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The Two Bridges neighborhood, named for its location between the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, is commonly defined as stretching from the East River Drive to East Broadway, and from the Brooklyn Bridge to Montgomery Street. Usually considered as a subsection of the Lower East Side, the area is defined by large mid-20th-century housing developments on superblocks and walk-up tenement buildings.

In the 1930s, a large portion of the historical Two Bridges was razed to build Knickerbocker Village, a 12-building complex that was one of the country's first middle-income developments subsidized by the federal government. Today, Two Bridges, like the rest of Manhattan, is changing fast as pricey new residential projects and trendy restaurants invite newcomers to the tight-knit neighborhood that has long served as a bastion of affordability in Lower Manhattan.
Between concern for the environmental impact of new buildings, fears of being pushed out in a wave of gentrification, and not wanting to see cherished views blocked by skyscrapers, there has been major community pushback against new development, particularly against a cluster of skyscrapers proposed along South Street and the East River waterfront. This finally came to a head in February 2021, when a state appeals court unanimously overturned rulings that had temporarily halted the projects. Opponents of the project, former Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and former City Council Member Margaret Chin among them, argued that the projects should have gone through the city's land review process. However, the appellate court found that the lower court judge should have referred to the Department of City Planning's "reasonable interpretation" that the zoning resolution to allow for the new towers didn't require further justification.
Two Bridges, like the rest of Manhattan, is changing fast
Two Bridges skyline
Two Bridges on the Lower East Side of Manhattan
Two Bridges skyline
The 847-foot-high One Manhattan Square led the new development charge, and the planned towers include a 1,013-foot-tall tower at 247 Cherry Street from JDS Development Group, two +60-story towers at 260 South Street from The Chetrit Group, and a 62-story, 724-foot rental building at 259 Clinton Street from Starrett Development. We take a look at the newest section of the Manhattan skyline below.

247 Cherry Street
Developed by JDS Development Group | Designed by SHoP Architects
1,008 feet high | 77 stories
660 rental units (25% affordable housing)
Completion estimated for 2025

One-Manhattan-Square-04 JDS Development's 247 Cherry Street (l) and One Manhattan Square (r)
After bringing the world's most slender skyscraper to 111 West 57th Street and Brooklyn's tallest building to 9 Dekalb Avenue, dynamic duo JDS Development Group and SHoP Architects turn their attention to the East River waterfront. The dramatic, five-sided tower is set to be clad in a striated green terra cotta facade with floor-to-ceiling windows, and to partially cantilever over the 10-story senior housing building at 80 Rutgers Slip.
Upon completion, the tower will house approximately 660 rental units with 25 percent designated as below market rate. The new building will offer its residents, as well as those residing in the senior housing building, sky decks, a community garden, and meeting space. The developer has also promised that they will bring “significant improvements to the neighboring building to ensure that it remains a source of affordable, high-quality homes for the next generation." Other improvements will include new neighborhood retail, landscape design by SCAPE, upgrades to common spaces, new community space, and flood resiliency upgrades.
247-Cherry-Street-003 JDS Development's 247 Cherry Street will stand more than 150 feet taller than Extell's One Manhattan Square.
247 Cherry Street via JDS Development
247 Cherry Street via JDS Development
247 Cherry Street via JDS Development

260 South Street
Developed by Chetrit Group | Designed by Handel Architects
798 feet high | 70 stories
1,300 rental units (25% affordable housing)
Completion estimated for 2025

260-South-Street-02 260 South Street (Galaxy Capital Solutions via New York Observer)
Sited in the middle of the bunch, the first signs of life have emerged at 260 South Street. Sections of the parking lot site have recently been cordoned off and construction vehicles have begun drilling test pits and readying for excavation work. Formerly owned by L&M Development Partners with the CIM Group, the northeastern tower of the two-spire project will soar 70 stories, 798 feet tall. Designed by Gary Handel of Handel Architects, there will be a total of 1,300 rental units, with a quarter allocated as affordable and senior housing.
259 Clinton Street Starrett Development's 259 Clinton Street
260 SOuth Street The site preparing for construction as of mid-April 2022
Earlier this April, The New York Observer reported that local developer Chetrit Group has secured $70 million in acquisition financing to go towards erecting the pair of 64- and 70-story rental towers. In recent months, developers across the city have been rushing to break ground on projects before New York State’s 421a tax-abatement program expires on June 15, 2022. The program saves developers millions on annual taxes and provides zoning bonuses in certain cases when developers allocate a portion of their buildings for affordable housing.

Several weeks ago, local Chinatown and Lower East Side organizations rallied outside the offices of the Department of Buildings in an attempt to deny building permits and slowdown the project before the abatement program expires.

259 Clinton Street
Developed by Starrett Development | Designed by Perkins Eastman
724 feet high | 62 stories
1,021 rental units (25% affordable housing)
Completion estimated for 2025

260 South Street (Handel Architects)
Last week, Starrett Development received approvals from the Department of Buildings to start foundation work at 259 Clinton Street, the easternmost of the new towers. It is scheduled to hold 1,021 apartments, where a quarter will be affordable. Perkins Eastman is the architect of record for the singular, glass-sheathed tower.

Josh Siegel, the president of Starrett, told the Lo-Down in 2018, that he was proud of the company's long history of providing affordable housing. “We’re really trying to answer the mayor’s [de Blasio's] call for affordability. That’s what this project is aimed at. We are trying to answer that call to increase affordable housing, which as we all know, is always desperately needed in New York City.”

One Manhattan Square, 252 South Street
Developed by Extell | Designed by Adamson Associates
847 feet high | 72 stories
811 Condominiums | 204 Affordable rentals
Completed in 2019
16 available listings from $1.21M

One-Manhattan-Square-02 One Manhattan Square (Extell Development Company)
Decades after growing up on Pike Street, Extell's founder and director Gary Barnett took the old neighborhood by storm with One Manhattan Square, his "vertical village" on the former site of a Pathmark grocery store. All 811 units enjoy panoramic views through floor-to-ceiling windows as well as interiors by Meyer Davis Studios with premium appliances and finishes.
One Manhattan Square's standout, 100,000+ square foot amenity package includes a multi-level health and wellness center, including a spa with private treatment rooms and a hammam, centered on a tranquil courtyard and relaxation garden. It also features a private indoor swimming pool, fitness center, bowling alley, basketball court, golf simulator, squash court, and yoga studio. As well as a state-of-the-art cinema and performance space, children’s playroom, teen arcade, culinary lounge, wine room, cigar room, cellar bar, and demonstration kitchen.
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In addition to the indoor amenities, there are 45,000 square feet of landscaped areas, including gardens, fire pits, an adult treehouse, a tea pavilion, a stargazing observation deck, social courtyards, and a covered dog run that offers residents an unparalleled outdoor living experience in Manhattan. Finally, as part of Extell's commitment to opening a full-service supermarket to replace the shuttered Pathmark, Brooklyn Fare Kitchen & Market signed a lease for its largest location yet in the base of the building. The opening is estimated for mid-2022.

With available land on Manhattan island constrained, more tumultuous/contentious developments can be expected in the coming years. Even the neighborhood's robust stock of NYCHA housing has been eyed as land that can be infilled for future growth.
The LaGuardia Houses Design concept of infill tower on the grounds of The LaGuardia Houses (Leong Leong)
Two Bridges skyline
Two Bridges
In recent years, this stretch of Two Bridges has seen increased interest beyond residential. In 2019, the SHoP Architects-designed East River Waterfront & EcoPark at Pier 35 opened to the public. While the city is currently raising large sections of East River Park to protect against rising seas, the city has opened the first, second, and third phases of this two-mile-long project further south to improve waterfront access. Last summer, Pier 36 welcomed over 800,000 visitors to Immersive Van Gogh, a digital experience allowing visitors to "step into" the art of Vincent van Gogh that proved so popular that it returned for the 2021 holiday season. Additionally, self-filtering pool +POOL is in the works to float in the East River on the south side of Pier 35.
Pier 35
Pier 35 East River Waterfront & EcoPark at Pier 35, 2019 (CityRealty)
Pier 35
Pier 35

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Additional Info About the Building

Contributing Writer Michelle Sinclair Colman Michelle writes children's books and also writes articles about architecture, design and real estate. Those two passions came together in Michelle's first children's book, "Urban Babies Wear Black." Michelle has a Master's degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota and a Master's degree in the Cities Program from the London School of Economics.