Bowery is really registering

By Albert Amateau

The Bowery Historic District was approved by the New York State Review Board last month, officially listing the entire renowned thoroughfare from Chatham Square to Cooper Square in the New York State Register of Historic Places.

The nomination now goes to the National Register of Historic Places, maintained by the National Park Service, for listing.

Sponsored by the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors (BAN), the nomination highlights the rich history of the architecturally diverse street, which has been threatened with overdevelopment during the past decade.

Kerri Culhane, who wrote the 171-page nomination report, noted that the Bowery has examples of architecture from every decade since 1790, but more than 10 percent of the total was built in the past decade and most new units are high-end hotel rooms, market-rate condos or rentals and out of scale with the historically low-rise Bowery.

Unlike a New York City-designated historic district, a National Register district does not come with restrictive zoning nor does it have design review requirements for alterations.

However, an owner of a building on the National Register has access to state and federal tax credits, low-cost loans and technical assistance for restoring or rehabilitating a historic building.

“This isn’t just Lower East Side history. This is national history,” said Victor Papa, president of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council.