The Bowery is one of Manhattan’s oldest and most notorious thoroughfares. Entire books have been written about it, but for quick look back, click through for 21 historic photos, and some facts below:

  • The Bowery once stretched from Canal to Union Square. (PDF)
  • On November 25th, 1783, Washington celebrated the British evacuation of NYC at Bull’s Head Tavern at 46-48 Bowery.
  • In the 1800s, gangs like the Bowery B’hoys and Dead Rabbits were headquartered on the Bowery. And in the early 1900s, Paul Kelly’s Five Point Gang was operating out of 338 Bowery.
  • In the 1890s, there were a dozen gay bars in the Bowery area. "Gay subculture was more highly visible there and more integrated into working-class male culture than it was to become in the following generations," according to author George Chauncey.
  • McGurk’s Suicide Hall (which was open from 1895 through1902) was located at 295 Bowery, and "became the suicide den of choice for Bowery prostitutes down on their luck."
  • The 3rd Avenue El ran above Bowery from 1878 to 1955—In 1919 Century magazine wrote: "It is filled with employment agencies, cheap clothing and knickknack stores, cheap moving-picture shows, cheap lodging-houses, cheap eating-houses, cheap saloons. Here, too, by the thousands come sailors on shore leave—notice the 'studios' of the tattoo artists—and here most in evidence are the 'down and outs.'"