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

Photo: Washington Square Park Blog
Report: 300 Pigeons Abducted from Washington Square Park for ‘Live Shoots’

If you’ve noticed a lack of pigeons in and around Washington Square Park, you’re eyes haven’t deceived you. This past Tuesday, a mass pigeon abduction reportedly took place, and in broad daylight (approximately 3pm). This kind of thing has happened on and off over the last ten years; the end game is usually that they’re sold in Pennsylvania […]

tiny-empire-lafayette
Tiny Empire Opening NYC Juice Bar on Lafayette Street August 10

Organic juice bars are spreading around the city unchecked like a plague, seizing that title from the frozen yogurt industry. The eastern border of SoHo will soon add another. Brooklyn-based juicery Tiny Empire is getting larger, expanding to 234 Lafayette Street (corner of Spring). It’s already carved out a chunk of the storefront previously occupied […]

moscow57-delancey
Barramundi Owner Joins Moscow 57 Team to Create Kapowski’s

Now that Barramundi (and 2nd Floor on Clinton) is swimming with the fishes, so to speak, proprietor Tony Powe is on the move. Literally three blocks south to the corner of Delancey Street, joining focres with two-year-old cabaret Moscow 57. Florence Fabricant filed a dispatch in the New York Times this week breaking the news. […]

orchard-tree-guard-1
New Tree Guards Installed Along the Length of Orchard Street

More beautification for Orchard Street this week. Flatbed trucks were spotted delivering iron tree guards to the sidewalks of Orchard Street this week. Installation began on the northern terminus and is slowly headed southward. The ornate guards now act as deterrent to tree-bound bike locks and dog droppings. The landscape revitalization goes hand-in-hand with overall […]

Gotham Court, Essex St. facade
8-Hour Rager Underscores Frat Scourge of Gotham Court in Hell Square

The inmates have taken control and the babysitter Nurse Ratched is nowhere to be found. The drunken frat compound that is Gotham Court certainly lived up to its reputation over the weekend. We’re hearing from folks in the vicinity that an apartment at 151 Essex Street held “one of the biggest deck parties of the […]