by Great Performances' Founder, Liz Neumark

It was time to move. After 26 years of growth on the corner of Spring and Hudson, in what became Hudson Square, we needed to look for a new home for Great Performances. Not only had we outgrown our facility at 304 Hudson, but the building was being sold to Disney for new development. This would be a search for our third home since our first lease at 125 Crosby Street in 1982 and we needed to be relocated by July 2019.

We looked citywide and a few things became clear. Space for manufacturing and a fleet of trucks that required easy access to all boroughs (as well as Long Island, Westchester and New Jersey) would no longer be found in Manhattan.

We looked in Brooklyn and Queens which seemed like more obvious choices given the rise of the food culture and companies in those boroughs – but we couldn’t find the right fit. Unexpectedly, we ventured up to the Bronx. Ironically, the public misperception of the Bronx as a welcoming place for growing businesses has turned out to be anything but true.

Mott Haven fit the bill on multiple fronts. Its proximity to ‘the city’ is easier than Brooklyn or even upper Manhattan. We found a building with large floor plates and a landlord that welcomed us, providing lots of room to grow. The access points for delivery were robust, and public transportation was easy.

We soon discovered the vibrant South Bronx businesses, non-profit and civic communities. Through our ground floor café, Mae Mae, we have been able to contribute to local street life. What has been exciting is learning about our Bronx neighbors and the rich cultures that make it so ‘New York’.

Classic borough chauvinism has always been a New York staple and a source of local pride. We embrace the Bronx with a full heart, and bring a different perspective to the table. We are advocates for one New York, where regardless of your zip code, the wellbeing of all New Yorkers is what matters. In that spirit, while our new home nurtures our continued growth, we are dedicated to bringing new opportunities to our Bronx neighbors as well.

So the secret is out! Mott Haven has been dubbed “The New ‘It’ Neighborhood.” Come visit us!


Inventor and industrialist Jordan L. Mott purchased land in the southwest Bronx from the Morris family in 1841 to create Mott Haven, a nineteenth century version of an industrial park. He established his own iron foundry there, J. L. Mott Iron Works Metal Foundry, the buildings of which still stand at Third Avenue and the Harlem River [1].

The J.L. Mott Iron Works originally made coal burning cooking stoves, then later produced other items such as bathtubs, porcelain sinks, and a wide variety of other cast iron items like manhole covers and stable goods. Shortly after the New York & Harlem Railroad linked the southeast Bronx to Manhattan in 1840, Jordan L. Mott built a canal in 1850, paving the way for Mott Haven began to become a bustling industrial center. Known for its metal works, sawmills, and stone yards, Mott Haven’s industry expanded into the fields of piano factories, lumberyards, furniture manufacturers, and food and ice producers over the course of the nineteenth century [1].

Mott Haven Canal Docks, circa 1880 – Museum of the City of New York

By the early twentieth century, the area had one of the largest concentrations of manufacturing buildings and facilities along the Harlem River. By the mid-1920s, Mott Haven factories mass-produced a wide variety of products from iron to refrigeration systems, enamel products to paper box containers, mechanical printing presses to machine made furniture [1].

The Bruckner Building, modern day, aerial shot

Mott Haven’s dense industrial base meant the neighborhood was particularly hard hit by the deindustrialization of New York City in the mid 20th century. Though the South Bronx became a symbol of urban decay and disinvestment by the 1970s, it also remained a vibrant immigrant neighborhood with new institutions, such as the Teatro de Puerto Rico, moving into the many surviving historic buildings. The rich history and architectural distinction of Mott Haven has been recognized by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission through the designation of three historic districts (including the first in the Bronx) and several individual landmarks [3].

The neighborhood has grown over time, swallowing up the nearby communities of Wilton and North New York. In more recent years, Mott Haven has experienced a boom in both commercial and residential development. Although some developers have attempted to rename the area “SoBro” or “The Piano District” (a nod to the neighborhood’s history of piano manufacturing, particularly in the 1880s), Mott Haven still bears the name of its original settler, Jordan L. Mott.

Fun Fact:

South Bronx is the birthplace of Hip-Hop!

Some fifty years later, Hip-Hop is now a worldwide sensation; produced and listened to by people all over the globe and in countless languages.

Read more about the history of the genre and Bronx natives currently at work in the Hip-Hop world at

Sedgwick Avenue. Photo: Maridelis Rosado


As part of our unwavering commitment to giving back to the Bronx, we are very proud for the ongoing partnerships that we have with Bronx organizations including Bronx Chamber of Commerce, Bronx River Alliance, DREAM Charter High School, Bronx Children’s Museum, and New York City Parks.

Catch more events and news about our Bronx partners by reading our monthly Bronx Round-up!


Bringing plant-based deliciousness to Mott Haven.

The first of its kind in Mott Haven, Mae Mae Café + Plant Shop offers a multi-ethnic Vegan menu alongside a lush atmosphere of plants and artwork from local artists. Mae Mae has become a gathering spot for local Vegans and non-Vegans alike with frequent community events such as art showings, community talks, gatherings with local elected officials, and more. We are proud to own and operate Mae Mae as a welcoming space for the Mott Haven community.  |  @maemaeplantcafe


Curated by Great Performances, People’s Kitchen taps into the widest variety of palates through our partnerships with some of the most interesting organizations and culinary talent – and we bring them to you to explore and enjoy. Now more than ever, the restaurant community needs our support. Small entrepreneurs, with great dreams and skills, are eager to introduce you to their products. Our outreach in the Bronx alone has uncovered a plethora of deliciousness that we are excited to share with you.



Great Performances is proud of its mission to use ethically and responsibly-sourced products and to work with reputable, trusted, local purveyors. We take great care in vetting each and everyone so that we can be sure they align with our ethics, vision, and of course, quality standards. We’re especially proud to foster connections with vendors who also call the Bronx home!


[1] New York State Department of Environmental Protection Conservation, Report: “Phase I Environmental Site Assessment, 2413 Third Avenue, Bronx, New York”,

[2] Lindsay Turley, Museum of the City of New York, “Mott Haven Historic District”,

[3] 6tocelebrate, “Mott Haven”,