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

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


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

Suspected rapist Paul Niles
East River Park Rape Suspect Identified as Paul Niles, Police Still in Pursuit

Police identified the suspect behind the rape of a 26-year-old woman in East River Park Wednesday evening. 28-year-old Paul Niles, described as being a 5’9″ male weighing 200 pounds, remains at large with NYPD still in pursuit. His purported usage of the victim’s credit card at a nearby bodega after the crime is likely what […]

NYPD Releases Surveillance Footage of East River Park Rapist

Cops last night released surveillance footage of the man suspected of raping a 26-year-old woman in East River Park Wednesday evening. The account of the crime is as follows, per the NYPD: The victim was jogging in East River Park, in the vicinity of Cherry Street when the suspect, on a bicycle, approached her and motioned […]

Photo: ABC News
26-Year-Old Jogger Raped in East River Park Last Night, Police Searching for Suspect

  Police are currently scouring the neighborhood for the man responsible for a rape in East River Park last night. On the eve of Thanksgiving. According to ABC News, a 26-year-old was jogging the foot-bridge to the park by Jackson Street at around 7:30 when the perp approached and attacked. The victim tried to run […]

When Love is Found in the Halls of Community Board 3

​They found love in a hopeless place. Community Board 3, that is. The Villager reports this week that former member Carlina Rivera, Legislative Director for Rosie Mendez and sitting member James Rogers, owner of LES vet Pushcart Coffee, just got hitched. Apparently the couple honeymooned in Turks and Caicos. In the weekly roundup, Scoopy also […]

LES Holiday Pop-Up Shop on Grand Street will Feature Local Artists and Designers

The holidays are here! Yes, already. Anyway, to kick off the season of festivities, LES Pop-Up is bringing an “LES Holiday Pop-Up Shop” to the neighborhood. Its niche lies in products created and designed by local artists and designers; the intention is to serve and support the community while sustaining artists and creative folk in the immediate area. Additionally, said […]