Remnants of Bull’s Head Tavern Possibly Found at 50 Bowery Construction Site

Posted on: October 14th, 2013 at 5:08 am by

50-52-bowery-demolition

The demolition of 50 Bowery ahead of the glassy new replacement tower currently has preservationists in a tizzy. As previously disclosed, Peter Poon Architects already earmarked this parcel for the 20-story Hotel Bowery; advocates of history hope to protect its rich past, however futile their actions.

One concerned Boogie reader – historian and author David Freeland (Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville) – sent along the following communique over the weekend. It is believed that remnants of the famous colonial-era Bull’s Head Tavern were uncovered during the takedown. If proven true, this would be a most significant find, as this establishment was once George Washington’s headquarters and a major gathering spot in Revolutionary New York City.

Possible remnants of the historic tavern

Possible remnants of the historic tavern

Dear Colleagues,

I’m sharing an email below, from a source who wishes to stay anonymous, but who has worked his way inside the Atlantic Garden demolition site at 50 Bowery south of Canal, to document what is happening there. As many of you know, I wrote about the Atlantic Garden in my AUTOMATS book – it was the oldest entertainment site in Manhattan for which there was still a visible remnant, having opened in 1858. The AG was the most popular and enduring of all the German beer gardens on the Bowery, and the harboring place for many a cultural movement related to vaudeville and performance (“A Bicycle Built for Two,” for example, was first sung there).

In the Atlantic Garden chapter, I touched on the site’s pre-beer garden history, mentioning that the original building was believed to have been a renovation of the 18th-century Bull’s Head Tavern, once George Washington’s headquarters and a major gathering spot in Colonial Era New York. Yesterday, the source below got inside of the building (the wreckers have not yet gotten to the oldest front portion on the Bowery) and discovered the original Colonial Era cellar, with stone walls and wooden planks. This is a major find – not only as the oldest built structure remaining in Manhattan (c. 1750) and a glimpse into our Colonial and Revolutionary Era history, but as a prospective site for invaluable archeological research.

I am sending this to you, with urgency, hoping that some of you might know of a way to encourage the city to put the demolition on hold, long enough for a proper historical assessment to be made at the site. Apparently, someone at LPC has already been contacted, but at this point we’ll need as much help as we can get. Again, the demolition has not reached this portion of the structure yet, but there is not much time.

Boogie faithful, let’s help spread the word to save this site before another unneeded Bowery hotel rises. Scheduled completion date is still far off – sometime in 2015.

Recent Stories

Rev-Jen-eviction
Evil Misrahi Realty Evicts a Half-Naked Rev Jen (and Troll Museum) from 122 Orchard Street

Legendary Lower East Side performance artist Reverend Jen has been evicted from her Orchard Street home. This apartment also doubles as the location of the popular Troll Museum. No longer. Building owner, and all around reviled landlord, Misrahi Realty, wielded some muscle by pushing Rev Jen curbside this week. It was reported that she hadn’t paid rent […]

113 Stanton St., September 2014
After Years of Harassment, SMA Equities Pimps ‘Penthouse’ Offering at 113 Stanton for $8K

This is the epilogue of a well-tread story about how rent regulated tenants are exploited for the future value of gentry. Same old shit for the one and only Mr. Samy Mahfar. SMA Equities purchased 113 Stanton Street back in 2014, and spent the ensuing two years renovating the upstairs units and roof. All at […]

202bowery-restaurant-supply
Another Bowery Restaurant Supply Company Packs it in

Seven years after its arrival, the restaurant supply company at 202 Bowery is now gone. Amazing Value Restaurant Equipment, as the business is aptly entitled, fled the gold coast last week. We’re told that the operation relocated to Brooklyn. A leasing sign in the window points to Jan Sasson’s brokerage handling the store now. Word […]

247cherry-rendering-1
Behemoth on the Backside: Proposed Cherry Street Tower to Reach 1000 Feet

Extell tends to hog headlines when conversations arise about the changing skyline on the Lower East Side waterfront. Their market-rate tower – One Manhattan Square – will reach peak height of some 80 stories. But the real behemoth is on the backside, so to speak. The Cherry Street tower that will trounce the nearby senior […]

Enrique Cruz (L), Photo: Clayton Patterson
Tonight is the Vote for Gigi Li’s Replacement as CB3 Chair

Community Board 3 nominations have been in since late last month. The fifty members of the advisory body will pick their next leader – the Chairperson seat – at the full board meeting tonight. (The public has no say in the matter.) For the last several years, its been Gigi Li atop the heap. Stepping […]