The noisy, gritty Bowery north of Grand Street

Imagine the constant, ear-splitting roar of the Third Avenue elevated trains, the grimy shadows cast by steel tracks, the sounds of horse hoofs, wagon wheels, and streetcars traveling up and down the street.


It’s the legendary turn-of-the-century Bowery, the seedy main drag memorialized in the refrain of the 1891 hit “The Bowery”:

“They say such things
And they do strange things
On the Bow’ry!
The Bow’ry!
I’ll never go there any more!”

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5 Responses to “The noisy, gritty Bowery north of Grand Street”

  1. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    Many years ago, on such a site on the Bowery, a drunken women on the ground in a doorway with some other bums passed out lying beside her said, “What you looking at kid, they’re too drunk to do anything? Have a feel,” and she winked and exposed her breasts to me… I was young and ran away. Ah the Bowery, what a Low-Life place that was…

  2. Chris Says:

    That perspective of the Bowery was a very popular postcard theme, repeated in endless variations. I put up an article about it a couple of years ago here:

  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Thanks Chris, fascinating comparisons and images on your page. Mick, you say low-life…I highly recommend Luc Sante’s Low Life as a terrific chronicle of the Bowery.

  4. Tom B Says:

    My first visit to the Bowery was a Gray Line tour 1978. The guide already warned us of what we will see. I couldn’t believe my eyes, people laying in the middle of the sidewalk. I thought they were dead. People just walked around them.

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