The Bowery


I’m not sure what I was expecting. The Bowery is one of those New York streets that have been mythologized and made famous by American pop culture; although it is less well-known than some other Manhattan arteries, its name still evokes sleazy bars, flophouses and the kind of grit and disorder that was associated with New York in the 1970s and 80s. The reality, of course, is quite different: for most of its length, the Bowery is a broad, low-slung and surprisingly quiet street. The north end of the street is increasingly populated by luxury condominium developments; in the south it gradually dissolves into the Chinatown confusion of grocery stores, street vendors and competing signs. In between is a string of home lighting businesses. I’m not sure if they emerged recently or if they’re a remnant of the old Bowery, destined to be gobbled up by gentrification or an expanding Chinatown.


This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Friday June 27 2008at 04:06 pm , filed under United States and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Response to “The Bowery”

  • C. Szabla says:

    It’s been about 30 years since the Bowery was the Bowery of yore. Even in the 80s the decrepit but monumental old savings bank buildings were being transformed into theatre workshops for the then-avant garde SoHo set. To evoke the atmosphere of legend you’d probably have to imagine the elevated running overhead and nearly every old building overflowing with winos.

    To answer your question: less so the home lighting stores, but the kitchen supply places have been a longtime feature that I’m sure will soon become as inconvenient as the new Fulton Fish Market, currenly berthed in the Bronx. The process will probably be speeded up considerably now that the New Museum has landed in their midst like an ICBM of gentrification.