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

The Future Home of Essex Street Market Gets Glassed up

By this time next year, the Essex Street Market will be in its new home. Until then, we watch the progress at Site 2, where the future headquarters is taking shape. In fact, with the topping out last week, the whole development is now starting to resemble all the renderings. The three-story glass exterior lining […]

‘Winky Lux’ Offers its Millennial Makeup Options at New Ludlow Street Store

Hood by Air is gone with the wind, and Winky Lux took advantage. For the last year-and-change, Lower East Side-based street fashion collective Hood by Air counted 69 Ludlow Street as home. And in secret fashion, as is their usual motive. The ten-year-old brand secured the spot in February 2016, and for a brief moment, […]

Bowery Alliance of Neighbors Celebrates 10 Years of Local Activism

One of the most vocal local groups advocating for Bowery preservation celebrates an important milestone this month. The Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, whose signature fight is to save the namesake thoroughfare, now celebrates a decade in existence. Ten years of preservation and awareness. The group was founded in 2007, and later Proposed its East Bowery […]

Councilman Introduces Bill to Rename the Williamsburg Bridge After Sonny Rollins

For one Lower East Sider, the quest to rename the Williamsburg Bridge after Jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins just took a major step forward. City Council is now reviewing a bill that would make this happen. In response to this community led effort, Brooklyn Councilman Stephen Levin introduced the bill, which is also supported by Brooklyn […]

Clayton Patterson Revisits the Pyramid Club with ‘Portraits’ Exhibit

The Pyramid Club of yesteryear is revived, albeit temporarily. Indeed, prolific photographer and activist Clayton Patterson is showcasing his documentation of an era rife with struggling artists immersed in a culturally diverse neighborhood at its peak of creativity. His photos of the scene are often considered a pioneering record of the evolution of drag in […]

  • 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