It was only a matter of time after the property hit the market in August, but yesterday came the news: photographer Jay Maisel has sold 190 Bowery, the iconic former bank building at the corner of Spring Street which he famously purchased in 1966 for $102,000. The buyer, fittingly, is crazed developer Aby Rosen, who if you don’t know, taste this quotage from the Times on the 190 Bowery deal:
“The building is in terrible shape. There’s no heat, Jay lives in just a small area of the building, another winter is coming, and it was time,” said Mr. Rosen, who spent six months cajoling Mr. Maisel into selling the home. “When you own a property for that long, and you are not a real estate professional, it takes a lot of convincing.”
190 Bowery is known by many as the famous street art building, as seen in the above photo and again in the photo essay that Nathan Kensigner shot for Curbed last month chronicling the death throes of The Bouwerie. For some of us who love the internet and its creators, though, the building’s iconic status was marred by Maisel’s severely misguided 2011 lawsuit against Waxy.org’s Andy Baio for remixing the cover art to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, which Maisel shot. (Eternal credit to the unnamed street artist who later plastered Baio’s remixed album art all over 190 Bowery.)
Personally, 190 Bowery never fascinated me as much as its neighbor to the west, 11 Spring Street, another former street art shrine better known back in the day for the eerie white candles that lit up each window at night (to say nothing of its past as an Ice House). 11 Spring fascinated me so in the early days of Curbed that a neighbor to the building, an art gallerist who’d just moved in across the street, struck up an email correspondence with me, offering to be Curbed’s daily eyes and ears on the 11 Spring beat. Which is how I became friends with Ms. Jen Bekman, who now runs 20×200.
The candle mystery long since solved, 11 Spring went under the knife in the latter part of last decade, having passed into and then out of the hands of Lachlan Murdoch before emerging as — but of course — luxury condos. The same fate appears to be in store for 190 Bowery. And with it goes a bit more of the magic of this once-magical corner of Nolita. Quoth the Rosen, Winter is coming.