See the Old Bowery in this 1949 Manhattan Tourist Video [VIDEO]

Posted on: January 8th, 2013 at 9:23 am by

vintage-bowery-1

Usually when reading about the Bowery of the mid-20th century, its personage is viewed in static black-and-white contrast. But thanks to YouTube, we have a colorful video view of the thoroughfare, circa 1949.

Mighty Manhattan, New York’s Wonder City is a two-reel video travel guide (nay, propaganda) of yore first released in 1949. According to IMDB, the same production crew (i.e. James Fitzpatrick) that spearheaded the Traveltalks series was also behind this one. And it’s quite awesome. The narrator takes viewers through the old city with a patriotic soundtrack of strings – we see moving pictures of downtown before the Twin Towers, the crazy spire of the Empire State, Chelsea Piers, and the East River spans.

vintage-bowery-2

Of most significant note for us, however, is discussion of the Bowery (3:38). Our narrator introduces the Bowery (he pronounces “Bar-ree”) as the Third Avenue El races across the screen. The thoroughfare is described thusly:

Today it is a sad reflection on the best laid plans of the city founders, for in this fantastic maze of light and shadow, weary men are passing. Unfortunate outcasts of society, spending their final days in the dreary habitats of the old Bowery, which has degenerated into one of Manhattan’s poorest districts.

Chinatown also receives a quick nod. Check it, you won’t be disappointed.

Recent Stories

classic-coffee-closed-1
LES Stalwart ‘Classic Coffee Shop’ Temporarily Closes for Renovations

Well, this certainly isn’t the best way to start the day. The Classic Coffee Shop on Hester Street, the authentic luncheonette mainstay in the neighborhood for decades, is currently closed for renovations. Temporarily, though. This, according to a computer printout pasted to the shuttered gate. Despite the unease – these renovation notices are oftentimes a […]

bowery-graffiti-wall-scraped
Bowery Graffiti Wall Whitewashed for Logan Hicks Artwork Next Week

The Bowery Graffiti Wall is primed for its next act. Out came the whitewashers this week, painting over the remains of Futura’s ten-month-old mural. The one-story enclosure – the original concrete slab still sits intact with Os Gemeos art – is now a blank canvas for stencil artist Logan Hicks. There is also a portable […]

Rendering of potential use
City Seeks Proposals to Convert Allen Mall Bathhouse into Food Stand

Now’s your chance to convert an old Lower East Side shithouse into a food stand. That’s right; the city officially began its Request for Proposals (“RFP”) process last week in order to redevelop the relic bathhouse situated in the Allen Street Mall. The decades-old structure – constructed in the 1930s as a bathroom for riders […]

peace-pentagon-boxed
Noho’s ‘Peace Pentagon’ Boxed up, Ready for Demolition

Noho’s activist spirit is dead. Gone by way of luxury. The Peace Pentagon is about to follow. Demolition is nigh. Its longtime sidewalk bridge, a mainstay for several years, was deposed this week, yet quickly replaced. The borderline-unstable property is being boxed up in plywood as we speak. As previously reported, the A.J. Muste Institute […]

Bargain District, August 2010
As Development Heats Up, Landmarked Lower East Side Historic District Isn’t Any Closer to Happening

With the city’s so-called “backlog” initiative firmly in the rearview, it’s time to refocus. You’ll recall that several local grassroots preservationists continue the battle to protect an historically-significant swath of Lower East Side territory. Led by the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative and Friends of the Lower East Side, the consortium of area groups is pushing […]

  • ctownnyc

    This is a great find!

  • Amazing how large the trees are now behind Trinity church. This is such a great nostalgic watch. Excellent!

  • xomars

    so good.

  • Sammy

    This is great!

  • LOVELYLES

    beautiful footage nice work