East Side residents has finally arrived. As NY1's Roger Clark explains in the following report, it comes through the cooperation of two non-profit groups and a developer.

Underneath the busy streets of the Lower East Side, a solitary swimmer does morning laps. The place is the Houston Street Center.

"This facility was really built on the dreams of the founding members of this Y, which started 32 years ago," said Raymond Yu, Chairman of the Chinatown YMCA.

Officials from the Chinatown YMCA and project partner University Settlement, cut the ribbon for the community center Thursday. It will be home to programs the two agencies have been providing for years for children, families and seniors plus space for other community groups who want to use it.

The new place was made possible through an agreement with Avalon Bay Communities, which built it along with a rental apartment complex on the corner of Houston and the Bowery.

"We're hoping that when more development projects come into our district, that this can be the model," said Councilwoman Rosie Mendez.

And they are coming. After all, who would have ever though there would be an apartment building like this on the Bowery? Even a Whole Foods is planned, in a neighborhood that used to be, well, skid row. The community center aims to serve residents new and old.

"It's always scary to see your neighborhood change a lot, and gentrification can be good and bad," said DavidMcWater, Chairman of Community Board 3. "We hope the case is that this place will provide services for people who have been here for a long time."

At a place like this - when you have an organization like the YMCA getting together with another organization like university settlement - you know you are going to have some physical fitness needs taken care of, but there is a lot more going on here, than them trying to get you into good shape.

But I have to admit, I love the pool.

- Roger Clark