Salvation Army Checking Out of the Bowery

The Salvation Army Chinatown Shelter (right) and the Bowery Mission.

The Salvation Army Chinatown Shelter (right) and the Bowery Mission.

As gentrification of Manhattan marches on homeless and other at risk groups will find they have fewer options for support as the Bowery location of the Salvation Army turns to a modern, 180-room Ace Hotel.

The Salvation Army sold its 55,000 square-foot Chinatown shelter for $30 million to developers who will save the outer structure and completely gut the 10-story interior. The center, which not only offered shelter but also a soup kitchen and a gathering place and activity center for anyone from “little kids to 80-year-olds” will instead set up shop in Brooklyn. The premises was underused by the Salvation Army, which only used the lower two floors, leaving the upper eight stories empty for the last 13 years.

Before the upper stories were shut down they were used as an SRO, “single room occupancy” hotel. Each floor had 40 separate rooms and one communal bathroom. The new owners, Omnia Group and North Wind Group, will take about 18 months to renovate the site, located at 223-225 Bowery, which is next door to the Bowery Mission. The location is particularly valuable because it is adjacent to a private street which is closed to cars: Freeman Alley.

The sale is the latest in a series of valuable real estate deals for the Salvation Army. In 2010 the Zeckendorf brothers bought 18 Gramercy Park for $60 million; a transaction that made history when the sale of its penthouse apartment went for $42 million in 2012 to the owner of the Houston Rockets, Leslie Alexander. That building has access to the city’s only private park, Gramercy Park, and was built in 1927 and used as a dorm-type residence for young women since 1963. Also in 2010 the Salvation Army sold property at 347 Bowery for $7.6 million. The new owner flipped it last year for $19.2 million. The broker for the newest deal, Alan Miller of Eastern Consolidated commented on the sale of 347 Bowery, saying it is just one more example of the “crazy, rising, real estate market” in New York.

Enjoy Thanksgiving and Beyond in New York During Recovery from the Wrath of Sandy

Tribeca’s Cosmopolitan Hotel

As New Yorkers continue the work needed to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, businesses are pushing forward fast and furious to get life back to normal as quickly as possible. Sandy’s wrath disappointed thousands by forcing the cancellation of one of New York’s crowning jewels for tourism, the NYC Marathon. Thousands of out-of-towners were turned away, and millions in revenue were lost when Mayor Bloomberg made the difficult, but necessary decision to cancel the highly popular race.

Now that the storm is long gone and recovery is in full speed ahead mode, it is time to once again welcome visitors from all over the country, and the world, as the holiday season approaches.  One of New York’s pre-eminent pillars in the tourist trade is the fine collection of Shimmie Horn’s Triumph Hotels. Located in some of New York’s most popular neighborhoods, these hotels offer guests luxury, convenience and style.

One such hotel, located in the Tribeca section of Lower Manhattan, is the Cosmopolitan. Only minutes away from the Bowery, one of Manhattan’s most talked-about places; and smack in between avant-garde SoHo and posh Tribeca, Shimmie Horn’s Cosmopolitan Hotel is the perfect combination of comfort, convenience and calming luxury. With only 130 rooms the Cosmopolitan boasts a private, quiet atmosphere hard to match in any other well-placed hotel.

As New York’s recovery continues a-pace, there is no better time to visit New York and enjoy with the residents there the excitement of the holidays, the beauty of the season, and the joy of overcoming adversity with the spirit of thanksgiving.

“Come Closer” Tells the Tale of Artists on the Bowery

 Curt Hoppe

“Bettie and The Ramones,” oil on canvas by Curt Hoppe

Opening on Wednesday and running through January is an exhibit at the New Museum examining the life of artists who chose to make their home along the infamous Manhattan boulevard known as the Bowery.

During the 60s, 70s and 80s the Bowery was a well-known haven for the homeless and those otherwise seeking the cheapest possible places to live. Flophouses and tumbledown apartment hotels housed the penniless of every stripe, including starving artists.

The exhibit will have on view 40 pieces from 20 Bowery artists who lived in the midst of those impoverished conditions; a reality that is fast fading into the annals of history as the Bowery remakes itself into a hip, high-rent and low tolerance for poverty, district.

“The Bowery was spoken about as a no-man’s-land, a thoroughfare of how people got to the Manhattan Bridge or to the Williamsburg Bridge,” said the show’s curator, Ethan Swan. Swan is also in charge of educational development at the New Museum, which is located at 235 Bowery.

“It was not a place that people thought of staying in much,” he added.

One exception was the artists, who were willing to overlook what others avoided and rented out loft space for dirt-cheap. At first the artists left their surroundings out of their works. That began to change beginning in 1969.

“That is when the artists started to really invite the Bowery into their studios,” Swan explained.

Curt Hoppe is one of the artists who began to fall in love with the Bowery. His work as a painter and photographer is included in the “Come Closer” show.

“If you have to run from the subway to your apartment, that is when you know you are in a good neighborhood,” said Hoppe, who still lives and works in his studio at 98 Bowery, a building that housed many of the era’s well-known artists.

“It has been just a very cool building… there is something special about this building, but I don’t know what it is,” added Hoppe.