Report: 50 Bowery Hotel Site Turns Up Artifacts and Possible Water Cistern

Posted on: April 17th, 2014 at 9:22 am by
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So it looks like preservationists do have a moment in the sun to fawn over 50 Bowery and its possible ties to the famed Bull’s Head Tavern of yore. But the exercise will most likely be short-lived. After all, the Bowery needs its hotel, and fast. Consultants from the Brooklyn-based Chrysalis Archaeology firm have been down at the project site the past few days excavating and collecting samples.  The research is happening in a trench at the southern wall, all while preliminary foundation work continues for the 22-story hotel designed by Peter Poon Architects.

We hear reports that the team has already discovered a bevy of bottles and plates dating back over 150 years.

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Furthermore, another source sent a dispatch saying that the backhoe uncovered a pile of oyster shells (oyster shell pits are a common find at 18th and 19th century tavern sites). We are told that hotel owner Alex Chu has possible designs to recover many of these artifacts to display once the eyesore of a lodge debuts.

There’s more, though. Have a look at the photo below. The round feature in the foreground certainly resembles a cistern. It probably had a dome top and was used to collect and store water. Generally this infrastructure doesn’t contain a plethora of artifacts from the period of their use because who’s going to throw trash (ie artifacts) in their water tank. So, what was found in this spot might actually date after the 1860s when the lot would have had city plumbing and the cistern made obsolete.

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But actually obtaining confirmation from anyone onsite is virtually impossible. The perimeter is sealed like Fort Knox…

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