History

Redlining the LES: How Discriminatory Lending Policies Solidified Pre-Existing Inequalities

Last modified May 19, 2022 at 11:45 am

The following was written by Anna Sargeantson. All photos courtesy of Anna Sargeantson, except where otherwise noted. Home to dimly lit restaurants and bars frequented by NYU students and young professionals, the Lower East Side remains in many ways the epitome of New York City’s youthful heart. Under the surface, though, the neighborhood has historically […]

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Streets

Chinatown Garment Industry Hanging by a Thread

Posted May 17, 2022 at 5:08 am

Once a hub of manufacturing for the city’s garment industry, there are only a few remaining factories in Chinatown from a peak in the hundreds. The localized industry, which once employed thousands of immigrant women and men, sparked an area restaurant boom in the 1970s. Yet, began to decline in the late 1980s when manufacturers started […]

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Revisiting the Story of the Eastern Dispensary at 75 Essex Street

Posted May 13, 2022 at 5:01 am

The historic Eastern Dispensary Building at 75 Essex Street – home of Eisner Bros. – will soon undergo major redevelopment to add a ten-story protrusion to its rooftop. Fresh off this news, which broke earlier this month, we thought it appropriate to revisit a Bowery Boogie entry from nine years ago detailing the history of […]

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Lower East Side Lenin Gets Sunflowers in Support of Ukraine

Posted April 13, 2022 at 5:01 am

The Lenin statue atop a Lower East Side tenement continues to support Ukraine. With arm outstretched, the 13-foot bronze relief now holds a bouquet of sunflowers, presumably another message of support for Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion. It’s not the first time in recent weeks that Vladimir Lenin held flowers, either. That’s […]

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Revisiting the Tipi on the Manhattan Bridge ‘Hill’

Posted February 4, 2022 at 5:03 am

“The Hill.”  That was the nickname assigned to the triangular dump of wasteland at the Manhattan Bridge on-ramp back in the early nineties. What is now a public pocket-park called Forsyth Plaza. At the time, it was a squat shantytown of homeless folk. Gabriele Schafer and her husband were regulars on the Hill, and erected the Lakota-replica […]

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The Bizarre ‘Mumming’ History of Thanksgiving Masking

Posted November 24, 2021 at 5:04 am

What follows is a reworking of a post originally published on Bowery Boogie in 2014. There was once a time when Thanksgiving customs more resembled Halloween masquerading than traditional turkey and history lessons. That’s right. So get out your masks, people! Thanksgivoween is upon us. Two key words: masking and mumming. To surmise thousands of […]

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St. Marks Church in-the-Bowery Awarded Sacred Sites Grant of $35,000

Posted October 22, 2021 at 5:02 am

One of the oldest houses of worship in the city will receive some much needed financial aid for their ongoing restoration endeavours. The New York Landmarks Conservancy has awarded St. Marks Church in-the-Bowery $35,000 through their Sacred Sites grant, a designation that administers monies to historic religious properties throughout the state. The church on East […]

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Walking Jack Kirby’s Lower East Side

Posted August 26, 2021 at 5:02 am

Saturday marks the 104th birthday of the late-great comic book illustrator Jack Kirby. To make the occasion, the museum charged with carrying on the Kirby legacy is hosting a walking tour of his Lower East Side youth. Kirby himself was born Jacob Kurtzberg in 1917 at 147 Essex Street. He remains a comic book legend […]

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This Twitter Bot Maps Current NYC Locations of Long Gone Synagogues

Posted August 18, 2021 at 5:00 am

While the Lower East Side could be considered the geographic soul of American Judaism, there isn’t much to show for it these days. Nevertheless, much of those roots remain rather visible. Indeed, walking the neighborhood streets, it’s commonplace to see old synagogues repurposed in different ways. From multimillion-dollar condo conversions to upscale event halls. To […]

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Wesley Williams, the First Black Firefighter in NYC, Chatting with Great Grandson [INTERVIEW]

Last modified June 11, 2021 at 5:15 pm

Now more than ever, the story of Wesley Williams must be told. As the first African American firefighter to join the Fire Department, Williams defied the odds again and became Chief in 1919. His detail was Engine 55, which is still active at 363 Broome Street in Little Italy (where Steve Buscemi volunteered). He later […]

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