An ad-free Educational Platform Offering Access to Restored Vintage Photographs and Prints Documenting New York's Rich History.
Expertly Curated by Joseph A. Gornail & Steven D. Garcia of Fine Print New York • 315 Madison Avenue • Email Us • 212.619.5446

History of The Bowery in Pictures (1831 - 1957)

The Bowery in New York City, initially a 17th-century Dutch settlement, holds a significant place in shaping the city’s cultural and architectural heritage. Originally named “Bouwerij” (an old Dutch word for farm), it reflects the area’s agricultural beginnings under Dutch colonization. Before the Dutch, the Lenape people inhabited the region, marking an important aspect of the area’s pre-colonial history and contributing to NYC’s layered historical narrative.

As it transitioned into a vibrant commercial and entertainment district by the mid-19th century, The Bowery mirrored the city’s broader growth and emergence as a national center for commerce and culture. Despite its mid-19th-century notoriety for seedier elements, these aspects significantly contributed to the city’s complex social and cultural story.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, The Bowery evolved into a hub for vaudeville and burlesque, showcasing NYC’s status as a cultural melting pot and center for artistic innovation. This era also introduced influential artists like Rothko, de Kooning, and Motherwell, cementing The Bowery’s impact on the art world.

Today’s Bowery, with its upscale retail and dining, while preserving historical elements, reflects New York City’s adaptive and transformative nature. This evolution from early Dutch and Lenape roots to a modern urban neighborhood encapsulates the dynamic and multifaceted history of New York City, underscoring its themes of diversity, transformation, and resilience.

Engraved illustration depicting the corner of Broadway & the Bowery in downtown Manhattan.

1831: Broadway and Bowery

Engraved illustration depicting the corner of Broadway & the Bowery in downtown Manhattan.

Photograph showing elevated railroad, delivery wagons, streetcars, buildings and people in lower Manhattan.

1896: Along the Bowery

Photograph showing elevated railroad, delivery wagons, streetcars, buildings and people in lower Manhattan.

A steam-powered locomotive awaits boarding passengers on the Bowery's elevated train line near Grand Street.

1900: The Bowery near Grand Street

A steam-powered locomotive awaits boarding passengers on the Bowery's elevated train line near Grand Street.

Photograph of a busy scene on the Bowery as pedestrians make their way across the street and under the elevated overpass.

1901: Under the Elevated Railroad at the Bowery

Photograph of a busy scene on the Bowery as pedestrians make their way across the street and under the elevated overpass.

Photograph of Minnie Paster, a 10 year old having to work and tend a newspaper stand at Bowery & Bond

1910: Tending a News Stand at Bowery & Bond Street

Photograph of Minnie Paster, a 10 year old having to work and tend a newspaper stand at Bowery & Bond

Photograph shows men gathered on sidewalk in front of the Alabama Hotel and Skid Row Bar & Grill in downtown Manhattan.

1949: On The Bowery

Photograph shows men gathered on sidewalk in front of the Alabama Hotel and Skid Row Bar & Grill in downtown Manhattan.

Photograph of The Bowery and Delancey Street showing cars at a stoplight and signs for the People's Bar, and the Crystal Hotel and Pioneer Hotel in distance.

1957: The Bowery

Photograph of The Bowery and Delancey Street showing cars at a stoplight and signs for the People's Bar, and the Crystal Hotel and Pioneer Hotel in distance.


250 Million Years to Present Day NYC: Natural Wonder to World's Most Famous City

Explore NYC's transformation over 250 million years, from its origins in Pangea to becoming the world's most famous and dynamic city today



Frequently Asked Questions

What Defines History101.nyc? Explore NYC's Historical Journey

Welcome to "History101.NYC," an unparalleled online gallery featuring the beginnings of New York City, exquisitely restored by the experts at Fine Print New York. This exclusive collection vividly resurrects key historical moments, celebrating the city's rich history and diverse cultural heritage. Each meticulously crafted piece in our gallery offers a genuine look into NYC's past, embodying exceptional artistic skill and meticulous attention to detail.

Dive into our archives for a selection of exclusive, premium-quality art prints, encompassing a range of vintage photos, historical images, and rare lithographs unique to our site. These curated artworks narrate the dynamic evolution of the Big Apple, providing history enthusiasts and art collectors with a rare opportunity to own a part of NYC's illustrious legacy. Don't miss the chance to explore and acquire these captivating representations of New York City's historical journey.

Who Are the Founders of History101.nyc? Discover the Creators

Joseph Gornail, a printer/photographer and founder of Fine Print New York, grew up in SoHo, Manhattan. Part of a long lineage of NYC printers, he learned the craft of printing as a teenager. Joseph's pivotal role in the New York printing industry began while working for Dolo Records/Stretch Armstrong in 1996. He then founded All City Marketing & Printing, and in 1999, co-founded the iconic streetwear brand "Orchard Street" with Benjamin Holloway and Greig Bennett. In 2004, Joseph established Fine Print NYC, a top-tier commercial printing company in New York. It launched with a major project for Nike, showcasing resilience and innovation in the digital age.

Steven Garcia, esteemed designer/illustrator and creative director at Fine Print New York, hails from Bushwick, Brooklyn. An alumnus of Fashion Industries High School and F.I.T., Steven's impressive career trajectory includes his tenure as a sought-after professional retoucher and storyboard artist at Saatchi & Saatchi in 1995. His entrepreneurial spirit led to the inception of ShinyDesign in 1998, later aligning with Fine Print in 2004 as their primary design partner. Steven's portfolio boasts collaborations with high-profile brands like Snapple, The Waldorf Astoria, and Sony, making him a prominent figure in New York's advertising and design landscape.

Together, Joseph & Steven spearhead the History101.nyc project, a groundbreaking digital archive since 2006. Their longstanding partnership dates back to 2001, when Joseph managed The New York City Urban Experience, an influential art gallery & museum at 85 South Street, and Steven curated, both contributing to New York City's vibrant cultural scene. This venue, owned by Mike Saes of the Nike Bridge Runners and True Yorkers, was a cornerstone for urban art and history enthusiasts.

What Time Periods, Eras, Decades of NYC History are available?

We cover a vast span of New York City's history, from its inception as New Amsterdam to the vibrant late 1980s. Our artists are actively working on expanding our collection to include photos from the 90s up to the present day.

Here's our current coverage list, showcasing the city's evolution:

Dutch Era: When New York Was New Amsterdam

NYC in the 1600s

Georgian Era

NYC in the 1700s • NYC from 1800 to 1840NYC in the 1840s • 

Victorian Era

NYC in the 1850s • NYC in the 1860s • NYC in the 1870s • NYC in the 1880s

Progressive Era

NYC in the 1890s • NYC from 1900 to 1905 • 1905 to 1910 • 1910 to 1915 • 

World War 1

NYC from 1915 to 1920

Art Deco

NYC from 1920 to 1925 • NYC from 1925 to 1930

Depression Era

NYC from 1930 to 1935 • NYC from 1935 to 1940

World War 2

NYC from 1940 to 1945

MidCentury Modern Era

NYC from 1945 to 1950 • 1950 to 1955 • 1955 to 1960 • 1960 to 1965 • 1965 to 1970

Energy Crisis

NYC from 1970 to 1975 • 1975 to 1980

Reagan Era

NYC from 1980 to 1985 • 1985 to 1990

Each period is richly represented through a variety of art mediums, offering a comprehensive and immersive historical journey of NYC. This chronological approach provides enthusiasts and scholars a unique lens into the city's architectural, cultural, and social developments.

How many historical Images are on this site?

There are currently 755 photos, lithographs, illustrations and maps on this site. Each one has been digitally restored and cleaned up by hand, which makes this collection truly unique.

Can I License Any of These Images?

Digital licenses are available for educational institutions (schools, universities, non-profit organizations). Please contact legal@fineprintnyc.com to discuss conditions for licensing.

NOTE: Any form of commercialization or redistribution of these images, either as tangible goods or third party licenses, is expressly forbidden.

Can I purchase prints of the historical images available on the site?

History101.nyc is an ad-free and non-profit learning resource. We do not sell prints of these images. All operational costs are covered by Fine Print NYC

Do you accept admissions to this collection?

Absolutely! Feel free to send us an email with a preview of the image and we will let you know if it's a good fit for the archives.

How do you handle feedback or corrections regarding the historical context of images?

We welcome any feedback that you may have. If it proves to be historically accurate the changes will be reflected on the site shortly after our correspondence.

Do you collaborate with other historical societies or archives?

We have collaborated with NYC's Municipal Archives, The Tenemant Museum, Bronx Historical Society and a number of prominent NYC photographers to produce a series of limited edition postcards which free of charge, but only available via street distribution, primarily in Manhattan.

Do you also provide image restoration as a service for personal photos?

Yes, we can repair, restore and cleanup your old family photos, slides and negatives. You can either send us the digital files or the original photos to be professionally scanned.

Can you repair any type of image damage?

We can restore just about any level of damage or signs of aging, within reason. As long as most of the photo is intact we cn work with it. The one flaw we cannot fix is source material that is blurry. A poorly take photo can only be improved so much.

@History101NYC

315 Madison Avenue • NYC 10017 • (212)619-5446 • art@fineprintnyc.com

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History101.NYC is an ad-free learning resource available to the public at no charge.
This project is dedicated to exploring New York’s fascinating heritage through the restoration of vintage photographs and prints.