Bowery chapel’s centennial marks mission milestone


By Albert Amateau

The Bowery Mission last week celebrated the 100th anniversary of its famed chapel at 227 Bowery with guests that included Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Robert Hess, commissioner of the Department of Homeless Services.

The chapel, where President William Howard Taft paid a visit in December 1909, a month after it opened on Nov. 7 of that year, was full of guests at the centenary event on Nov. 6, a tribute to the mission’s importance, considering that it was the day the New York Yankees paraded up the Broadway Canyon of Heroes from the Battery to City Hall.

“I came from the Canyon of Heroes to another canyon of heroes at the Bowery Mission,” Kelly said, paying tribute to the mission’s services day in and day out to men and women in need. Kelly recalled that he and his wife, Veronica, became active supporters six years ago in the Bowery Mission’s women’s residence on E. 72nd St.

Hess honored the Bowery Mission’s influence on thousands of people over its past 100 years through depressions and wars. He presented Ed Morgan, president of Bowery Mission, with Mayor Bloomberg’s proclamation honoring the agency. Representatives of the City Council and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer also sent proclamations in honor of the mission.

Paula Zahn, producer of Discovery programs and special emcee of the Bowery Mission Centennial, presented one of the Mission’s Good Neighbor Awards to Community Board 3 Chairperson Dominic Pisciotta, who accepted the award on behalf of the board. Good Neighbor Awards also honored the New Museum, which recently became a neighbor with its new building at 235 Bowery, and Whole Foods Market on East Houston St. and Bowery.

“Now and Then,” a photography exhibit by local artists curated by Anna Sawaryn, is displayed around the walls of the chapel as part of the month-long Bowery Mission Arts Festival.