Posts Tagged ‘Bowery NYC’

How things looked one wet night on the Bowery

October 8, 2018

A shapely woman holding (posing?) with an umbrella in front of a brightly lit store window. A statue outside a cigar store.

Car lights up ahead, under the hulking steel tracks of the elevated train, making the Bowery appear darker and more ominous than usual.

And in the background beyond the cigar store are at least two men, forced by the rain and probably circumstance into the shadows of New York’s most blighted skid row at the time.

This is how John Sloan saw the Bowery one wet night in 1911.

A Bowery photographer’s freak show portraits

September 8, 2011

Between 1870 and 1890, bearded girls, dog-faced boys, giants, midgets, fat ladies, lobster-clawed men, and other human oddities sat for photographer Charles Eisenmann.

A German immigrant who opened a studio on the Bowery off Prince Street, Eisenmann focused “almost exclusively on the ‘freaks’ of the circuses, sideshows, and living museums of New York’s Bowery area,” states Syracuse University’s Ronald G. Becker Collection of Charles Eisenmann Photographs.

Eisenmann captured portraits of many of the human attractions exhibited by P.T. Barnum, whose hugely popular museum on Broadway and Ann Street spawned the dime museums near Eisenmann’s studio.

What was his attraction to freaks? As far as anyone knows, Eisenmann never said.

In a city crowded with portrait studios and the Bowery getting rougher, tackier, and more honky-tonk every year, perhaps it was simply a good way to make a living.