1.6 out of 10

Bowery, Chinatown

40.7154152922259 -73.9965634715278
Great for
  • Cost of Living
Not great for
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Nightlife
  • Parks & Recreation
Who lives here?
  • Students


1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5

"Used to be a slum: still looks like one"

The Bowery starts its run through Chinatown at Hester street and it's a really dingey start. I'm not really a fan of Chinatown so I guess I'm biased. But, man, this street is ugly. It's all tenement looking buildings which weird storefronts and it still kind of looks like a ghetto around here. There are about ten diamond stores on the starting block of Bowery's run through the neighborhood and they even actually manage to make the Diamond District look classy. It's bizarre. I can't imagine buying a diamond here. . . especially considering the stores all share a block with one of the cheaper places to stay in Manhattan (read: scuzzy with probably drug addicts as neighbors).
The block after Canal is slightly more appealing in that it has a couple of pretty landmarks right on the corner. There's an old bank with an interesting dome structure that is one of the more familiar Chinatown sights. And, there's a gorgeous arch kind of thing across the street that serves as the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge. It was built by the same people that built the Library and it has the same kind of grandeur. It's just a shame that it happens to be located right here. There used to be a bunch of really popular bars on this block back in the really olden days. One of George Washington's favorite taverns was right where there is now a creepy looking apartment building. After it was a tavern, it was the city's first gaslit theatre . . . now it's a project looking building which I think is such a shame. This particular block was also the site of the Bowery Boys Headquarters. This area was one of the biggest slums in New York in the mid 19th century. The Bowery Boys was an anti-immigrant gang and they were attacked here by an Irish slum gang called the Dead Rabbits which caused a fight that lasted for two days. If this sounds familiar it's because this was the inspiration for the film Gangs of New York which I kind of liked because I'm a history nerd. This area, apparently, hasn't progressed all that much in the last 150 years because it's still ugly and slummy looking.
There were bars all over this street because it was that kind of rag tag area. And, there are few signs around here that before that, the area was quite nice. There is, however, one remaining townhouse on Bowery, and it's actually the oldest townhouse still standing in Manhattan. It was built in the late 18th century, and despite its loveliness, only remained a civilized person's address for a couple of decades. By the 1830's, it was a brothel, and then it was the headquarters for one of the biggest Chinatown crime groups of the 20th century. It's a beautiful building, though, so it's cool to look at.
In case I didn't make my point, this is an ugly street that I wouldn't ever want to live on. There's something about it that feels unsafe to me . . like it's still a ghetto even though I know it's not. Plus, there's no neighborhood feel so I guess the only bonus is cheap rent.
  • Cheap rent
  • Ugly
  • No energy
Recommended for
  • Students

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