Take a walk down the oldest and most interesting street in New York City
The Oldest Road In NYC
Journey through over four centuries as we walk down New York City’s oldest street! Originally a Native American footpath and Dutch farm road, site of the first free Black homesteads, and Washington’s triumphal march route during the British evacuation, it was the lower stretch of the Boston Post Road, one of America’s first highways. It witnessed 19th century gang wars, the bloody Astor Place Riot, and the anti-slavery speech at Cooper Union that propelled Lincoln to presidency. Though landed gentry like the Delanceys settled here, it soon became the working-class main street for sailors, shopgirls, gangs, gays, sporting men, and waves of immigrant Irish, Italians, Germans, Jews, and Chinese.
A True Slice of Life
This was New York City’s first entertainment district, it has seminal links to tap dance, vaudeville, Yiddish theater, Houdini, Stephen Foster, Irving Berlin, Mae West and modern tattooing. Abstract Expressionism, Beat literature, improvisational jazz and punk rock also have their roots here. Comparing it to the more upscale Broadway, Walt Whitman found it “more democratic, with a broader, jauntier swing.” Though it declined in the 1900s, when flop houses and dive bars proliferated, it nonetheless became home to affordable jewelry, lighting, and restaurant supply stores, and a live-work home for artists like Marc Rothko, Maya Lin, William Burroughs, Robert Frank, Nan Goldin and Debbie Harry.
We bring the History Alive
On this 90 minutes walk we will begin the tour at the Confucius Statue on the corner of Bowery and Division streets which is in between the Old and New Chinatown communities of Manhattan. We will travel northbound through the original Diamond District of New York City before it was moved up to where it is today on 47th street. There are still a few vestiges left of the old lighting district and we continue along the lane. There will be plenty of photo oppurtunities of all the architectural treasures of the Bowery including the old Germania Bank Building and the Bowery saving Bank. We’ll pass by former headquarters of the Village Voice building and end at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Arts and Science.
Book Public Tour
Click here to buy tickets for one of our daily time-slots Monday to Friday at 3:30pm. This Tour is 90 minutes long and under 2 miles of walking. We operate rain or shine so please come prepared for the weather.
If you have a Go City Pass or New York Pass then click here to make your pass reservations.
CHECK-IN AND STARTING POINT
Please check-in for the Bowery Official Historic District Tour at the red pin on the map above. We are located at Confucius Statue on the corner of Bowery and Division Streets in Manhattan. See the photo of the Kiosk where we will be.
Corner of Bowery and Division Streets