173 Bowery: A History

The location of the oyster bar, 1 Delancey, is an alternate address for 173 Bowery. The Bowery is one of the original main streets of New York City. The corner of Delancey and Bowery was a bordering corner of the DeLancey farm grid. The DeLancey farm grid was laid out by the DeLancey family in the 1760s. After the Revolutionary War, the property was seized by the state of New York due to James DeLancey’s support of the crown. 

After searching a number of public records from the 1800s and early 1900s I found some of the old tenants of 173 Bowery and a bit of history of the corner. Here’s some of the more interesting stuff:

1808 - The earliest tenant I found was at 173 was John Green, a watchmaker.

1825 - A tallow chandler (aka candle dealer) named Forbes Clapp did business at 173 Bowery.

1831 - Butchers and Drover’s bank

1839 through 1843 - 10th Ward Bank at 173, there are a lot of cool old bank notes floating around online.

1840 - One could purchase the delicious sounding remedy Taylor Balsam of Liverwort at this address.

1847 - Another bank, this one called the Bowery Bank. I wish I could see what the original building looked like.

1865 - Across the street at 172 Bowery, celebrated Victorian florist Adolph LeMoult set up his first shop

1876 - According to the book Important Events of the Century published ind 1876 F.A. Kent, a “manufacturer of all kinds of theatrical hosiery” was located at 173. Another name, R.B. Kent is also listed as part of the business. Later R.B. was part of mysterious missing persons case in Chicago.

1880 - A history of the detective published in this year mentions a Rufus Bordell, watchmaker, who died in a steamer shipwreck on his way to visit family in England, doing business at 173.

1888 - The owner of the nearby Custom House Saloon attempted to shoot and kill his wife in their apartment at 173. Lucky for her she survived and he was arrested.

1901 - MJ Kalashen sold trumpets and other horns and possibly produced them here.

1903 - Around this time a bunch of very aggressive pawn shop newspaper ads by a Morris A Forgotson started popping up for the address. Apparently his brother stole $14 in 1905.

1903 - There was a small fire in a publishing house on the 3rd floor of the building. According to the newspaper 30 hysterical girls stampeded out of the building trampling a few men on their way out. The damage was minimal.

1905 - The current structure was erected in the form of a white brick hotel building. There’s no indication what happened to the old building.

1908 - George Horn owned the hotel at 173 Bowery called the Bridge Hotel. According to an old newspaper story he was one of 14 men arrested in an illegal pool hall raid. He offered up the building as collateral to secure bail for himself and the other men. 

1934 - Hotel/Class B lodging house

1955 Luncheonette

1970s - Pool Hall