[Update] Bowery Mission Considered for Landmarks Status

The Bowery Mission

Broad support for landmarking one of the country’s oldest extant Christian missions. On June 12, 2012, Landmarks held a public hearing to consider designating the Bowery Mission at 227 Bowery in Manhattan’s Lower East Side as an individual landmark. The red brick neo-Grec store-and-loft building was constructed in 1876 for use by an undertaker. The Bowery Mission relocated to the building in 1909 after its former home at 55 Bowery was demolished to accommodate the approach to the Manhattan Bridge. In 1908 and 1909, the Mission altered 227 Bowery by installing four stained-glass windows with mock half-timbering at the second floor. The Mission is one of the oldest extant Christian missions in the country. In 1909, President William H. Taft made a speech to 600 men at the Mission, and the building soon became famous for the bread lines that once queued outside.

The Mission President and CEO Ed Morgan testified in support of designation. Morgan spoke of the desperate conditions in the Bowery at the time the Mission moved into the building. He acknowledged that while the Bowery now possessed a vastly different character, the work of “helping New York’s hurting citizens” is ongoing. Morgan said landmarking the building would “memorialize the Bowery’s colorful past” while recognizing the Mission’s ongoing work. The New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Andrea Goldwyn said that the building merited designation for its architectural, cultural, and historic significance, and called it “one of the City’s most important social-service organizations.” Representatives of the Historic Districts Council and the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors also testified in support of designation.

Landmarks did not set a date to vote on the designation.

LPC: The Bowery Mission, 227 Bowery, Manhattan (LP-2494) (June 12, 2012).

Update (7/9/2012) – Landmarks designated the Bowery Mission as an individual City landmark on June 26, 2012. Read the designationreport here.

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