Arts Watch: The New Old Bowery at the New Museum

Martin Wong: Photocollage, 7 x 11 in, Courtesy Fales Collection. Photo by Tim Schreier.

On a recent trip to the New Museum to see its Come Closer: Art Around the Bowery, 1969-1989 exhibition, I was reminded of the Bowery of my youth. There were certainly no art museums dotting its landscape (or star-chef restaurants or luxury boutique hotels for that matter), but there was plenty of art. Only I didn’t know it. What I do remember is how run down it seemed—tired looking buildings, garbage strewn about, off-putting restaurant supply stores (a few of which are still holding on) and, except for a few “colorful” characters who were hanging around the flop houses, empty streets. It all seemed so desolate. Of course, these images came from inside the safety of my mom’s car, as we drove on the Bowery on our way to or from Chinatown or someplace else. Little did I know that inside those buildings I was staring at was a different story completely-–a thriving and lively artist community.

Lower East Side Lens: The Bowery – June 2, 2011

June 2, 2011. The Bowery.

This week, we continue our ongoing series of street photographs from A. Jesse Jiryu Davis.

Preservationists Make Their Case to Owner of 35 Cooper Square

35 Cooper Square: Preservation fight heads to CB3.

An update on the fight to save 35 Cooper Square, the 1827 row house threatened with demolition. Community groups and local elected officials finally got a sit-down meeting yesterday with Arun Bhatia, the building’s owner. While reporters were not allowed to participate, several attendees have shared their impressions of the one-hour session with DNA Info, EV Grieve and the EV Local.

The bottom line: Bhatia listened to the pleas from preservationists but did not disclose his plans for the building and gave no indication whether any of the arguments swayed him one way or the other.

David Mulkins Returns To Tenement Talks With Presentation on The Bowery

The Old Bowery - Image via Bowery Alliance of Neighbors

Historian and Co-Chair of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, David Mulkins, will return to Tenement Talks tonight with his popular presentation, “The Bowery: Past, Present and Future.”  Mulkins has collected an amazing series of historical images of this iconic and turbulent street. If you missed it last fall, (the event was packed beyond capacity) make sure to catch his talk tonight.  It’s especially relevant right now with the ongoing discussions around gentrifying the Bowery and the fight to save 35 Cooper Square.  FREE // 6:30pm // 108 Orchard St.

Wanted – L.E.S. Residents For Local Film Project

Italian artist Marienella Senatore and the visionaries behind the organization, No Longer Empty are teaming up for an exciting public art project, titled “About Face.” The project will be part of the New Museum’s large scale “Festival of New Ideas,” happening this spring. Senatore, an internationally acclaimed artist, will be working with Lower East Side residents to shoot a group film project that will be created in a unique location on the Bowery and will be featured in the festival. 

“Bowery History: A Celebration” at Dixon Place

Bowery Stereocard circa 1901 via The Bowery Alliance

The Bowery Alliance of Neighbors and Two Bridges Neighborhood Council will host “Bowery History: A Celebration” – an evening of cocktails, music, performance, film and speakers – This Tuesday at Dixon Place. The evening will be hosted by Kent Barwick, former Landmarks Preservation Commissioner, and will feature performances by Poor Baby Bree, chanteuse, and Bob Holman, poet Bowery Poetry Club; and speakers Margaret Chin, City Council; Kerri Culhane, architectural historian; Peter Quinn,

Tenement Talks: Bowery – Past, Present and Future with David Mulkins

Bowery Photographs by Photographer Sally Young via

David Mulkins, co-founder and chair of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, will be at the Tenement Museum tomorrow evening for an “illustrated talk on the legendary street,” and a discussion titled: Bowery – Past, Present and Future. The Bowery Alliance was created three years ago to promote preservation of the historic character of the Bowery. 

Friday News Links

Despite the fact that the city faces a $5 billion loss in revenues and has decided to layoff 2-thousand employees, the City Council has not reduced pork barrel spending one cent. Next year's budget includes more than $48 million in "discretionary spending." Most of this money goes to worthy non-profits, but a lot of people see the "discretionary" pot as a political slush fund – and it's been plagued by scandal this year. LES Council Member Alan Gerson is not the worst offender. He's in the middle of the pack, with 30 discretionary items. This year's champion: Inez Dickens (149 items).  The Council votes on the budget this afternoon.

The city reports that major crimes (such as murder, rape and robbery) declined 9-percent in the public schools in the past year.

Council Speaker Christine Quinn (with Mayor Bloomberg's support), wants to relax certain city regulations to help ease the financial burden's on small businesses. The Daily News likes the idea. So does the Neighborhood Retail Alliance, but not surprisingly, they want to see more steps taken.

Curbed has new details about the hotel ("Stories_NY") going up at 163 Orchard, which may or may not be in compliance with the LES's new zoning rules. The hotel apparently includes a "lot-through outdoor terrace with a bar on the second floor."  Make you nervous?

Tomorrow at noon, at the Bowery Poetry Club, "The Bowery: Past, Present & Future." The presentation and discussion is a fundraiser ($6 minimum) for the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors.