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206 Bowery

About this listing

The last surviving Federal-style row house on Bowery

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Bowery
Residential, Historic Site & Museum

Place Matters Profile

The Bowery, one of New York City’s oldest thoroughfares, extends north from Chatham Square in Chinatown to Cooper Square at the nexus of the East Village, NoHo and Greenwich Village. It has housed a vast cross-section of cultural and religious groups, and has supported both high and low culture, as well as every entertaining manifestation in between. The corridor roughly corresponds to a Native American trail that was used by the Munsee and the Algonquin-speaking Lenape before European colonists settled the area in 1625. Ever since the Dutch began building bouwerijs (diversified farms) in New Amsterdam, the Bowery has hosted almost every architectural style and typology that can withstand a temperate climate. Unfortunately, whether monumental or vernacular, over the past several decades, many of the Bowery’s historic structures have been demolished, and much of the street’s historic character has been irrevocably replaced with insensitive modern development.

206 Bowery is one...

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Nominations

Ralph Lewis

206 Bowery is unique for its ability to survive change and stand tall in its smallness. It is the last Federal Row House on the Bowery. It stands for House and Home in a world that's long forgotten in the shadows of lifeless cement and progress.

It is the smallest building on the Bowery and perhaps the oldest. In a time and place where size is king, this humble building stands in great contrast to the encrouching giants, proving that things big in spirit can come in tiny packages. The value of intimacy and humble appearance is religous and sacred where this building stands for all Goliath's Davids.

This is not only the last Federal Row House style building left in this storied area, it is one of the few remaining in all of downtown Manhattan. This building is one of the very last reminders that here once stood a neighborhood.

The Bowery is one of the fastest changing neighborhoods in the City. Perhaps because of its storied history, very little attention is being paid to the whitewash currently taking place. It's bound to be the next place in the City where after the fact, folks will look up and say, "What did we let happen here?"



Sally Young

206 and 208 Bowery probably date back to the late 1790's to the early 1800s. This whole west side of Bowery was primarily butchers that had stalls at Fly Market. There was a cattle market at Canal and Bowery then, and the butchers who worked there had homes on Bowery.

208 is as old as 206. Usually a pair of houses has the same owners, and one might have been altered while the other hasn’t. Many of our three story Bowery buildings were originally 2-1/2 story peaked, or double-peaked (gambrel). 206 has its original dormer windows and peak roof in place. 208 had its roof raised, a trend in the 1800s. There are many pairings of these buildings on the Bowery-look at 134/136, 140/142, 133/135, and 206/208. Many of the early houses are wood frame beneath many alterations-most recently fireproofing for the Lower-Manhattan Expressway. It didn't happen, but the required fireproofing did. It's amazing any of the houses survived, as throughout the 1900's, hundreds of these dormered roof buildings were demolished-usually the ones on corners that became gas stations or vacant lots in the 1930s-1950s. More went down in the 1980s, 90s, and in the 2000s.

206 is one of the oldest buildings on Bowery. It holds history of 200 years or more. It should be preserved, its history is vibrant. Our whole Bowery would change if these buildings were gone. We've lost too many already. I've been walking the Bowery for my 30 years as a Manhattan, Lower East Side, Bowery resident. these buildings are the JOY of my neighborhood, the pride of living among history, the reason that prompted me to study their history. When I first met the Bowery as a resident, coming from Tribeca, in 1981--no heat or hot water, wood burning stove--I was here for survival. I later went to alphabet land and back to the Bowery by 1990. It has been my most loved home. (March 2010)


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