New York City’s Bowery in 1949

Been watching videos of US cities in the 1940s. Fun seeing how so much has changed, and sometimes not changed. (This TWA ‘travel video’ of San Francisco in the early 1950s — the heading of the video wrongly calls it the ’40s — pretty much runs along the same Top 10 list most give the city today; cable cars were touristy even then.)

And I stumbled upon MGM’s ‘Travel Talks’ series of videos from the 1940s too. The host gives overviews of places like New Orleans, Chicago and Mexico City — even an unfortunate one on Native American culture.

But I best enjoyed the mention of Manhattan’s Bowery, infamously linked as flophouse central in so many New York novels and stories. You’ll find it at the 3:40 mark.

The host James A Fitzpatrick says:

We are now in that section of Manhattan known as the Bowery… It is a sad reflection on the best-laid plans of the city founders. For in this fantastic maze of light and shadow, weary men are passing, unfortunate outcasts of society, spending their final days in the dreary habitats of the old Bowery, which has degenerated into one of Manhattan’s poorest districts.

About Robert Reid

Robert Reid is a travel writer (Lonely Planet, New York Times, ESPN), travel expert (Today Show, CNN's Headline News), travel videographer (76-Second Travel Show) and travel artist (don't ask).
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One Response to New York City’s Bowery in 1949

  1. Leslie Horning says:

    What a cool article! :)