Foodscape: Lower East Side/Chinatown

by NYC Food Policy Editor

Lower East Side/Chinatown Foodscape

About Foodscapes

Access to affordable and nutritious food is one of the cornerstones of good health. Without this, individuals—and communities—are at a higher risk of food insecurity and serious chronic diseases, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. To improve the health of New Yorkers, we must recognize that each neighborhood has a distinct food environment.

Purpose

These Foodscape reports provide a community-level snapshot of a community’s food environment, including data on healthy and unhealthy food consumption, food access, and diet-related diseases. Additionally, the reports detail a comprehensive guide of the many food-related resources available to residents within their neighborhoods to support them in eating healthier. The Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center has compiled this information from various sources, presenting it in a user-friendly format to help NYC residents and communities better understand their local foodscapes.

*All data from Community Health Profiles includes Chinatown, East Village, and Lower East Side

Zip codes include: 10002, 10003, 10009, 10013, 10038

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

DEMOGRAPHICS:

  • Total Population: 171,103 (2% of NYC population) (1)
  • Population by Race and Ethnicity of Lower East Side/Chinatown and New York City (1)
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown:25.3% Latino | NYC: 29% Latino
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 7.3% Black | NYC: 22% Black
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 33% White | NYC: 32% White
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 31.7% Asian/Pacific Islander | NYC: 15% Asian
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 2.8% Other | NYC: 2% Other
  • Lower East Side/Chinatown Population by Age: (1)
    • 0-17 years: 13%
    • 18-24 years: 11%
    • 25-44 years: 35%
    • 45-64 years: 25%
    • 65+ years: 16%
  • Life Expectancy
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 83.2 years (2) | NYC: 82.1 years (2)
  • Born Outside the US: 
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 34% (1) | NYC: 37% (1)

NEIGHBORHOOD ACCESS TO HEALTHY FOOD:

  • Supermarket to Bodega Ratio: One (1) supermarket in Lower East Side/Chinatown to 18 bodegas (1)
  • Meal Gap (# of meals needed per year for food security): 5,066,241 (2)
  • Food Insecurity
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 17.9% of residents (2)| NYC: 15.4% of residents (2)
  • Residences that Lack a Kitchen: 
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 0.7% of housing units (2)| NYC: 0.8% (2)
  • Households Receiving SNAP Benefits: 
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 26.2% of households (2)| NYC: 22.4% of households (2)
  • Walking Distance to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: (4)
    • 5 minutes or less: 57% (Compared to 49% New York City-wide)
    • 5-10 minutes: 19% (Compared to 18% New York City-wide)
    • 10 minutes or more: 24% (Compared to 32% New York City-wide)

FOOD CONSUMPTION:

  • At Least One Serving of Fruits or Vegetables Per Day (percent of adults): 
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 88% (1) | NYC: 87% (1)
  • No Fruits and Vegetables Yesterday: 
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 12% of adults (2) | NYC: 12.9% of adults (2)
  • One or More 12-ounce Sugary Drinks Per Day (percent of adults): 
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 16% (1) | NYC: 23% (1)

HEALTH AND DISEASE STATUS:

  • Adults Reporting Their Own Health as “Excellent,” “Very Good” or “Good” (percent of adults): 
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 70% (1) | NYC: 78% (1)
  • Obesity (percent of adults): 
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 10% (1) | NYC: 24% (1)
  •  Childhood Obesity (percent of public school children in grades K through 8): 
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 16% (1) | NYC: 20% (1)
  • Diabetes (percent of adults): 
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 11% (1) | NYC: 11% (1)
  • Hypertension (percent of adults): 
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 22% (1) | NYC: 28% (1)

ECONOMIC AND LIVING-CONDITION STRESS, CONTRIBUTORS TO FOOD INSECURITY:

  • Median Household Income
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: $43,705 (2) | NYC: $63,132 (2)
  • Poverty (percent of households with incomes below poverty): 
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 26.2% (2) | NYC: 19.7% (2)
  • Unemployment (percent of people ages 16 and older): 
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 3.6% (2) | NYC: 4.5% (2)
  • Extreme Housing Burden (percent of renters): 
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 22.7% (2) | NYC: 29.5% (2)

EXERCISE AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY BURDEN

  • Air Pollution (micrograms of fine particulate matter per cubic meter): 
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 8.9 (1) | New York City-wide: 7.5 (1)
  • Bicycle Network Coverage (percent of streets with bike lanes): 
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 37% (1) | New York City-wide: 10% (1)
  • Pedestrian Injury Hospitalizations (per 100,000 people): 
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 20 (1) | New York City-wide: 23 (1)
  • Any Physical Activity in the Past 30 Days (percent of adults): 
    • Lower East Side/Chinatown: 77% (1) | New York City-wide: 73% (1)

LOWER EAST SIDE/CHINATOWN SUMMER MEALS: 

To ensure everyone has access to nutritious meals, the Department of Education’s Meal Hubs were created in response to COVID-19 and have expanded service to all children and adults across the five boroughs. Sites serve grab-and-go meal service for adults and children and no one is turned away. No registration or identification is required.

During the summer of 2020, over 400 Meal Hubs operated from 7:30am-11:30am for children and families and 11:30am-1:30pm for adults. Starting September 29, 200 Meal Hubs continue to provide grab-and-go meal service for all New Yorkers on Monday-Friday between 3-5pm.

Please check the DOE website for updates and search for Free Meals at the select public school buildings here or text “NYCFOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877-877.

LOWER EAST SIDE/CHINATOWN COMMUNITY GARDENS: 

LOWER EAST SIDE/CHINATOWN GREENTHUMB GARDENS:

There are over 600 GreenThumb community gardens across the city, and any resident can join a garden. Find the most up-to-date list of gardens using GreenThumb’s searchable Garden Map. (5)  

  • Dorothy Strelsin Memorial Garden (Suffolk St. - Committee of Poor People): 174 Suffolk St
  • Children's Magical Garden: 131 Stanton St
  • Dias Y Flores: 520-522 E 13th St
  • Sam & Sadie Koenig Garden: 237 E 7th St
  • Toyota Children's Learning Garden (Coradan Evaeden): 603 E 11th St
  • Kenkeleba House Garden: 212 E 3rd St
  • 9th Street Community Garden & Park: 703 E 9th St
  • All People's Garden, Inc.: 293-295 E 3rd St
  • 11th Street Community Garden: 422 E 11th St
  • El Sol Brillante Jr.: 537 E 12th St
  • Flower Door Garden: 135 Avenue C
  • El Sol Brillante Garden: 522-528 E 12th St
  • Clinton Community Garden (LES): 171 Stanton St
  • Brisas Del Caribe: 237 E 3rd St
  • Lower East Side Ecology Center: 213 E 7th St
  • Parque De Tranquilidad: 314-318 E 4th St
  • Fishbridge Park Garden: 338-340 Pearl St
  • Earth People: 333-335 E 8th St
  • Carmen Pabon Del Amanecer Jardin: 117 Avenue C
  • Lower East Side People Care: 25 Rutgers St
  • Sage's Garden: 281 E 4th St
  • Orchard Alley: 350-54 E 4th St
  • East Side Outside Community Garden: 415 E 11th St
  • Grand Street Community Garden: 239 Grand St
  • Secret Garden: 293 E 4th St
  • La Casita Garden: 339-41 E 8th St
  • Fireman's Memorial Garden: 360 E 8th St
  • M'finda Kalunga Garden: 179 Chrystie St
  • Creative Little Garden: 530 E 6th St
  • Hope Garden: 193 E 2nd St

LOWER EAST SIDE/CHINATOWN SCHOOL GARDENS:

  • PS 363 The Neighborhood School: 121 E 3rd St (between 1st Ave & Avenue A)
  • PS 63 The STAR Academy: 121 E 3rd St
  • PS 364 The Earth School: 420 E 12th St (between 1st Ave & Avenue A)
  • PS 1 Alfred E. Smith: 8 Henry St
  • PS 184 Shuang Wen: 327 Cherry St
  • PS 42 Benjamin Altman: 71 Hester St
  • PS 15 Roberto Clemente: 333 E 4th St
  • P.S./M.S. 34: 730 E 12th St (between Avenue C & D)
  • MS 131 Dr. Sun Yat Sen Middle School: 100 Hester St (between Forsyth & Eldridge St)
  • PS 64 Robert Simon: 600 E 6th St
  • NEST+m: 111 Columbia St
  • HS 515 Lower East Side Preparatory High School: 145 Stanton St
  • PS/MS 539 New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math High School: 111 Columbia St
  • PS 94 The Spectrum School: 442 E Houston St (at Baruch Dr)
  • PS 150 Tribeca Learning Center: 334 Greenwich St
  • Charter 330 Girls Preparatory Charter School of New York: 442 E Houston St
  • HS 458 Forsyth Satellite Academy: 198 Forsyth St
  • HS 450 East Side Community School: 420 E 12th St
  • HS 543 New Design High School: 350 Grand St
  • HS 376 NYC iSchool: 131 Avenue Of The Americas
  • MS 839 Tompkins Square Middle School: 600 E 6th St (at Avenue B)
  • PS 2 Meyer London: 122 Henry St
  • PS 142 Amalia Castro: 100 Attorney St
  • PS/MS 126 Manhattan Academy of Technology (aka Jacob Riis): 80 Catherine St
  • The East Village Community School (EVCS): 610 E 12th St
  • PS/MS 34 Franklin D. Roosevelt: 730 E 12th St
  • Grace Church School-High School: 46 Cooper Square
  • HS 520 Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers: 411 Pearl St
  • PS 110 Florence Nightingale: 285 Delancy St
  • PS 361 The Children's Workshop School: 610 E 12th St
  • PS 751 Manhattan School for Career Development Preparatory (MSCD): 113 E 4th St
  • PS 94 Spectrum School @361: 610 E 12th St
  • MS 378 School for Global Leaders: 145 Stanton St
  • MS/HS 407 Institute for Collaborative Education: 345 E 15th St

LOWER EAST SIDE/CHINATOWN FARMERS’ MARKETS: 

To ensure the below farmers’ markets are open, please call or check the listed websites for the most up-to-date information.

Many farmers’ markets accept cash, SNAP/EBT, debit/credit, WIC and Senior FMNP coupons. They may also offer Health Bucks for EBT users — for every $5 spent in EBT, customers receive a $2 Health Buck coupon to purchase additional fruits and vegetables. For an updated list of farmers’ markets near you (including days/hours of operation) visit nyc.gov/health and search “farmers markets” or text “SoGood” to 877-877.

LOWER EAST SIDE/CHINATOWN OFFICIAL SNAP ENROLLMENT SITES IN NYC – HUMAN RESOURCES ASSOCIATION (HRA):

Data is updated on a continuous basis in collaboration with the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center’s Neighborhood Food Resource Guides.

*It is possible to apply for SNAP benefits online at https://www.ny.gov/services/apply-snap

LOWER EAST SIDE/CHINATOWN PANTRIES AND SOUP KITCHENS:

Data is updated on a continuous basis in collaboration with the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center’s Neighborhood Food Resource Guides.

*Food pantry and soup kitchen hours subject to change, and requirements may be needed to register for food pantries. Call a specific location for more information before going for the first time. 

LOWER EAST SIDE/CHINATOWN RETAIL FOOD STORES:

*This list below includes all retail food stores from a Google Maps Places API search with keyword search terms “bakery, cafe, convenience store, deli, food, grocery, supermarket.” 

Data is updated on a continuous basis in collaboration with the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center’s Neighborhood Food Resource Guides.

PARKS IN LOWER EAST SIDE/CHINATOWN:

To ensure the below businesses and organizations are open, please call or check the listed websites for the most up-to-date information.

FOOD POLICY ORGANIZATIONS IN LOWER EAST SIDE/CHINATOWN:

To ensure the below organizations are and services are being offered, please call or check the listed websites for the most up-to-date information.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Last updated: 4/27/21

REFERENCES:

  1. Hinterland, K, et al. “Community Health Profiles 2018, Manhattan Community District 3: Lower East Side and Chinatown.” Community Health Profiles 2018, Manhattan Community District 3: Lower East Side and Chinatown, 2018, pp. 1–20.
  2. “Data2Go: Chinatown & Lower East Side.” data2go.Nyc, Measure of America of the Social Science Research Council and Helmsley Charitable Trust, https://data2go.nyc/map/?id=103*36047015900*food_insecure_puma!undefined!ns*!buttonHolder~other_pop_cd_506~ahdi_puma_1~sch_enrol_cd_112~age_pyramid_male_85_plus_cd_20~median_household_income_puma_397~median_personal_earnings_puma_400~dis_y_perc_puma_102~poverty_ceo_cd_417~unemployment_cd_408~pre_k_cd_107!*air_qual_cd~ahdi_puma*family_homeless_cd_245#11/40.7769/-73.9795
  3. “Annual Vital Statistics Data Show Fewer Premature Deaths and Fewer Births in New York City in 2017.” NYC Health, The City of New York.
  4. “A Foodscape of Union Square/Lower Manhattan.” New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College, Mar. 2017, https://www.nycfoodpolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/FS309310_2017.pdf
  5. “Green Thumb Garden Map.” NYC Parks, https://greenthumb.nycgovparks.org/gardensearch.php.

Article Image: “New York City (NYC) Neighborhood Maps – By Borough – Manhattan.” NYCdata, Baruch College Zicklin School of Business, https://www.baruch.cuny.edu/nycdata/population-geography/maps-boroughs.htm.

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