Mark Rothko’s Former Artist Studio in Bowery ‘Bunker’ Renting for $15K

Posted on: April 26th, 2019 at 5:00 am by

222 Bowery

Here it is. Your golden opportunity to rent the expansive loft that formerly served as workspace for artist Mark Rothko.

Word on the street is that the owner of the space at 222 Bowery – the units are part of a cooperative – reportedly seeks $15,000 per month to rent it.

It was here at 222 Bowery that the YMCA built the first New York branch in October 1885, and christened it the Young Men’s Institute. Its stated goal from the outset was to promote the “opportunities for physical and mental development, social recreation, and special instruction to young men of moderate means,” according to a period piece in the New York Times. A necessity on the Bowery that then teemed with brothels and saloons.

Photo: Adrian Wilson

The Victorian building sold in 1932 and became home to light manufacturing and loft spaces. Thereafter, the artists came a-knockin. Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko arrived in 1957, and transformed the gymnasium of the old YMCA into his studio. He moved in just after being commissioned to decorate the then-exclusive Four Seasons restaurant.

His stay on the Bowery was short, though, and he left five years later. Artist Michael Goldberg then took the spot, but, as history tells it, was careful not to spill his own paint over the splatters of Rothko’s red paint on the floor boards. (The paint marks are still visible today.)

Andy Warhol was known to throw parties there; and Allen Ginsburg lived there; but it was William S. Burroughs who coined its nickname as the “Bunker,” where he lived from 1974 to 1997.

Photo: Adrian Wilson

The Landmarks Preservation Commission declared the property a landmark in 1998, preserving it from any future demolition.

Meanwhile, art remains part of the DNA at 222 Bowery. The ground floor – which previously housed the Green Depot hardware store, and almost became a Starr Restaurant – is currently biding its time as a gallery.

Photo: Adrian Wilson

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