• Since we live in this world, we have to do our best for this world. Aung San Suu Kyi

See 190 Bowery



The greatest real estate coup of all time.

It’s the American Dream as a house, a building that went from rags to riches on a street once known for its murders, now known for its centrality. Photographer Jay Maisel broke the bank when he bought the bank in 1966 for $102,000. Back then, the Bowery wasn’t a place you went so much as ended up, and the main floor (now a basketball court) was allegedly knee-deep in garbage and coated in soot, with “every single thing that can come out of a human body” left on the doorstep. Maisel’s parents cried.

Today, the bohemian castle may look deceptively decrepit on the outside, but inside it’s a dream. A home-made ventilation system (to deter the insane expense of what central air would cost in such a space) consists of a network of plastic tubing throughout the building. The original 1898 copper cage elevator still works, the second and third floor are gallery spaces, the fifth floor has various workshops (including a room dedicated to Mylar-window shades), the sixth floor has bedrooms, bathrooms, and the kitchen, and the roof a wowing view of lower Manhattan.

The family occasionally finds new rooms, and take-out is a “riot”, since no right-minded delivery boy believes such a hulk houses just four people.

Today, 190 Bowery is estimated of having a worth anywhere between $30 and $70 million, and is certainly in the running for best property snag of all time.

Care to take a look inside? Maisel teaches private photography classes in his home, but it’ll cost you $5,000.