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Thread: The end of the Bowery as a skid row

  1. #16

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    Wow. Wonder if he'll have actors reenact muggings too.

    Oscar winner Martin Scorsese backs development limits to keep the Bowery, street of his youth, gritty

    The 'Mean Streets' director grew up in the neighborhood. Says its low-rise scale turned him into a storyteller.

    By Jason Sheftell AND Bill Hutchinson / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
    Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 7:23 PM





    Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

    Martin Scorsese (with director Darren Aronofsky) has written to the city in hopes of limiting development along the gritty Bowery, where he grew up.


    Keep the Bowery sleazy!
    Filmmaker Martin Scorsese has called on city planners to protect the “grittiness” of the former skid
    row — whose colorful characters and vaudeville theaters nurtured his startlingly talents.
    “Having grown up on Elizabeth Street, the neighborhood and residents of the Bowery became clear catalysts for turning me into a storyteller,” Scorsese, 70, wrote to City Planning Commission Chairwoman Amanda Burden in support of a plan to block high-rise and luxury development in the low-rise neighborhood.
    “Whether it’s ‘Mean Streets’ or ‘Gangs of New York,’ the influence of the Bowery — the grittiness, the ambience, the vivid atmosphere — is apparent,” he added, referencing two of his renowned flicks.
    “The high-rise apartment buildings and condos only create more chaos, more disruption and ultimately offer the Bowery up to the elements of conformity,” the Oscar-winner added.

    Scorsese is the highest-profile celeb to back the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors’ “East Bowery Preservation Plan,” which would limit the height of new development on the east side of Bowery from Bleecker to Canal streets to eight stories.
    It also calls for the preservation of at least eight historic buildings constructed in the 1800s, including the former Germania Bank building at 185 Bowery and an Italianate palazzo at the corner of Rivington.


    Scorsese's letter to City Planning Commissioner Chairwoman Amanda Burden.



    The west side of Bowery is already protected by regulations in the Special Little Italy District and the Noho Historic District.
    Department of City Planning spokeswoman Rachaele Raynoff said the agency has not made a ruling yet, but recognizes and appreciates the “historic value of the Bowery.
    “We have heard the community’s concerns about this corridor and have taken a very close look at the built character, uses, and the community’s plans,” Raynoff said. “As we consider citywide policy, we work hard to strike a balance among uses, constituencies and planning strategies.”


    But Raynoff said the agency believes that the current zoning “supports the continued strength of the corridor as an important hub of jobs and businesses.”
    Angela Westwater — co-owner of the Foster and Partners-designed Sperone Westwater art gallery at 257 Bowery — said she is in a legal battle to stop a 25-story hotel planned for Chrystie St. that would cast a shadow on her building.
    “The hotel is totally out of scale with the neighborhood and it will disturb the contextual feel of the Bowery," said Westwater. “The East Bowery Plan puts a stop to this kind of thing taking over the neighborhood. Scorsese's support helps, but this plan impacts building owners and residents who live with it every day.”
    The debate over the Bowery is just more evidence that the only constant in New York life is change. Once a national symbol of urban blight — the Bower is now one of the hottest residential, retail and nightlife neighborhoods.
    The change is highlighted by a glitzy, eight-story condo building at 250 Bowery where apartments sold quickly, despite anything-but-skid-row prices of $925,000 for a one-bedroom.


    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/...#ixzz2O8BMEyY8

  2. #17

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    Hey old man, when was the last time you were on the Bowery?

    That isn't to say there isn't a lot of history down there that needs preserving... it just ain't in the people who live there now.

  3. #18

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    Just what we need "scenic" slum preservation

  4. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBMW View Post
    Just what we need "scenic" slum preservation
    No, what he wants is 'authentic' slums, poverty, grime & and "grit" - only problem, once you try to 'recreate' that, it is no longer 'authentic'.

    If only the world could be a "stage set" or the dream schemes as perfect as our 'archetctural renderings' here on WNY: wouldn't that be lovely. Get real Martin...LOL

  5. #20
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Grit:

    Dirt -> High Fiber

  6. #21
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Problem with Scorsese is his mind is still stuck in the 'big dirty city' mould that made his fortune. He's kind of a one trick pony in that regard. He can't really adapt.

  7. #22
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    The Bowery Boys Push Back: Preservation Effort For Manhattan’s Historic Thoroughfare Gathers Steam

    By Kim Velsey


    The Bowery Mission.

    “This is a street that predates Manhattan. It has been one of the finest addresses in the city and it has been skid row, and now it’s changing again,” said Bill Wander, offering an extremely brief history of the Bowery.

    We were standing with Mr. Wander, historian for McSorley’s Old Ale House (yes, McSorley’s has a historian), in the Bowery Hotel, surrounded by other historians, preservationists, punk rockers, poets, Italian bakers and many a downtown bar veteran who had gathered to celebrate the Bowery’s recent listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
    As it happened, the Bowery Hotel was a very fitting place to contemplate the past, present and future of the formerly gritty thoroughfare. With its dark wood, velvet furniture and red-tasseled room keys, the hotel capitalizes on the nostalgic leanings of its well-heeled clientele, evoking a faded opulence that seems plausibly Gilded Age. But the hotel, which opened in 2007, is only emblematic of just how quickly that past is receding.


    A historic photo of the Germania Bank Building at 190 Bowery.

    The Bowery of old was a place where a person found a flophouse rather than a $400-a-night hotel, a knife fight instead of the Crime Scene Bar & Lounge. Or, as Mr. Wander put it when we asked: “I’m not quite sure what it’s becoming. But 20 years ago, drinking on the Bowery involved a brown paper bag, and now it involves a sommelier.”

    It was, at this point, rather difficult not to feel self-conscious sipping the evening’s signature cocktail—“The Bowery”—a vodka, elderflower syrup, lemon juice and splash of club soda concoction served in a champagne coupe. But, we reminded ourselves as we took a sip, the occasion was a celebration. Even if it sometimes felt like a dirge.

    Last month, the Bowery was added to the National Register, a designation that provided long-overdue recognition for a street that has shaped, and been shaped by, every era in Manhattan’s history—from its beginnings as a Lenape foot trail to its years as an entertainment district and, later, a punk rock mecca. The designation, however, offers little in the way of practical protections from the luxury condo era—something that neighborhood groups say is essential to preserving not only the diverse, low-rise architecture that lines the street, but the creative, freewheeling character of the Bowery itself.

    “The ferocious pace of development on the East side of the Bowery is destructive,” said David Mulkins, who heads the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, the community group that is leading the preservation effort alongside Two Bridges Neighborhood Council.

    “I think the planning commission at this point has not considered the Bowery as a whole, they’re not considering it as a place,” said Kerri Culhane, an architectural historian and the associate director of Two Bridges.

    After years of seeking, and failing, to get city landmark status for even small, largely intact, stretches of the Bowery, the groups have recently intensified efforts to convince City Planning to create an overlay zoning district that would cap building height on the eastern side of the street to 85 feet, reflecting zoning restrictions that are already in place on the western side of the street. “To do justice to the Bowery, you really need to do justice to both sides of the street,” said Ms. Culhane.

    The effort has attracted supporters among local businesses, restaurateurs, museums and even Martin Scorsese, who last week penned a letter to planning chair Amanda Burden. The filmmaker wrote that “having grown up on Elizabeth Street, the neighborhood and residents of the Bowery became clear catalyst for turning me into a storyteller. Whether it’s Mean Streets or Gangs of New York, the influence of the Bowery—the grittiness, the ambiance, the vivid atmosphere is apparent.”

    A zoning change won’t do much to preserve the grittiness, we’re afraid, but it could protect a lot of the old buildings. Preserving a neighborhood’s architectural character isn’t quite the same as preserving the underlying emotional character—but the two are entwined. And over time the Bowery has proved, if nothing else, to be both protean and resilient.

    “We’re talking about one of the oldest stretches of America before it was America. It was a highway for humans that goes back no one knows how long. This is where the mores and culture of America were established, the cradle of pop culture,” former Landmarks Commissioner Kent Barwick told the Observer. “There’s probably no stretch of New York that has more history per inch than the Bowery.”

    Indeed, if the Bowery has been anything, it has been everything: a Native American footpath, a Dutch farm road, the place where George Washington stopped for a drink before watching British troops leave the waterfront, and where Abraham Lincoln gave the anti-slavery speech that got him the Republican presidential nomination. It has been home to both Astors and drug addicts, a place of circuses, movies and brothels. It has nurtured tap dance, vaudeville, Yiddish theater, Abstract Expressionism, Irving Berlin, Patti Smith and punk rock and now … well, no one really knows what comes next. Just that the thoroughfare should remain as central to the New York experience as it has always been.

    “It was always so quintessentially New York—a little bit naughty, the underside of the city, the underside is always the real city,” reflected Mr. Barwick. “The Bowery still has that sense of being the real New York, something special, the place where talent is more important than connections. But it’s on life support.”

    http://observer.com/2013/03/the-bowe...gathers-steam/

  8. #23
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Nice shot at the beginning of that article...

  9. #24

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    Specifically because of what the Bowery was (a fetid slum), it should not be protected.

  10. #25
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    Except that much of what was considered "slum" then is now considered "vintage" and premium quality.

    The row-houses of yesteryear are masterpieces compared to the townhouses of today.

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    Odd to have a city without a skid row, just homeless pods.

  12. #27

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    Then they should have value to their owners, who shouldn't be inclined to demo them. Since that isn't happening, they aren't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge View Post
    Except that much of what was considered "slum" then is now considered "vintage" and premium quality.

    The row-houses of yesteryear are masterpieces compared to the townhouses of today.

  13. #28
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    They have value, but in most cases they are required to SPEND money in order to be able to access it.

    They are also not motivated to do so.

    Some have good (financial) reasons to hold onto the property as part of their portfolio without actually doing anything with it, but some just do it because they are really certifiably stupid about it.

  14. #29
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    Behind the Facades, a Seedy Past Endures

    By SAM ROBERTS


    The Bowery: A Bounty of History: The Bowery in Lower Manhattan is one of New York City’s oldest addresses.
    That history is now being preserved as the Bowery has just been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


    Arthur Brower/The New York Times
    A quiet scene in the Bowery in May 1960.


    The Bow’ry, the Bow’ry!
    They say such things,
    And they do strange things
    On the Bow’ry! The Bow’ry!
    I’ll never go there anymore!

    It is no longer the narrow Indian footpath transformed by the Dutch into a broad thoroughfare flanked by farms and elegant estates and later home to freed black slaves, immigrant hoards, nativist gangs, political grandstanders and rabble-rousers, flophouses and late-19th-century bawdy night life immortalized in song in the 1891 Broadway musical “A Trip to Chinatown.”

    Today, a cursory survey might suggest that much of the Bowery’s storied past already has been obliterated. But the facades and the bones of nearly 200 buildings lining the 1.25 miles between Chatham Square and Cooper Square still conceal two centuries of New York history — so authentic, compelling and enduring that the Bowery has just been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Kerri Culhane, an architectural historian and associate director of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council who wrote the report that led to the designation, calls the Bowery “the city’s oldest streetscape.” And despite a wave of gentrification — new restaurants, bars and hotels — vestiges of the block’s grimy, boozy past remain.

    Lobbying by the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and Bowery Alliance of Neighbors led to the designation, which is largely honorific.

    Preservationists are pressing the City Planning Commission to extend some of the zoning protections against obtrusive new buildings on the west side of the street to the east side as well.

    Luc Sante, who chronicled the area in “Low Life,” said: “It may not seem as though there is much left of the Bowery at this point. But once you start really looking, there is quite a bit left: the Bowery Mission, the former Y.M.C.A. across the street, where William Burroughs once lived, the extraordinary Fortress of Solitude at the corner of Spring Street, the ex-Bowery Savings Bank at Grand Street, and many humbler but still solid edifices that once contained flophouses and saloons and employment agencies, many of which are inhabited by artists who restored them back when such things were affordable to common humans.”

    Martin Scorsese, the film director and a child of the Bowery, wrote to the Planning Commission last month that the gritty neighborhood and its residents “became clear catalysts for turning me into a storyteller,” a role he parlayed in “Mean Streets” and “Gangs of New York,” and warned against overdevelopment. “The high-rise apartment buildings and condos only create more chaos, more disruption and ultimately offer the Bowery up to the elements of conformity,” he wrote.

    About a dozen sites on the Bowery are already protected New York City landmarks, including the three-story red-brick John Mooney House at No. 18, built for a butcher around 1785 and believed to be the oldest existing brick row house in the city, and the Bowery Savings Bank, designed by Stanford White, at No. 130.

    The National Register designation, granted in February by the National Park Service, is accompanied by Ms. Culhane’s comprehensive report on the Bowery’s cultural and social history and architectural imprint.

    “A palimpsest of New York City history,” the report calls the Bowery (the name is a variant of Dutch for farms).

    “Disjointed beauty,” is how Anthony M. Tung, a preservationist, described the juxtaposition of buildings like the restored Bowery Mission and the sleek New Museum on a street where vagrants once paid 15 cents for an overnight bunk and where hotel rooms can start at $500 and an apartment sold last August (at No. 259) for almost $5 million.

    “What infinite use Dante would have made of the Bowery!” Theodore Roosevelt declared in 1913.

    The register includes No. 40-42, a Federal-style row house dating to 1807, acquired in 1822 by Henry Astor, the real estate investor and brother of John Jacob Astor. This is where the Five Points Riot on July 4, 1857, pitted the Irish immigrant Dead Rabbits against the nativist Bowery Boys. Festooned with signage, No. 40-42 now houses a Chinese restaurant and a beauty salon.

    Two dormers and the pitched roof suggest its original silhouette.

    No. 46-48, where the Jing Fong restaurant now operates, was once the Bull’s Head Tavern, where George Washington paused on his triumphant return to the city in 1783. No. 101 was home to Worth’s Museum of Living Curiosities (including a giant squid) and No. 114 was once Steve Brodie’s saloon (he claimed to have jumped from the Brooklyn Bridge and survived).

    The four-story No. 146-148 (now the Sohotel) at Broome Street is described as the oldest hotel in New York still operating. It opened as early as 1805 and was also home to the Tammany Hall boss Big Tim Sullivan. At 193 Bowery was Military Hall, where the Metropolitan Police were organized in the 1840s, the Elks convened in 1868 and Emma Goldman orated in the 1890s.

    Beyond physical sites, the historic Bowery survives in popular culture, including phrases believed to have originated there like “kick the bucket,” “going on a bender” and “so long.”

    “Long after the phrase ‘Bowery bum’ has disappeared from common memory,” Mr. Sante said, “there will remain at least the secondary impact of Stephen Foster and P. T. Barnum and Raoul Walsh, the idea of the dime museum, Weegee’s photos of Sammy’s Bowery Follies, the phrase ‘do a Brodie,’ Amateur Night, the notion of Shakespeare as popular entertainment, not to mention the highly ambiguous legacy of the minstrel show.

    “These things are as important to the American project as any Colonial Williamsburg or Beacon Hill — probably more so, over all,” he said. “The Bowery is the ancestral home of American popular culture, which for 150 years, give or take, has been the country’s most successful and remunerative export.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/n...p-through.html

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    Land rush: Competition for sites on the Bowery reaches fever pitch

    There are no bargains left on the once-seedy strip


    by Katherine Clarke
    August 22, 2014

    The days of bargain real estate on the Bowery are over.

    Competition between investors for scarce opportunities continues to send prices for new and redevelopment sites through the roof.

    “The bargains on the Bowery are as far gone as the gangs of New York — no one’s using the b-word anymore,” said broker Jason Haber of Warburg Realty.

    “It’s gone from hot to white hot in 60 seconds,” Haber said, exaggerating the timeline only slightly.

    But some neighborhood residents wish the market would cool. One group is even campaigning to have the east side of the entire Bowery rezoned so that developers or existing building owners can’t cash in and, they say, irreparably harm the character of a neighborhood once defined by bums but increasingly marked by luxury residential development.

    “The real estate speculation . . . is escalating the displacement of almost everything but luxury housing, bars and upscale restaurants,” said David Mulkins of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, a preservationist group. “It’s really sad. It’s turning the Bowery into another West Broadway.”

    Developers are willing to pony up the cash because they believe that the Bowery can command — wait for it — Park Ave. and Central Park West prices.


    A developer paid $30 million for 223-225 Bowery, formerly home to a Salvation Army shelter

    Bowery Hotel co-owner Jerry Rosengarten, an early believer in the Bowery, even thinks he can sell a penthouse at the trendy hotel, with a private roof terrace, for a record-breaking $50 million, for instance.

    Rosengarten is eager to see his early bet on the neighborhood pay off. He leased the land for the hotel, a former gas station at E. Third St., in 2005, when big-name developers wouldn’t give the Bowery a second thought.

    “I blew my chance at the Meatpacking District. By the time I wanted to get involved, it was just too expensive,” Rosengarten said. “I felt this was the next Meatpacking District.”


    PropertyShark Photographer Jay Maisel is currently entertaining more than six offers on 190 Bowery

    He was right, and now other developers have missed their chance to buy low on the Bowery.

    “There’s a lot of money chasing very few deals,” said one top commercial broker. “For every good deal, there are at least five people who want to sit down at the table.”

    Make that six. Sources say photographer Jay Maisel is currently juggling a half-dozen offers for his corner building at 190 Bowery — the one he paid just $100,000 for 40 years ago in what remains the greatest real estate coup since the Dutch gave $24 in glass beads and other trinkets to the Indians for Manhattan island.


    Joe Marino/for New York Daily News A condo at 250 Bowery sold well, fueling developers' big expectations

    It’s likely that Maisel will sell for more than $50 million.

    Developers’ optimism follows the success of a recently sold-out condo project at 250 Bowery, where prices ranged from $925,000 to $6 million.

    “When we did 250 Bowery . . . with those prices, people laughed at us — pretty loudly, actually,” said broker John Gomes of Douglas Elliman, who marketed the apartments. They said, ‘We know the Bowery . . . as a crack den, but are you guys smoking crack, too?’ Now, everyone wants to be here.”

    Other recent deals along the strip include the $30 million sale of 223-225 Bowery, formerly home to a Salvation Army shelter — a building so ugly and run down that it resembles what a Salvation Army building would look like if it moved into a Salvation Army building. It will be transformed into a new Ace Hotel with condos on top.

    And a developer paid $19 million for a condo site at 347 Bowery at E. Third St.

    The land rush extends beyond the Bowery. Fledgling development firm Sumaida + Khurana recently purchased a tear-down property at Kenmare and Elizabeth Sts. for $21 million.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/life-styl...icle-1.1912617

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