Manhattan has embraced Robert Moses's concept of "Architecture of Obsolescence" as the city is in constant transformation, recreating itself based on countless variables. Urban investment and disinvestment is as well true for the Bowery (though perhaps changing at a slower rate), once site of the first New York tattoo parlor, cheap whiskey bars, over 100 lodging houses, and the elevated Third Avenue Line, the Bowery will soon house a 700 apartment unit complex of which 525 will be luxury apartments, the New Museum's new building and countless boutiques and specialty stores, such as Satellite Records. However, in the midst of this advance are relics of the skid row Bowery, the Sunshine Hotel remains as one of the last flop house hotels, its residents protected by renter's rights. And nonprofit outreach groups such as the Bowery Mission and Common Ground are fighting to ensure that a space remains for marginalized individuals.
Below are links to archived articles concerning the transformation of the Bowery:
Bowery Blues, New Internationalist Issue 178 - December 1987
Diners at Buster's Waterfront Crab-house in New York's Bowery district find it disturbing to dig into their $30 lobster dinner while watching a derelict rummage around on the sidewalk outside. So disturbing in fact that restaurant owner Sharon Ash launched a campaign to rid her neighborhood of the homeless vagrants who hang out on the block and intimidate her customers. archived copy
The Bowery Is Gentrifying, source lost, only archive available
And as the six-lane, median-stripped, 19-block-long roadway that once meandered past Peter Stuyvesant's 17th-century farmhouse faces another of its transformations, a host of tensions and juxtapositions have come vividly into play... There is the squeeze between low-income and luxury housing with its corollary clash of social class.
Bye Bye Bowery, by Jess Wisloski
Village Voice, January 8-14, 2003
The historical Bowery skid row will get a major face-lift as the development of the long-planned Cooper Square Urban Renewal area finally commences in January... The $250 million project, which extends from 2nd Street to Stanton Street, and from Second Avenue to the Bowery, is Manhattan's largest city-owned urban renewal site to date... Rising in what is still one of Manhattan's poorest areas will be 525 units of luxury... archived copy
Fair-Housing Groups Say New York City Is Falling Behind, by David W. Chen
NY Times, June 14, 2004
For decades, New York City was considered a pioneer in the fight for fair housing. It passed the country's first law forbidding discrimination in private housing in 1958... In the last few years, however, many housing advocates say that this commitment has flagged, and there is substantial evidence that the city remains one of the most segregated places to live in the nation. archived copy
Links to Bowery Institutions
The Bowery Mission: Rebuilding Lives Since 1879
"Three times a day, the Mission swings open its doors to offer meals, shelter, showers and clothing to desperate people living on the street. Homeless men are then challenged to enter a six-to-nine month residential program to experience the beginning of permanent change..."
"A non-profit housing and community development organization whose mission is to solve homelessness...."
The NEW NEW MUSEUM
" The New Museum is New York's only museum devoted exclusively to contemporary art. As an international art capital, the City is long overdue for the truly world class contemporary art museum we will become when we open our new, 60,000 square foot home on the Bowery in 2006."
More Bowery Histories and Creative Projects
Sound Portrait: The Sunshine Hotel
"This is an audio portrait of one of the final vestiges of the Bowery, New York's notorious skid row...
For several months in 1998, David Isay and Stacy Abramson had unprecedented 24-hour access to the Sunshine Hotel, one of the last of the no-frills establishments."
One Block Radius
"A project of Brooklyn artist Christina Ray and Dave Mandl (Glowlab), is an extensive psychogeographic survey of the block where New York's New Museum of Contemporary Art will build a new facility in late 2004. Engagine a variety of tools and media such as blogs, video documentation, maps, field recordings and interviews, Glowlab creates a multi-layered portrait of the block..."
Big Onion Walking Tours
Take an informative walking tour of the Bowery with one of the Big Onion guides. The Bowery is just one location of such walking tours that happen throughout New York City
Here is an archived brief history on the cultural history of the Bowery, I believe that I copied this from the Big Onion site, but can no longer find the source. Cultural History of the Bowery
Off Line Bowery Histories and Pojects
Slumming It: Myth and Culture on the Bowery
Directed by Scott Elliott, produced by Mixed Greens, 2002, 55 min. The documentary "evokes the rich, 200-year history of the creative ways in which working-class immigrants shaped New York City's evolution as an archetypal modern-day metropolis. Artfully interwoven srchival images and contemporary interviews bring to life the characters, locations and stories that have formed the extraordinary fabric of this influential and infamous boulevard."
The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems (1974-75)
Martha Rosler offers black-and-white photographs of Manhattan's notorious skid row paired with word lists. At times reminiscent of concrete poetry, the lists Rosler assembles consist of colorful words and phrases which might be applied to the Bowery's denizens (e.g., "muddled, fuddled, flustered, lushy, sottish, maudlin").