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Upscaling DowntownFrom Bowery Saloons to Cocktail Bars in New York City$
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Richard E. Ocejo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155166

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155166.001.0001

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The Bowery and Its Bars

The Bowery and Its Bars

(p.19) Chapter 1 The Bowery and Its Bars
Upscaling Downtown

Richard E. Ocejo

Princeton University Press

This chapter provides a brief social history of the Bowery as told through the transformation of its bars and nightlife. It first examines how bars and nightlife corresponded to and helped along the Bowery's eventual gentrification before discussing how new bars and contemporary nightlife development have shaped community life in downtown neighborhood bars. A vignette of the people at Milano's Bar, a bar that has evolved alongside the changes occurring in the Bowery and the nightlife scene, is presented. Through an analysis of its multiple generations of customers, its bartenders, and its owners, the chapter reveals the tensions that have arisen from the bar's own transformation as a refuge for the homeless to a public gathering place for residents to a “dive bar” for young visitors. The reactions of the people at Milano's to these changes illustrate how urban forces have shaped a fundamental aspect of life for people in these downtown neighborhoods, namely, community socializing.

Keywords:   social history, bars, nightlife, gentrification, community life, bartenders, downtown neighborhoods, community socializing

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