On the Bowery, Homeless to Hipsters Almost Overnight

Thursday, March 06, 2014

The Salvation Army is selling its outpost on the Bowery in Manhattan, for more than $30 million to a hotel developer. The sale caps the transformation of a street formerly synonymous with homelessness into a destination for luxury.

The Salvation Army’s community center is a 55,000 square foot, 10-story building. Last year, a different buyer paid $62 million - cash - for a collection of eleven nearby buildings.

Gentrification can move startlingly fast. But here - with high thread count sheets crowding out shelter beds - it seems to have skipped all the in-between steps.


More in:

Comments [10]


"Hipster" is such an overused label; almost as if anything at all that is new falls under the hipster umbrella. Perhaps "Homeless to High Class" would be a more apt headline. I understand language is constantly evolving and changing; implications and nuances, etc. But I can guarantee even the loosest definition of "hipsters" will not be moving into a building that was just purchased for 30 million dollars on Bowery. Hipsters don't even exist in Williamsburg anymore, despite the convenience of summing up an entire neighborhood in a label. "Euro-trash"...sort of. I know this isn't THE point of this article, but it is, after all, the headline.

Mar. 07 2014 03:21 PM
Muzzy Rosenblatt from NYC

There are still many residences for the homeless on the Bowery. They are just run well, helping people to achieve success, so you may not have noticed. BRC, project renewal, Common Ground and Bowery Mission to name but a few.

Mar. 07 2014 09:38 AM

MY UNCLE CAME BACK FROM WW II AFTER BEING A PRISONER OF WAR and it was the SA that helped him. My mother who was well versed in the SA spoke highly of the salvation army. I always tried to contribute even after i lost my job. The facility on the bowery was one I admired because some of us are blessed, fortunate, whatever, but I understood the goodness of the SA. They really try to help people;over the years I have looked into what organizations do and they are definitely good, along with others such as NY cares.

I just hope that a new facility will be nearby and that the money will be used in a productive way. 30 mil may sound like a lot but liviing here from the Bronx I know what prime real estate it is.

Homeless people, people in need, people who need encouragement, opportunity, are not one of a kind as I think the SA knows Joanne

Mar. 06 2014 08:14 PM
Carin from Chelsea

They moved to 25th St. & Sixth Ave. Same terrible management with lack of security. It seems more like warehousing than helping, given that there are over 300 beds and we have all sorts of issues with some of those supposedly being helped instead using the streets for all manner of things that don't include walking or pleasant chats. The shelter, which also functions as a treatment center is zoned as a hotel. No fun for this neighborhood!

Mar. 06 2014 03:14 PM
WR from East Village 27yrs. Now Astoria.

Inevitable. I got to the EastVllg in 1977. CBGB's was already singing it's swan song. My (hard-drinking, married, with 4 kids) Grandfather frequented vaudeville, off Bway & whorehouses along the Bowery, right up thru the late 1930's, where upon even he had to seek debauchery uptown. More than any other city in the world, New York thrives on change. It shouldn't be judges as "good" or "bad" It's urban dymnamism is why we all live here.

Mar. 06 2014 03:02 PM

Progress is all great and wonderful, but as a lifelong resident of NYC I am a bit saddened.

Watching funky interesting stuff like Cocteau Rep, Amato Opera, CBGB, the homeless shelter... be replaced with high end commerce and high end restaurants... its awful.

Its stuff for the rich, but in the end enriches no one. Does it instill art? Culture? Anything quirky, rebellious, visual, or of interest? No. Just high end amenities for tourists and the rich.

In a word? Yuck.

Mar. 06 2014 11:35 AM
Steve from C+9th

The bowery is gentrifying, but not overnight. This one property is going through a radical change, but so did the gas station up the street when it was converted into b-bar, over 20(!) years ago. In the meantime, change has been happening slowly but surely.

Mar. 06 2014 10:31 AM
Pearl from Long Beach

30 million can buy the Salvation Army much good.
Although I doubt they could afford another place in the neighborhood.
They can relocate to where they can be helpful. I would bet they have
a plan in place for that.
Driving with my family as a young girl I remember.seeing
drunk men laying all over the sidewalk in the Bowery.
This is a real symbol of change in NY.

Mar. 06 2014 08:24 AM

With so many new hotels in the area, it's unfortunate that the Salvation Army has decided to sell off this valuable property for yet another hotel. The Salvation Army presently services the homeless and poor. That is where the real need is. I would like to know what good use they will put the $30 million to??

Mar. 06 2014 08:22 AM
Gena Coll from Rockville Centre, NY

I think every resident of these new found upscale digs should adopt a homeless person.

Mar. 06 2014 08:06 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by