Landmarking The Bowery Mission

June 8, 2012

Honorable Robert Tierney, Chairman 
New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission 
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor 
New York, NY 10007

Via email:

Re: Landmark Designation for The Bowery Mission, 227 Bowery, Manhattan

Dear Chairman Tierney:

The Lower East Side Preservation Initiative – LESPI – is writing to support LPC’s designation of The Bowery Mission at 227 Bowery as an Individual Landmark. 

This well preserved Neo-Grec style building, which dates from 1876, has functioned as the Bowery Mission since 1909 when the Mission took over the property. The richly ornamented Tudor Revival window bay, inserted by the Mission during the building’s conversion, is an important and aesthetically attractive alteration that broadcasts the structure’s communal function and proclaims its welcome to the poor and needy.

The building’s conversion to philanthropic use marked an important transitional time in New York’s attitude toward its poorest residents. Jacob Riis’s 1890 How the Other Half Lives awakened many New Yorkers to the immense suffering of the city’s impoverished. In the decades following its publication, new philanthropic groups were organized, charitable facilities constructed, and legislation and programs for low income housing initiated. The Bowery Mission is a product of – and exemplifies – this era’s activist Progressivism and heightened compassion.

The Bowery Mission clearly warrants landmark protection on both historical architectural and cultural grounds. We request that the LPC designate this important structure as an Individual Landmark as soon as possible. Thank you.


Richard D. Moses 

Cc: Hon. Margaret Chin, New York City Council