Called “the quintessential New York institution” by the New York Times, the 92nd Street Y has served NYC since 1874. Founded as the Young Men’s Hebrew Association (YMHA) by a group of German Jewish professionals, the first meeting was held in the home of Dr. Simeon Newton Leo. It has always been at its core a Jewish organization, serving the civic, cultural and religious needs of New York’s Hebraic population. In its early decades, it played a major role in aiding new Russian immigrant populations (a commitment that continues to the present day), also changing locations a number of times due to financial insecurity.
The facility at 92nd St. and Lexington Avenue opened in 1900, holding its first annual High Holy Day Services that year. With the appointment of Jack Nadel as executive director in 1922 (beginning what would be a 35-year tenure), the groundwork was laid for YMHA to become one of New York’s most reputable cultural and community institutions. YWHA (Young Women’s Hebrew Association) merged its operations and facilities with those of YMHA in 1945. As the 20th century progressed, YM-YWHA’s activities expanded to feature arts, cultural and community events that reflected the full diversity of New York’s population.
The 92nd Street Y has featured milestone performances such as the debuts of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, and Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, as well as Yo-Yo Ma’s New York recital debut. Today it continues to produce a huge diversity of programs spanning all disciplines of the fine and performing arts, including classical and popular music, opera, theatre, dance, film, literature and visual arts. The Art Center at the Y (founded in 1930) embodies the organization’s continued commitment to education, offering numerous workshops and classes in the arts to people of all ages and cultural affiliations.
92nd Street Y
- Venues: 1395 Lexington Avenue (Uptown); 200 Hudson Street (92YTribeca)
- Public Transportation: Very good (easily accessible by subway lines 4, 5, and 6 at 86th Street and buses M86, M96, M98, and M101–M103. For 92YTribeca: subway lines 1 at Canal Street; A, C, and E at Canal Street/6th Avenue; and buses M5, M20, and M21)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: The 92nd Street Y is a Jewish institution that welcomes people of all ages, ethnicities, and religions. It’s not affiliated with the YMCA. The Y functions as a performance space, lecture hall, school, health center, and community organization. Programming includes a variety of classes, lectures, concerts, readings, social events, camps, and other events
- Ticket Prices: Vary based on program. Some scholarship funds may be available to Y programs for those in financial need
- Group Discounts: 15% discount for groups of 10 or more
- Membership: No general membership, but memberships are available to certain Y programs and centers, such as the 60+ Program, the Parenting Center, the Unterberg Poetry Center, and the May Center for Health, Fitness & Sport.