A new museum has opened on the Bowery, another step in the radical transformation of an area once considered New York's Skid Row. NY1's Roger Clark has the story.
"Public Private Secret" is the debut exhibit for the International Center of Photography's new space at 250 Bowery. The museum opened last month after moving from Midtown.
"It's come here and it's going to join in with the creative spirit of The Bowery," said Charlotte Cotton, curator in residence at the ICPM.
The center joins The New Museum across the street as cultural destinations on the city's oldest street, which runs 1.25 miles from Greenwich Village to Chinatown — and has all but shed its gritty past.
Music club CBGB became a John Varvatos clothes store. Tenements and brothels have been replaced by high-end housing. In fact, the top floors of 250 Bowery are luxury condos. The International Center of Photography Museum (ICPM) is glad to be part of this ever-changing neighborhood.
"For us it is a really important arts center in the city for a lot of people," said Marina Chao, assistant curator at ICPM.
But preservationists and some neighborhood activists are alarmed about the Bowery's overhaul.
The Bowery Alliance of Neighbors says that while The Bowery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it remains one of the city's most endangered historic treasures."
The preservation group has sponsored a project called Windows on The Bowery, 64 posters that celebrate the street's contributions to history and culture — in music, theatre and art.
"We felt like most people didn't know the broad history of The Bowery and that we should take it to the street," said David Mulkins, of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors.
They did so with the help of Graphic Design students and faculty at Cooper Union, which is at the north end of The Bowery.
"The main idea behind the design is to brand these so if you are walking down The Bowery, you know that this is one of many other posters," said Mindy Lang, creative director at Cooper Union
So a bit of the past as this famous street moves to the future. Mulkins hopes city officials take notice.
"If this city allows this street to be bulldozed out of existence, it is extremely ignorant," the preservationist said.
Mulkins says they need to do something in a very swift fashion, to preserve and protect The Bowery.
To learn more about the exhibit, check out icp.org.