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

7th-precinct
The LES Dwellers Call for Dissolution of 7th Precinct Community Council

The flashpoint local block association, LES Dwellers, are again at the forefront of controversy. This time, ire is directed toward the 7th Precinct Community Council for purported lack of transparency. The proverbial straw that broke the Hell Square back was cancellation of the scheduled public session at the last community affairs meeting on Wednesday. From the mailbag: […]

rivington-wall-mural
‘Rivington Wall’ Mural Programming Christened by the Bowery

The wallspace beside the On Stellar Rays gallery is officially its own exhibition space. What began with a mural by RETNA one year ago is now a fully-fledged project with a revolving door of art programming. It’s called the “Rivington Wall,” courtesy of Parasol Projects. Artwork is scheduled to change every four to six weeks. […]

Penny Arcade
You Must See Penny Arcade’s ‘Longing Lasts Longer’

I’m just going to jump right into it. You have to go see Penny Arcade’s LONGING LASTS LONGER at Joe’s Pub. I went this past Monday night, and I really want to share it with all of you awesome people because I know that you would have as much fun as I did. Plus, considering […]

Photo: @JeffKurzon
London Kaye Brings RHCP’s Flea to The Lower East Side

There’s another yarn bomber rocking the Lower East Side. Part Olek, part HOTTEA, fellow New Yorker London Kaye is adorning the outdoor surfaces of the city with her clever crocheting. One of her more recent pieces depicts a cartoonish Michael Peter Balzary, or, as most of the world knows him – Flea. That’s right, the Red Hot Chili […]

Photo: Kevin Gannon
Looking Back at a Decade of Demolition on Upper Orchard Street [PHOTOS]

It was a slow death, but Ben “Sledgehammer” Shaoul finally cleared out the small businesses operating at the corner of Orchard and East Houston. A parcel for which he paid $75 million. Now, with the wrecking ball mid-swing, and ten floors of condos (plus an Equinox gym) in tow, we got to reminiscing. Yes. It’s […]

  • ctownnyc

    This is a great find!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anastasia-Beaverhausen/1448100720 Anastasia Beaverhausen

    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