Place of the Month

206 Bowery

206 Bowery is one of the oldest, and last, Federal-style row houses on the Bowery. Although the Bowery Historic District -- which includes 206 as a contributing property-- was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2013, the building will remain vulnerable until the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) grants the property official landmark status.
 
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.
 
The building has been under LPC's consideration for years, but the issue came to a head in 2016 when Mayor Bill de Blasio signed Intro. 775. The law gives LPC one year to landmark or pass up "calendared" individual, scenic, or interior landmarks --those that are under review for landmarking. If the LPC does not take action on a calendared site, the law stipulates that it must be de-calendared.
 
206 Bowery is at risk of being removed from the list of sites considered for landmark designation if the Landmarks Preservation Commission does not act by the end of 2017.
The Bowery Alliance of Neighbors' (BAN) has advocated for 206 Bowery since its initial LPC hearing in 2010. BAN's landmarks committee chair, Mitchell Grubler, has coordinated much of the current effort, including significant outreach to City Council Member Chin, who has supported the landmarking since 2010. BAN vice president Michele Campo and historians Sally Young and Kerri Culhane have also been extremely helpful. Culhane authored the Bowery's National Register listing.
 
Through the kindness and expertise of Andrew Berman and the team at Greenwhich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), the issue of the endangered Federal style buildings at 206 Bowery (along with another Federal-style building at 22 East Broadway) picked up tremendous momentum, including an awesome letter-writing campaign. GVSHP has championed the cause of the Federals for years, and BAN president David Mulkins notes that "their support for these two buildings has been a godsend." 

If you's like to urge the LPC to move ahead with landmark designation and not let them fall off the landmarks calendar, click here.  
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206 Bowery