The Bowery has a rich, diverse, unique history and has always had an important role in the City of New York. Listed on the prestigious National Register of Historic Places, its history should be respected and the historical buildings that embody that history should be preserved.
Much of the Bowery is at the nexus of low-rise, low-density communities that are protected by zoning or landmark designation. The City has partially recognized this human-scale, historical character by including the west side of the Bowery in the Special Little Italy District and the NoHo Historic District. The East Village/Lower East Side Rezoning protects a portion of the area just east of the Bowery. However, the east side of the Bowery, itself, has been left out of all these protections. Consequently, the low-rise, affordable character of the Bowery is being destroyed by luxury housing, hotels and upscale commercial establishments, displacing small businesses–including the jewelry, lighting and restaurant supply districts–as well as its low- and middle-income residents and artists in live/work lofts. These residents should be protected from harassment and displacement. Preserving the historic context of the Bowery will help protect its residents, small businesses and affordable housing.
Given the Bowery’s importance as NYC’s oldest street, with architecture representing every decade since the 1790s, this street deserves to have its historic resources preserved and protected. In a 2013 letter to the City Planning Commission, NYC historian Mike Wallace [Gotham] wrote: “It would be a pity if the Bowery got bulldozed out of existence. The National Register designation suggests the country agrees, shouldn’t the city do the same?”