Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Post 19: The origin of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors

As always, with the exception of public figures, I use altered names to protect the individuals in this history.

The other community excluded from the rezoning was the Bowery. Maria, the long-time resident and activist whom we've mentioned before, brought together residents of the Bowery neighborhood, some living on the Bowery itself and others living on the side streets leading to the Bowery. These included Melanie, Jill, Sybil and Daniel (I've altered the names). Concerned about the future of the street, Daniel asked Maria what he could do to protect the historical context of the Bowery from a historical preservationist perspective. As a theater teacher, he had a special fascination in the Bowery, which was New York's theater district throughout the 19th century before it became a skid row. Maria suggested that he catalogue the historic buildings on the Bowery, recommending that he contact me for assistance. Daniel did contact me, and so we arranged to walk down the Bowery, recording it much as I'd done with the "Contextual Heights of the East Village." This was how the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors began. 

Their focus was more on historical preservationism than housing, so I never joined, but I did a more comprehensive catalogue later on with their member Mason (I've altered the name), an important preservationist living on the Bowery in Chinatown. And a few years later, I curated and designed from scratch to finish a Bowery exhibit for BAN at the Wholefoods on the Bowery, the creation of which exhibit gave me great pleasure. I am grateful to BAN for giving me that opportunity. They are all wonderful people, dedicated to the history of the neighborhood, people with a sense of civic duty. 

Both CWG and BAN were both created in response to the 2008 EV/LES rezoning, and both groups are still highly active today. 

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