Windows on the Bowery

Cooper Union alumni and representatives of The Bowery Alliance of Neighbors came together on Tuesday evening, July 26th at 6:30 pm for a special tour of Windows on the Bowery, an exhibit in the Colonnade windows on the west side of the Foundation building .

The exhibit was hung in the Foundation building colonnade’s 32 windows with the posters facing outward so they could be viewed from the street.  The exhibit had 64 posters showcasing the history of notable places located on the Bowery between Street and Astor Place.  There was a complementary exhibit of the 64 posters inside the HSBC Bank at 58 Bowery, and each of the posters was posted in a front window of the building where a historic event took place or a famous person lived or worked.

Bowery Posters 1The Bowery is one of the oldest streets in the city of New York and it has been home to multiple famous people and famous buildings and famous events. Some of the famous buildings include NYC’s Oldest brick house at 18 Bowery, The Bowery Theater at 46 Bowery, Bulls Head Tavern at 50 Broadway, Bowery Savings Bank designed by Stanford White, the Tin Palace Jazz Club at 325 Bowery and The Cooper Union at Astor Place.  The famous people who have lived or worked on the Bowery include Stephen Foster, Irving Berlin and Henry Houdini.

The Bowery began as a Native American footpath and became a Dutch farm road (hence it’s Dutch name.) The Bowery is listed on the Register of Historic Places.

The goal of the exhibit was to display a large quantity of historical material in a contemporary and engaging way.  The goal was met by Cooper students, Charis Barrios A’16 and Sarah Purgett A’16 who worked under the guidance of Mindy Lang A’82, Creative Director in the Office of Communications, as part of the Professional Practice course.  They created an overall design that unifies the posters as a set.  Each poster has a large image that serves as a focus point that allows the viewer to easily recognize the historical figure or event.  The posters have smaller images and text.  The posters have large red lettering and a bottom band with the name of the exhibition.  While the poster subject matter varies from poster to poster, the design elements including color palatte and font choice hold the collection together as a set.  Charis Barrios A’16 and Sarah Purgett A’16 created the overall design and the first 24 posters for their class project.  The remainder of the posters were created by the Cooper Union Design Center.

Bowery Posters 2The talk and tour was led by Mitchel Gruber of The Bowery Alliance of Neighbors and Mindy Lang A’82, CU Creative Director  and adjunct professor.  The Project Director and Editor for Windows on the Bowery is David Mulkins, Founder and Director of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors.  He was present and answered alumni questions.

The project was sponsored by The Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, who provided the content and printing costs.   The historical material on the poster is the result of years of research and is the work of 18 writers.

After the guided tour, the group gathered at Jimmy’s No. 43, a craft beer pub on East 7th Street.

For an excellent article on the project, visit:

Mitchel Gruber, David Freeland, Judith Bernstein, Elizabeth O’Donnell AR’83, Mindy Lang A’82, Nils Anderson A ’94, Carol Wolf A’84, Sean Cusack BSE’98, David Gersten AR’91, Vincent Wai Him, Brian Rose A’79, Mary Lynch ChE’82, Jaime Vasquez AR’79.