Two Bridges, Manhattan

Coordinates: 40°42′43″N 73°59′49″W / 40.712°N 73.997°W / 40.712; -73.997
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Two Bridges
Two Bridges neighborhood (right), seen from the East River in 2017
Two Bridges neighborhood (right), seen from the East River in 2017
Location in New York City
Coordinates: 40°42′43″N 73°59′49″W / 40.712°N 73.997°W / 40.712; -73.997
Country United States
State New York
CityNew York City
Community DistrictManhattan 3[1]
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area codes212, 332, 646, and 917

Two Bridges is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, nestled at the southern end of the Lower East Side and Chinatown on the East River waterfront, near the footings of Brooklyn Bridge and of Manhattan Bridge. The neighborhood has been considered to be a part of the Lower East Side for much of its history. Two Bridges has traditionally been an immigrant neighborhood, previously populated by immigrants from Europe, and more recently from Latin America and China. The Two Bridges Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in September 2003.[2]

Two Bridges has a mix of tenement-style walk-up buildings and high-rise buildings that include mixed-income and affordable housing developments as well as public housing provided by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).


The Two Bridges neighborhood is bounded by the East River, East River Greenway, FDR Drive, and South Street to the south; East Broadway to the north; Montgomery Street to the east; and St. James Place, Pearl Street, and Brooklyn Bridge to the west. However, the Two Bridges Urban Renewal district lies between Manhattan Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge to the north.[3] The neighborhood has two sections: the area between the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge that borders Chinatown, and an area to the east of the Manhattan Bridge that borders the Lower East Side. To the west of the Two Bridges neighborhood is the Civic Center and the Financial District.

In 2013, real estate developer Extell headed by Gary Barnett acquired a former Pathmark grocery store site at 227 Cherry Street east of the Manhattan Bridge. In 2014, Extell announced that it would build a 68-story market-rate condo tower and a separate 13-story affordable development on the site.[4]

The HBO series Flight of the Conchords was based in the Two Bridges neighborhood.[5]


One of the first uses of the term to describe the area was employed by the naming of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council in 1955.[6]

Two Bridges Historic District[edit]

Brooklyn Bridge and housing projects in Two Bridges

In September 2003, the Two Bridges Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The district is a nine-block area, roughly bounded by East Broadway, Market Street, Cherry Street, Catherine Street, Madison Street, and St. James Place.[7]

The district includes the following landmarks on state and federal historic registers:

Earlier ethnic populations[edit]

For much of the 20th century, the area was mainly populated by European immigrants such as Jewish, Italian, Irish, and Greeks. Later on, an influx of Latin American immigrants also settled into the area especially from Puerto Rico.[8] Starting in the 1960s, an influx of Chinese immigrants mainly Cantonese speaking coming from Hong Kong and Guangdong province began flooding into the nearby Chinatown neighborhood, but eventually as it could not accommodate their continuing growing influx, many of them began settling and overlapping into the Two Bridges area. Significant numbers of Vietnamese people and Burmese Chinese also settled in the area. The neighborhood became more racially and culturally diverse. Some significant numbers of Fuzhou dialect speakers also settled into the neighborhood by the early 1980s, but eventually by the late 1980s and through 1990s, their growing population eventually grew to become the largest population of the area, creating their own Fuzhou Chinatown distinct from the original Cantonese Chinatown from The Bowery going west.

Current ethnic populations[edit]

Despite the Fuzhou speaking residents becoming the largest population of Two Bridges, there are still significant pockets of long-time Cantonese, Jewish, and Puerto Rican residents remaining especially in certain housing developments with the Co-ops such as Cooperative Village still having a significant community of Jewish residents and NYCHA public housing developments such as Alfred E. Smith House, Rutgers Houses, LaGuardia Houses, and Vladeck Houses including other subsidized housing programs being primarily populated by Puerto Rican, Cantonese, and African Americans residents, though some Fuzhou residents have also moved into these developments as well; however, some tenement buildings in the area also still have some significant amounts of Puerto Rican and Cantonese residents.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15]

Little Fuzhou[edit]

Little Fuzhou (小福州, 紐約華埠), or Fuzhou Town (福州埠), a prime destination for immigrants from the Fujian Province of China, is centered on the street of East Broadway in Two Bridges. During the 1980s an influx of Fuzhou immigrants flooded East Broadway, and a Little Fuzhou enclave evolved on the street. With a large Fuzhou population, East Broadway is often referred to as Little Fuzhou by Fuzhou immigrants.[16]

The Fuzhou immigrants often speak Mandarin along with their Fuzhou dialect. The Fuzhou immigrants were the only major non-Cantonese Chinese group to largely settle in Manhattan's Chinatown. This is due to the Mandarin-speaking enclaves being too expensive for Fuzhouese, and since many Fuzhou immigrants came without immigration paperwork and were forced into low paying jobs.[17][18][19][20][21]

A considerable number of Fujianese clan associations can be found in and around the street, many of which are even specified by clans from certain villages of Fuzhou region. For example, the members of "Fujian Fuqi Association" are from Fuqi Village, Changle County, Fuzhou, Fujian Province. The Fukien American Association is also located here. Restaurants, markets and intercity bus lines run by Foochowese concentrate in East Broadway.[16][22][23] A statue of Lin Zexu, who was also a Fuzhouese, was erected in Chatham Square in 1997.[24]

However, since the 2000s and especially since the 2010s, there has been rapid gentrification in the area, which is now causing the Fuzhou-speaking enclave to decline in favor of an increasing population of wealthier white professionals moving into the area. Meanwhile, another satellite Fuzhou community has emerged in Brooklyn's Sunset Park and is currently continuing to grow rapidly far surpassing the original Fuzhou-speaking enclave here in Two Bridges as well as overwhelmingly marginalizing the Fuzhou enclave in Two Bridges as the primary center of Fuzhou culture and settlement for the new incoming Fuzhou immigrants.


Since the 2000s, gentrification has hit the area with rising property values and rent prices, which have been slowly pushing out the working-class populations as well as communities of Chinese-speaking immigrants (including Fuzhou-speaking immigrants). Hispanic residents and other non-white populations are now undergoing rapid decline to an increasing population of wealthier white professionals.[25][26][27][28][29]


Madison Street in Two Bridges in 1991

Two Bridges was historically an Irish and Italian neighborhood, but after the war and the building of public housing high-rises in the 1950s, black and Hispanic residents moved into the area. More recently, Two Bridges has been populated by first- and second-generation Chinese immigrants.[3][30] The short-lived Two Bridges Model School District was established in 1967 as an experiment in local control of school districts in a neighborhood that was at the time "35% Chinese and Chinese American, 40% Puerto Rican, 12% white and 12% African American".[31] The area remains a home to low- to moderate-income families and maintains a reputation for being gritty. Guns N' Roses guitarist and area resident Richard Fortus called Two Bridges "the only neighborhood left in Manhattan that doesn’t have a Starbucks".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "NYC Planning | Community Profiles". New York City Department of City Planning. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  2. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Listings September 5, 2003". September 5, 2003. Retrieved January 25, 2007.
  3. ^ a b McEvers, Kelly (August 24, 2005). "Close-Up on Two Bridges, Manhattan". The Village Voice. Retrieved January 25, 2007.
  4. ^ "Community Accuses Extell of 'Economic Segregation' in LES". June 19, 2014. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  5. ^ "Flight of the Conchords walk". Time Out New York. Archived from the original on April 3, 2012.
  6. ^ Administrator. "Two Bridges Neighborhood Council – History". Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  7. ^ "Two Bridges District is designated for State Register of Historic Places". Downtown Express. August 12–18, 2003. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
  8. ^ "Close-Up on Two Bridges, Manhattan". 23 August 2005.
  9. ^ "New York". 14 February 1983.
  10. ^ Gateway to the Promised Land: Ethnic Cultures on New York's Lower East Side. NYU Press. April 1995. ISBN 9780814755099.
  11. ^ Reconstructing Chinatown: Ethnic Enclaves and Global Change. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 9781452903569.
  12. ^ "Fuzhou flower shops of East Broadway: 'heat and noise' and the fashioning of new traditions - Social Care Online".
  13. ^ "History of Chinatown – Neighborhood Projects". 14 June 2022.
  14. ^ "LIYE INFO PDFS Web Standards-Based".
  15. ^ "The Making of Manhattan's Chinatown | MOFAD City". 17 August 2016.
  16. ^ a b 近30年来美国华侨华人职业与经济状况的变化及发展态势 (in Chinese). (October 8, 2011). Retrieved on October 18, 2011.
  17. ^ The Hong Kong reader: passage to ... – Ming K. Chan, Gerard A. Postiglione Google Books. (July 1, 1997). Retrieved on October 18, 2011.
  18. ^ God in Chinatown: religion and ... – Kenneth J. Guest Google Books.. Retrieved on October 18, 2011.
  19. ^ Chinatowns of New York City – Wendy Wan-Yin Tan Google Books.. Retrieved on October 18, 2011.
  20. ^ Reconstructing Chinatown: ethnic ... – Jan Lin Google Books.. Retrieved on October 18, 2011.
  21. ^ Surviving the City: the Chinese ... – Xinyang Wang Google Books. Retrieved on October 18, 2011.
  22. ^ Zhuang Guo-tu, "From sailors of jumping ship to the main actors of East Broadway: Studies on Fuzhou immigrants into U.S. A. in last 20 years", Overseas Chinese History Study, 2003, No. 3, pp 30
  23. ^ 福州晚报. Retrieved on October 18, 2011.
  24. ^ The power of urban ethnic places ... – Jan Lin Google Books. Retrieved on October 18, 2011.
  25. ^ "A Tale of Two Chinatowns – Gentrification in NYC | Rosenberg 2018".
  26. ^ "City's Backing of Four Luxury Super-Towers Cast Long Shadow over Two Bridges Community".
  27. ^ "A tale of Two Bridges". 25 September 2019.
  29. ^ "Story Map Series".
  30. ^ Scheff, Jonathan (September 28, 2006). "Two Bridges". AM New York.
  31. ^ "2014 Student Challenge Grant Winners – Office of Research and Doctoral Studies – NYU Steinhardt". Archived from the original on 2 January 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2015.

External links[edit]