The Skids? Not Hardly
Written by Marc Santora
Published March 18, 2011
New York Times
BEFORE the Bowery bums and urban blight, before the restaurant-equipment dealers flooded the sidewalks, before lighting stores illuminated storefront windows and before the area became known as a haven for punk rock, one of New York’s oldest thoroughfares fell into the cross hairs of real estate speculators. They helped transform it into one of the city’s ritziest addresses.
A century later, the speculators are back, and over the past few years the Bowery has undergone another transformation, one that in some ways recalls its heyday even as it risks erasing the markers of its past.
Where flophouses and derelict buildings once stood, luxury condominiums with prices of more than $2,000 per square foot are popping up. Empty lots, gas stations and family businesses have been swept away. Fancy hotels now charge upward of $400 a night for the privilege of crashing on the same Bowery where $4.50 bought a bed for the down and out. Luxury rental apartments — where one-bedrooms start around $4,000 a month — have replaced John McGurk’s long closed but not forgotten watering hole.
“Historically, what happens in New York City has almost always been reflected on the Bowery,” said Eric Ferrara, the director of the Lower East Side History Project and the author of “The Bowery: A History of Grit, Graft and Grandeur.”
“So in this age of high-rise condos and hotels, gourmet cupcakes and chichi boutiques, it is not surprising that the Bowery would be vulnerable to gentrification.”FULL ARTICLE: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/realestate/20cover-the-bowery.html