Bowery, Manhattan, New York City
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The Bowery is the name of a street and a small neighborhood in the southern portion of the New York City borough of Manhattan. The neighborhood's boundaries are East 4th Street and the East Village to the north, Canal Street and Chinatown to the South, Allen Street and the Lower East Side to the east and Bowery (the street) and Little Italy to the west (citidex.com 2006) (Fodor's 1991). As a street, the Bowery was known as Bowery Lane prior to 1807 (Brown, 1922) and was the road leading to Peter Stuyvesant's farm or bouwerij. Today it runs from Chatham Square in the south to Cooper Square in the north.
Bouwerij was the old Dutch word for farm, (today boerderij). Stuyvesant retired to his farm in 1667. After his death in 1672, he was buried in his private chapel. His mansion burned down in 1778 and his great-grandson sold the remaining chapel and graveyard, now the site of the Episcopal church of St Mark's Church in-the-Bowery (Fodor's 2004).
The Bull's Head Tavern is noted for George Washington having stopped there to refresh himself before riding down to the waterfront to witness the departure of British troops in 1783.
By the end of the 18th century the Bowery became New York's most elegant street, lined with fashionable shops and the mansions of prosperous residents. Lorenzo Da Ponte, the Librettist for Mozart's Don Giovanni, Marriage of Figaro, and Cosi Fan Tutte, ran one of the shops - a fruit and vegetable store - after he emigrated to New York City in 1806. But by the time of the Civil War, the mansions and shops had given way to brothels, beer gardens, and flophouses, like the one at #15 in which the composer Stephen Foster lived in 1864. It had also become the turf of one of America's earliest street gangs, the nativist Bowery Boys.
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