Map
Map No 2: The Bowery
Once upon a time, the Bowery was all flophouses, whiskey joints, and legendary bums. The flophouses survive, but now they’re surrounded by celebrity lounges and multi-million-dollar lofts.
  • By Matt Gross
  • Published


  •  
    John Derian could be the Platonic ideal of a Parisian curio store.
     
    The Bowery, in all its gritty glory.
     
    Freemans restaurant hides at the end of an alley.
     
    Sit back and relax in the tiny oasis of Liz Christy Garden, before the fall.
     
    Smokers chill outside the Slide.
     
    Real Estate
    Avalon Chrystie Place
    Houston St. btwn. Bowery and Chrystie St
    The ultimate Bowery megadevelopment will have fourteen stores, 360 rental units, a 40,000-square-foot YMCA, and a giant Whole Foods. In a year. Or two.

    Noho Lofts
    57 Bond St
    Six floors of ultramodern (for Bowery) condos promptly sold out in 2003; one penthouse hit $1.7 million.

    Nolita Place

    199 Bowery
    Studios start at $2,025 in this 65-unit development.

    195 Bowery

    Elliman has already signed contracts for eight lofts in this unfinished sixteen-story condo; the penthouse could be yours for just $3.7 million.

    (1.) Kos 264 Bowery, near Houston St.
    Whether you believe Denzel Washington and Lenny Kravitz’s new lounge is named for Kosciuszko Street in Bed-Stuy or a fairly dirty word in Farsi, you probably won’t get in. But if you do, head for the dim, sexy, shag-carpeted “Kitty Box” VIP room.

    (2.) John Derian
    6 E. 2nd St., near Bowery
    The little curio shop that you never quite located on your last Paris trip has glass bowls and platters bearing nineteenth- century illustrations and astonishingly elegant Louis XV–style faïence by Astier de Villatte.

    (3.) Liz Christy Garden
    Northeast corner of Bowery and Houston St.
    Enjoy this oasis of persimmon trees and wildflowers while you can. The Avalon Chrystie Place development encroaches next year, displacing resident animals like the red slider turtles that live in the koi pond.

    (4.) The Slide
    356 Bowery, near Great Jones St.
    Located on the site of a notorious 1890s gay bar, the Slide carries the quaint but sleazy saloon vibe into the 21st century with underwear-only Thursday nights.

    (5.) Silo
    1 Freeman Alley
    This chocolate factory turned gallery gives many emerging artists—like John Thurber and Douglas Boatwright, coming late October—their first shows.

    (6.) Freemans
    End of Freeman Alley, off Rivington St.
    A rave from the Times lured the well-to-do into dark Lower East Side alleys in search of this rustic dining room with a hunting-lodge theme and impeccably fresh food. Go for brunch, when the sun streams down the alley and through the windows.

    (7.) Duncan Quinn
    8 Spring St., near Elizabeth St.
    This British suitmaker caters to downtown peacocks with a thirst for Savile Row–style tailoring, but his spread-collar shirts in lush Italian cottons are produced in runs of just seven per fabric. So if you see something you like (and you probably will), better grab it before it’s gone forever.

    (8.) Tan My My Market
    229 Grand St., near Chrystie St.
    Get over your irrational fear of Chinatown fishmongers and pick up a sack of sweet, plump Kumamoto oysters, regularly in stock for just $8 a dozen.

    (9.) Remote Lounge
    327 Bowery, near 2nd St.
    If the mirrored façade doesn’t scare you off, the very 1998 surveillance theme inside will: Cameras project your image all over the club, while patrons watch each other by tuning in to different “stations.”

    (10.) Rafé
    1 Bleecker St., near Bowery
    Everybody loves this Filipino designer’s classics with a twist—head straight for the adorably tweedy houndstooth-check flats with patent-leather toes (plus matching clutches and satchels).

    (11.) Jen Bekman
    6 Spring St., near Bowery
    This low-key storefront showcases emerging artists next to big names like Mitch Epstein, and runs thrice-yearly “pinup shows” where nothing is more than $600.

    (12.) Hedeh
    57 Great Jones St., near Bowery
    Hedeh has a rich, slightly sweet knockoff of Nobu’s miso- marinated black cod, plus seared foie gras and the obligatory mind-boggling sushi list.

    (13.) CBGB
    315 Bowery, near 1st St.
    With the glory days long gone, CBGB’s main interest is its carefully maintained grottiness.

    (14.) Bowery Poetry Club
    308 Bowery, near Bleecker St.
    For tenacious slam-poetry fans.

    (15.) All Natural Hot Mini Cakes
    Southeast corner of Bowery and Grand St.
    Eggy orbs of wafflelike dough are cooked before your eyes at this street cart—and you get twenty for a buck.

    (16.) Billy’s Antiques & Props
    76 E. Houston St., at Elizabeth St.
    Tin-framed mirrors and mid- century armoires lining the sidewalk pull you in to inspect unusual tchotchkes like a Middle East military-briefing map.

    (17.) Lighting by Gregory
    158 Bowery, near Broome St.
    Eight thousand square feet of brushed Italian steel and halogen.

    (18.) Bari
    240 Bowery, near Prince St.
    You may not need an industrial dough mixer or a life-size statue of a rotund chef, but this restaurant-supply empire’s cookware is ridiculously sturdy—and ridiculously cheap.

    (19.) Sunshine Flophouse
    241 Bowery, near Stanton St.
    A tiny sleeping area will run you a whopping $7 to $10 a night.

    (20.) Pioneer Bar
    218 Bowery, near Prince St.
    On weekends, you’ll do battle with invading hordes, but otherwise, this airplane-hanger-esque bar will do for a pint or two.

    (21.) Mission
    217 Bowery, at Rivington St.
    Taste this bad should be punished. So avoid this bottle-service club two doors down from the homeless at the real Bowery Mission.

    (22.) Shiva Yoga Shala
    1 Rivington St., at Bowery
    If you’ve got a handle on the basic asanas but crave individual attention, try the free-form, two-hour classes here—Shiva’s Ashtanga masters float around the room, adjusting your posture as needed.

    (23.) Zippy Cleaners
    149 Elizabeth St., near Kenmare St.
    With so few dry-cleaning options, it’s reassuring to spy what looks like the entire neighborhood’s plastic-sheathed garments inside this tiny storefront.

    (24.) New Museum of Contemporary Art
    235 Bowery, near Stanton St.
    Right now, it’s a parking lot. But come 2006, a seven-story mass of silver blocks will rise amid the flophouses.

    (25.) BLVD
    199 Bowery, near Spring St.
    Treat this entertainment complex with multiple-personality disorder (Latin-Asian-fusion restaurant, packed nightclub, live music lounge, café) as you would any sidewalk crazy: Enjoy the antics, but don’t get too close.

    (26.) Bowery Ballroom
    6 Delancey St., near Bowery
    You already know this is the place to catch up-and-comers like El-P, Radio 4, and Mooney Suzuki. But don’t forget to show up early to snag the pillowed seats in the balcony.

    (27.) Capitale
    130 Bowery, near Grand St.
    No longer a restaurant, Capitale has transformed into the kind of party space where you invite 600 pals to feast on pistachio-dusted cod in the Beaux-Arts lobby of a century-old bank. The architecture justifies the price—barely.

    (28.) B-Bar & Grill
    E. 4th St., near Bowery
    It may be overcrowded and overpriced, but B-Bar makes it up to you with $2 pints during happy hour and unlimited mimosas at Sunday brunch.


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