New Film Explores Jay Maisel’s Move from Graffiti Icon 190 Bowery

Posted on: August 1st, 2019 at 5:10 am by

The Germania Bank Building at 190 Bowery remains one of the most iconic on the Lower East Side. Largely due to its former life as personal mansion to photographer Jay Maisel, who had purchased the 72-room landmark in 1966 for $106,000.

Now, a new film called Jay Myself details Maisel’s lifelong residency at 190 Bowery, and his subsequent move in 2016. It premiered at the Film Forum yesterday.

Below is a synopsis:

The Bank – a six-floor, 36,000 square foot, 100-year-old landmark building – sits on the corner of the Bowery and Spring Street, for decades draped in mystery, graffiti-covered, with boarded-up windows. Inside, renowned photographer/artist Jay Maisel inhabited a thriving artist paradise since 1966. A successful commercial photographer (covers for New York Magazine, Sports Illustrated swimsuit editions, and the iconic Miles Davis Kind of Blue album), he’s also a prolific art photographer and obsessive collector of extraordinary (and ordinary) objects that have inspired him. JAY MYSELF chronicles Maisel’s monumental move out of his 72-room home following its sale, the largest private real estate deal in NYC history.

The graffiti-swabbed exterior is legendary in its own right, with an ever-changing sheath of paint. Most recently, Shepard Fairey painted a mural of actress-activist Rosario Dawson on the rooftop water tower. Unconfirmed local lore has it that the Maisel family refused to scrub the facade because the city allegedly rebuffed his attempts to do the same in the bad old days of the Bowery.

Yet to catch a glimpse of the interior was notoriously difficult, and few had seen it before a photo spread in New York Magazine.

Maisel eventually sold the 1898 jewel to developer Aby Rosen for $55 million in 2015. It’s considered the largest private real estate deal in city history. The new owner installed office space (i.e. Great Bowery), briefly offered public tours, and attempted to remove the graffiti. And Supreme is now on the ground floor while its OG Store is remodeled.

Recent Stories

The Year of the Rat Scurries In

It’s the Year of the Rat! This week marks the 21st year of New York City’s Lunar New Year celebration, and no doubt the organizers are scurrying around in preparation for a veritable smorgasbord of festivities. As in years past, the festivities will kick off with the explosive Firecracker Ceremony Saturday morning at 11:00am (January 25) […]

Public Hotel-Adjacent Condo Ascends 4 Stories

The north end of Chrystie Street continues its gilded march toward luxury. Despite the scruffy park at its doorstep. Owner-developer KD Sagamore, which scooped up 199 and 201 Chrystie over the last several years for a combined $20 million, filed for re-development back in December 2017. The plans included merging both parcels into one tax lot, […]

Fat Baby Replacement Evicted Before Ever Opening

The Fat Baby space is again up for grabs. Eviction papers were taped to the door last week, indicating that the latest proposal for the Suave Bar and Restaurant is dead in the water. Suave was the third suitor in the last year for 112 Rivington Street. Principal Erinson Salce (of Sahara East on First […]

Christopher Marte Launches City Council Campaign for 2021

Christopher Marte is jumping back into the City Council election ring. With three-time Councilmember Margaret Chin terming out next year, the local politician is looking to capitalize early on the District 1 seat. Essentially building on the momentum he created during the 2017 election that gave Chin a run for her money. (The incumbent squeaked […]

The Delancey Street ‘Rainbow’ is No More

Discount retailer, Rainbow, is no longer part of the Lower East Side landscape. The longtime store at 110 Delancey Street is now closed up for good. Employees told us back in October that the lease expired, and wasn’t renewed. This particular store had been at 110 Delancey for well over a decade. At one point […]