The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Bowery to Broadway: Manhattan (#atozchallenge)







English: Photograph of Steve Brodie's Bar at 1...
Photograph of Steve Brodie's Bar at 114 Bowery, New York City, owned by Steve Brodie (1861-1901), famed for supposed jump from the Brooklyn Bridge in 1886.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)









Bowery to Broadway

         The story of Manhattan as the city we know begins in the section of town known as The Bowery.  In 1624 the Dutch began to settle in what they called New Amsterdam.    The name Bowery comes from a Dutch word meaning "farm".  Over the years this area experienced urban expansion as the farm lands disappeared to the development of the city.

          At first much of the Bowery neighborhood became elegant and highbrow, but near the mid-nineteenth century the area degenerated into a poor rough place.  The Bowery became famous for its bars, brothels, pawnshops, and flophouses.   Gangs ruled their individual turfs and sometimes clashed in violent confrontations.  For over a hundred years the Bowery retained a bad reputation that was known the world over.

        In more recent years there has been a move toward gentrification with an attempt to attract new business and tourism.  There are a number of places of historical interest to visit in The Bowery as well as art galleries, museums, night clubs, restaurants, and other upscale establishments.


         Samantha Redstreake Gearysaid:   "... Whenever I think Manhattan, I think of the theaters on Broadway and the fabulous FOOD!"
English: Broadway show billboards at the corne...
Broadway show billboards at the corner of 7th Avenue and West 47th Street in Times Square in New York City
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

          From The Bowery we can follow Broadway, once  the Wickquasgeck Trail used by the native peoples who inhabited the area prior to the arrival of the Europeans.   Broadway spans the entire Manhattan Island and then beyond.  As one of the most famous streets in New York City, many known landmarks can be found along the route.

          Broadway has become synonymous with The Theater and most notably, Musical Theater.  The Great White Way, as Broadway is also referred to as  the street passes the bright lights of the Theater District, has been the subject of so many movies that many people associate Manhattan with the theater first and foremost.

            The only time I've been to a musical in a Broadway theater was in 1976 when I saw The Magic Show with Doug Henning who was a popular hippie styled magician for a number of years.  I'd seen his first television magic special the previous December and was very impressed.  Seeing him in the Broadway show that had first catapulted him to fame was a special treat for me.  I was working on a touring magic show at the time and had developed a special interest in magic stage productions.  This is a musical that will doubtfully be performed by many stage companies in the future due to the nature of the illusions and the right performer to present them.   Doug Henning died in 2000 at age 52.

           Have you been to any musicals or theater productions in the Manhattan Theater District?   Have you visited the Bowery?    Have you seen the movie Gangs of New York


        

69 comments:

  1. Interesting post, Arlee. I've never been to Broadway but I have seen lots of musicals in London's Theatre land. Love 'em!!! I even wrote a few musicals for school productions - in my former life :) Happy to hear that the Bowery was transformed. Have a lovely weekend.

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    1. Nicola, wouldn't it be cool to have a musical you wrote produced on the big stage by a pro company?

      Lee

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  2. It seems like an interesting place. I've never seen a show in Manhattan, though it's on my bucket list.

    But I have seen David Copperfield perform, if that counts. :)

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    1. JH, the road shows can be just about as good. Copperfield puts on a fantastic show. I've seen a couple of his shows.

      Lee.

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  3. Never been anywhere close, I hear Bowery and I think of the classic films "The Bowery Boys"...

    Welcome in the letter "B"... thank you!
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2016]

    Stop over and find a free "SIX STRINGS: BLOGGING AtoZ CHALLENGE" Here: http://www.jmhdigital.com/

    HOLLYWOOD NUTS!
    You know you want to know if me or Hollywood... is Nuts?

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    1. Jeremy, haven't seen one of the Bowery Boys films in ages though they still frequently are played on TCM.

      Lee

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  4. My first thought nwas, "What would those natives do if suddenly transported to Broadway now? Prolly the same thing I'd do- and I hope there's a restroom nearby to do it in!

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  5. To watch a show there has been on my bucket list for a long time now. 1624 is some while ago, the length of its history comes as a mild surprise though it shouldn't really, come to think of it.

    Nilanjana
    Madly-in-Verse

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  6. It was my good fortune to attend a Christmas musical at Radio City Music Hall in 2010. I love The Gangs of New York, have it on DVD; now I'll have to watch it tonight!
    Enjoy your weekend.

    Gail’s 2016 April A to Z Challenge
    B is for Breathe Deep

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  7. Unfortunately I've never been to NY or Broadway although I would love to go one day! :) The Truck Traveller

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  8. Most interesting Lee. I must say when I went there I was overwhelmed by all the goings on.
    Yvonne.

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  9. I saw Les Mis and Miss Saigon about 22 years ago. That was the one and only time I've been to Manhattan/NYC. I've never been to the Bowery. Sounds like a nice place to visit.
    Mary at Play off the Page

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  10. Sounds like somewhere interesting to visit...it evokes all sorts of mid twentieth century images.

    Pauleen

    Family History Across The Seas
    Http://cassmob.wordpress.com

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  11. I haven't been to the Bowery but I've been to Broadway. I saw the production of Sweeny Todd starring Angela Lansbury. That was back in 1979 or it could've been my second trip there in the early 80s.

    I have seen the Gangs of New York. Very violent bunch they were! Good film. I'll have to watch it again. It's been a long time...

    Michele at Angels Bark

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  12. I love that I live so close that a trip to Manhattan is so easy. Still always a treat. Love to go to shows. Great post.

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  13. I have never been to a musical before... Waiting for a Hugh Jackman show :P

    Visiting from A to Z Challenge
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    A Whimsical Medley
    Twinkle Eyed Traveller

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  14. Doug Henning passed away? I didn't remember that. I've never spent much time in NYC so I've never seen a Broadway show. But they did take me to see the Rockettes at Radio City once.

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  15. I would have to say no to all three of your questions. My only "visits" to the Bowery would be through the old shows called The Bowery Boys and yearly visits to Manhattan via the movie "Miracle on 34th Street", the old version with Maureen O'Hara.

    I am enjoying the education about Manhattan that you are providing with your posts.

    Have a great weekend!

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    1. Suzanne, so many movies that take place in Manhattan. I know I've seen some Bowery Boys films but it's probably been a long time ago.

      Lee

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  16. Arlee: Great post. I always associate the word Bowery as a byword for the British "Bedlam" or a madhouse. I believe, for instance, Ginsberg uses it in this context in the poem Howl. Very interesting, and a far richer history than I thought.

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  17. I love NYC! I live 4 hours away and have been many times. I have only seen one Broadway show- CATS right before it closed on Broadway. I love to stay in the Broadway district at The Algonquin to see the resident cat. Hard to believe Indians used to live there.

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  18. Oh thanks for the stroll! Been to NYC once only and only for the day. Loved every minute of it but it is so far from Labrador. Doug Henning was a Canuck! I remember him. Always seemed like a sweetheart.

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  19. Good morning! I love the tour of Manhattan! I saw Me and My Girl in 1986 on Broadway and it was fabulous. I was on a college field trip and in fact we stay at a little hostel just off Broadway. Not a very nice place for a bunch of girls to stay, but we have memories for a life time.
    @ScarlettBraden from
    Frankly Scarlett

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  20. I first visited New York about 25 years ago when I won a trip in a raffle. Part of the deal was 3d row seats to Phantom of the Opera. I loved it. I visit New York from time to time and always see a play. I was there in February for the SCBWI conference and saw Fun Home, another marvelous musical (but very different from the 1st one!)

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  21. I never had much money when I was living in NYC. If I could do that time over again, I'd spend my money differently. I wish I'd gone to some Broadway shows. If I'd been paying attention, I'm sure I could've gotten to see some shows at really low prices. Ah... hindsight.

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  22. A great post! No, I never saw a Broadway play. Yes, I saw The Gangs of New York. There's also a book by that title written by Herbert Asbury.

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  23. Did not know that Bowery meant farm. Thanks for the history note.

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  24. Haven't been to New York yet, but wanted to visit for a while. Hubs used to watch films about the Bowery Boys, which was set in the times you mentioned that it was rough or perhaps just before it became really decrepit. Every big city seems to have one downtrodden area which 'used to be'. . .

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  25. Being a New Yorker, I love your post today and I've been to Broadway, the Bowery, and beyond. Famous Lumineers Hey, Ho
    lyrics: Took a bus to Chinatown, standing on Canal and Bowery.

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    1. Em, so many songs that mention New York and its particulars.

      Lee

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  26. History always fascinates me. Glad to learn this bit of New York History.

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  27. A Broadway show is on my bucket list for sure!
    Blogging A to Z on
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  28. I think many people who think New York City, actually think Manhattan. There's really so much history there.
    These posts of yours are making me even mroe curious thatn I had been ;-)

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - Jazz Age Jazz

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    1. Sarah, and I think what you think is right.

      Lee

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  29. I've been to Radio City Music Hall for a Rockette's Christmas Show. Both visits to NYC were brief but I still want to go to the big city again. The siren still calls this country girl from Georgia.

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  30. I've seen Phantom of the Oper and Broadway! That was a real treat!

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  31. Have I been to any musicals - on and off Broadway? Let me count the ways.... But then, from 89 to 96 I had a lot of friends in the city who were theatre fans, so I made frequent trips. I was even on first name terms with the guy who looked after the returns lines at the Majestic :) Happy days!
    Jemima Pett

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  32. Its difficult to think that any part of this area began as a farm! "They say the neon lights are bright.." I've only been there once and for only one day as my dad and my uncle figured out how to get a grand piano down a spiral staircase.

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  33. Never made it long enough to go and see a musical. Then again it's good to still have items left on your bucket list, right?

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  34. The history of this place is fascinating. The ups and downs of the neighborhoods alone is a study is urban development. I read about the history of Wall Street a few years ago and how that financial center started with a wall the Dutch built in the 1700's. Really interesting.

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  35. Have I been to any Broadway musicals or plays? I think that list would be too long for a comment. :) I like to go at least once a year (sometimes off Broadway, too) but it does get a bit pricey. Not sure when I'll get to go again.

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  36. As close as we live to Manhattan (my fiance works there) I have to admit that I've never seen any musicals or theater productions! The museums, concerts, and shopping in the city are more our speed.

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  37. Hi Arlee! I LOVE learning about the history of a place or event...probably why I enjoy writing historical fiction for children...;~)

    Here's to another wonderful challenge! I have two blogs running this year...www.donnalmartin.com and www.kickskidsclub.blogspot.com

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  38. I would love to see Broadway outside and in. To see a Broadway Show... oh my I would be in total awe. I remember seeing a show on TV called the Bowery Boys.. my mom & gramma use to watch it all the time. It was a cool show. Thanks for sharing more history about the Bowery and Broadway! Very interesting.

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  39. Hubby refuses to take me, but one day I'll go. By limo if I have too. LOL I want to see a Broadway show, on Broadway!

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  40. I couldn't afford Broadway when I visited in 1989, but I did manage to make it an off-broadway showing of Sweeney Todd. I had never heard the story before and when it was over, I was left thinking 'What did I just see?' but the memory is still there.

    Mary
    Twitter: @KnottyMarie
    Literary Gold
    Jingle Jangle Jungle

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  41. YOur poterested in theater productions in the Manhattan Theater District....

    http://meotherwise.com/2016/04/02/beaches-and-taste-buds-atozchallenge/

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  42. Hi Arlee! I've visited New York twice from Australia and there is just so much to see I could visit again. We stayed a block from the theatre district but alas did not make a show. Thanks for sharing some history of New York with us. Sue @Sizzling60 from
    Sizzling Towards Sixty

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  43. I've never been to New York city yet, though I have passed that way on my way home from Niagra Falls on year. Oddly enough, I will be going to Rochester New York in a few weeks time, but I doubt I'll make it to t New York city. I'm not even sure how far away that is.

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    1. Jeffrey, I think NYC is still a few hours away from Rochester if I remember correctly. Not an area that I traverse with any frequency.

      Lee

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  44. During the 1960s I went to New York several times.I would visit my cousin on the lower east side. I even moved there for about a month but during a giant snow storm returned to Detroit. I've never been to a Broadway show. Been to a couple of museums, Central Park and the beach at Coney Island. I also rode the subway without getting lost and went to Harlem before it gentrified. Finding Eliza

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  45. Quite a bit of history you shared with us. Never been outside Jamaica yet. Island not Queens.

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  46. Many years ago when our boys were small we visited NY and saw Cats-here in South Africa we've seen a few live shows-and now I'm remembering les mid in London. Thanks for very interesting post Arlee

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  47. How fascinating! I've watched a couple of shows on Broadway. One of them was Machinal. It was very powerful.
    Good luck for the challenge.

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  48. I love the way cities and neighborhoods are able to reinvent themselves. I have seen several shows on Broadway and have heard of the Bowery, but don't think I have ever been there.

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  49. I have been to the Bowery Ballroom! Would love to catch a show on Broadway. I have seen the movie.

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  50. I have not been to Broadway but did watch Gangs of New York. Also, saw some shows at our theaters in San Francisco a few times. Fun post. I am enjoying learning about Manhattan!

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  51. Lee, I have not seen any musicals on Broadway. We passed through NYC on our trip to Maine in 2004 and it was dark. We couldn't see much with the curtain of night. It might have been nice to gone through during the daylight. I would like to visit NYC sometime and see all the famous sights I was dose while in the city. That would be so cool. I enjoyed the history shared in this post. Nice job and thanks for hosting the A2Z fun, my friend!

    Curious as a Cathy
    All Things Vintage: Bomber Girls #AprilA2Z

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  52. I would love to see a Broadway show one day! Doug Henning was hugely popular here in his home country of Canada. Did you know he ran for office a few times? It was shocking to learn of his premature death from liver cancer. Wasn't there an old movie series called "The Bowery Boys"? Great read, Lee. Very educational.

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  53. Growing up fairly close to the city I was lucky enough to see several Broadway shows. Phantom of the Opera was one of my favorites.

    Yvonne

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  54. I have been to quite a few theater performances but, haven't yet had a chance to go to a Broadway show. It is on my bucket list, though.

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  55. I think of the old movies with the Bowery Boys:). I have been to NYC and saw Cabaret in the old Studio 54 building. It starred Molly Ringworm and John Stamos( as the MC) and it wasn't bad. I have seen the Gangs of New York. It is quite the movie and wild that so much looked like it took place deep down in some caves

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  56. I've never been to Broadway but I've hard about it on TV. It seems to be a very glamorous place. I can see how your vist there in the last 70s was a treat for you :-) #AtoZChallenge

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  57. I am fascinated by big cities and wonderful to read about the amazing spirit of Manhattan:)

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  58. Never knew about this lovely place.. Thnks for imparting with such information.

    http://serendipityofdreams.blogspot.in

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  59. No for the first 2 questions and will soon see it for the last one! Loved this post! Seems like a great place.

    Ashmita Chatterjee
    Chaoticsoulzzz.wordpress.com

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  60. I used The Bowery, particularly its historic mission, in the earlier sections of one of my books. If I ever break even and start turning a profit with that book, I'd like to donate part of my proceeds to the mission.

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