Posts Tagged ‘Chinatown oldest house’

Is this really New York’s oldest row house?

January 16, 2013

EdwardmooneyhouseNext time you’re in Chinatown, stop at the corner of Bowery and Pell Street.

The three-story house painted fire-engine red, the one with the name of a bank in Chinese and English letters on the front? It’s considered the oldest row house in the city.

It was built by Edward Mooney between 1785 and 1789. Mooney was a wealthy meat wholesaler who bought the land after it was seized from British loyalist James Delancey.

How old are we talking here? Well, in 1789, George Washington was sworn in as president.

BarneyflynnsbowerybarMooney lived there until his death in 1800. Since then, it’s housed a variety of businesses, including Barney Flynn’s, a late 19th century saloon frequented by Bowery character Chuck Connors (in NYPL sketch).

And like so many of the city’s super old homes, it also served as a brothel, according to

The early Federal-style house still has lots of interesting details, such as the gabled roof, quarter-round windows, and original hand-hewn wood timbers.

“It is a unique example of the domestic architecture which flourished in Manhattan two centuries ago,” reports this 1966 document.

[Top photo: Wikipedia. Bottom illustration: NYPL digital collection]