135 Bowery Replacement Shows Off Its Shiny New Brickwork

Posted on: August 26th, 2014 at 6:00 am by
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Herewith, an update on that new construction that replaced the Federal-style rowhouse at 135 Bowery. The property is three years in the making, with construction having kickstarted roughly eight months ago after a lengthy holding pattern.

Whatever might have remained of the original structure is no longer recognizable, if even there at all. Instead, we now have an eight-story commercial building designed by architect Raymond Chan, which will allegedly house the Chinese-based First American International Bank. The new 135 Bowery crossed the tenement threshold months ago and now counts itself as the tallest building on the block. Remnant scaffolding was pried from the masonry last week, unveiling a strange sight in these parts. Character context. It appears the silver lining in this fiasco is that the replacement falls in line with its neighbors, albeit at the cost of a 200-year-old Federal-style icon.

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Until its dismantling in late 2011, 135 Bowery was considered the oldest surviving structure on the Bowery, dating back to 1817. It was built about 1818 for John A. Hardenbrook who operated a soap and candle manufacturing establishment next door at 133 Bowery.

Circumstances surrounding its demise – an approved landmark status overturned with the help of Margaret Chin – remains a bitter aftertaste two years later. City Council flip-flopped, arguing that the “dire” condition of the building couldn’t be salvaged, and that a new commercial construction would allegedly aid Chinatown’s economic recovery.

In memoriam:

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135 Bowery, circa 2011

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