Op-Ed: Taking Stock of the Surviving Federal-Style Row Houses on the Bowery

Posted on: March 27th, 2014 at 10:07 am by

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Rallying to save 35 Cooper Square, May 2011

The other lost preservation fight was the all-out effort to save 35 Cooper Square, a rare gambrel-roofed Federal row house built about 1826. This stretch of what is now called Cooper Square was then the Bowery and extended north to Union Square. It was one of four houses developed on land owned by Nicholas William Stuyvesant, great-grandson of Peter Stuyvesant. Over its long history it housed a porterhouse, liquor saloon, and bar. In the 1960s poet Diane DiPrima and LeRoi Jones produced several editions of their influential journal, The Floating Bear from here. Other former residents included Billy Name, Joel Grey, J. Forest Vey and Stan Sobossek. This historic house was demolished in May, 2011 and will be replaced by a mid-rise college dormitory.

As a preservationist, I believe that we are stewards of our built environment and that it is our obligation to future generations to preserve the best of the past as their rightful inheritance. With the pressures of gentrification and development on the Bowery more intense than ever before, now is our one and only chance to save these fragile surviving row houses before they are gone forever. You may learn more about efforts to save the historic Bowery by visiting the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors’ website.

-Written by Mitchell Grubler, a life-long preservationist and chair of the Landmarks Committee of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors. Architectural Historian, Kerri Culhane authored the Registration Form nominating The Bowery Historic District for listing on the State and National Register of Historic Places. That Registration Form served as a crucial resource for this article.

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