Honoring six places in Lower Manhattan that anchor traditions, hold memories and keep New York City distinctive

Economy Candy 

Since 1937, the Lower East Side emporium has been a pilgrimage for those seeking confections of every sort–neon marshmallow peeps glow from the counters, hollow chocolate bunnies perch on beds of platic grass, and bins stacked nearly to the ceiling contain eery jelly bean flabor on record. There is truly something for eeryone. In the words of second-generation owner Jerry Cohen, “We offer quality, variety, freshness… and me!”

108 Rivington Street, Lower East Side


The Bowery Mission

The Bowery Mission is one of the earliest instances of the American Institution, the “gospel rescue mission” – private Protestant charities that provide food, shelter and clothing the people in need, while encouraging them to seek religious conversation. As the Bowery district rose to internation notriety as the home for the city’s most dangerous residents, the Bowery Mission became emblematic of Christian charity and evangelism.

227 Bowery, Bowery


The Chinatown Senior Citizen’s Center

With the Cantonese Opera Club performing daily in the orchestra room and animated tile games of tian-jiu and ma-jian, the Chinatown Senior Citizen’s Center embodies Chinatown’s spirit and its history. Over 00 people congregate each day in the former Public School 23 building, also the first home of the Museum of Chinese in America. The oral histories of the Center’s members helped to launch the Museum.

70 Mulberry Street, Chinatown


Streit’s Matzos

Operating out of the same Lower East Side location since 1925, Streit’s Matzos is one of the last reamining industrial concerns in Lower Manhattan. Aron Streit started the business in one of four contiguous tenements that now comprise the business. Today, Aron’s grand- and great-grand children own Streit’s Matzos, making them the only family-run matzo manufacturing company in the United States. 

148-154 Rivington Street, Lower East Side


Ear Inn

The James Brown House is a New York City landmark and is also listed on the National Register. But the lore surrounding Ear Inn is as signficiant as the building that houses it. 326 Spring Street was erected in 1817 for Brown, reputedly an African American Revolutionary soldier and aide to George Washington. Called the “spiritual hub of West Soho,” Ear Inn has served them all, from old guard sailors to the avant-garde.

326 Spring Street, Tribeca


The Tenement at 109 Washington Street

From the late 19th to the mid-20th centuries, the area west of Broadway and extening north from Battery Place roughly to Chambers Street was home to the United States’ largest Middle-Eastern settlement. A few blocks from Ground Zero, this humble tenement survived the construction of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, and more recently, 9/11. It is emblematic of the stalwart spirit of NC’s resilient immigrant communities. 

109 Washington Street, Financial District

Generous support from the American Express Historic Preservation Fund has made the Third Annual Place Matters Awards possible. Our special thanks to our funders, the American Express Historic Preservation Fund, the E.H.A. Foundation, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, the Folk Arts Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and The Sherman Foundation for their support of Place Matters programs.

We extend our deep appreciation to the place-enthusiasts on the Awards Selection Community: Hanna Griff-Sleven, Director of Cultural Programs, Museum at Eldridge Street; Bienvenidas Matias, Filmaker; Emily Socolov, Folklorist; Jan Hanvik, Director, Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center; Johanna Gorelick, Education Manager, National Museum of the American Indian; Beatrice Chen, Director of Education and Programs, Museum of Chinese in America; Cheryl Green Rosario, Director of Philanthropy, American Express Foundation; Tamara Greenfield, Executive Director, Fourth Arts Block; Robert LaValva, President, New Amsterdam Market; Alexandra Herzan, President, Lily Auchincloss Foundation; Roberta Lane, Senior Program Office and Regional Attorney, Northeast Office, the National Trust for Historic Preservation; Makale Faber-Cullen, Proprietor, Wilderness of Wish, Tamara Coombs, Director of Tours and Programs, Municipal Arts Society; Kerri Culhane, Architectural Historian; Morgan von Prelle Pecelli, Director of Development, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

Our many thanks to Emily Chovanec and the Museum of Chinese in America for hosting tonight’s ceremony. Thank you to the staff of City Lore and the Municipal Arts Society; John Wong for designing the Place Matters Awards; Beth Higgins and paco Levine for designing the Place Matters Awards postcard; Alex Khalfan and Axoim nC for fabricating the awards; Trader Joe’s Union Square for food donations. Special thanks to Lisa Kersavage, Elena Martinez, Anna Mule, Eileen COndon, Ana Sofia Paiva, Sergei Krasikau and Lee Eaton.