By the end of the 18th century, the Bowery had become New York’s most elegant street, lined with grand theatres, soaring banks, mansions of prosperous residents and fashionable shops. During the Civil War era, the mansions and shops had given way to lowbrow concert halls, brothels, German beer gardens, pawnshops, and flophouses. The Bowery also marked the eastern border of the slum of "Five Points" - popularized in the movie Gangs of New York. The Bowery then became the turf of one of America's earliest street gangs, the native Bowery Boys.
In the 1940s through the 1990s, the Bowery was New York City's "Skid Row," notable for "Bowery Bums" - a remarkable feat considering its prime location and beautiful roster of architecture. Today, the neighborhood, where people from William S. Burroughs to Joey Ramone have lived, has maintained its authenticity and restored much of its historic architecture while adding world class boutique hotels, independent retailers, cafes, bars, restaurants, beer gardens and art museums.
This photo was taken of a building in The Bowery I just happened to be walking by; it immediately captured my attention - picturesque and vivid, versatile and diverse, unusual and unexpected.