Bowery House flaunts flophouse past while appealing to chic visitors

October 13, 2011 09:00AM

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The Bowery House and one its cubicles

There’s no better symbol of the gentrification of the Bowery than the Bowery House, according to the New York Times, whose third and fourth floors offer chic hotel rooms for young, hip visitors above a second floor flophouse. Located at 220 Bowery, the Bowery House was known as the Prince Hotel when it was built in the late 1920s and packed 202 cubicles and a clerk’s booth on three floors with shared utilities.

Around 1999, Click modeling agency co-owner Joey Grill bought the structure intending to create a dorm-like housing for models and actors. He stopped accepting new tenants, moved the remaining ones to the second floor and leased the top floors to a non-profit homeless services agency called Common Ground.

Recently, Grill was approached by foreign entrepreneurs Sanford Kunkel and Alessandro Zampedri who had a similar idea to Grill’s original concept. They renovated the upper-floor cubicles and outfitted them with custom-made mattresses, designer towels and bath robes. Those upper rooms opened this summer and rent for between $67 and $129 a night. Meanwhile, nine tenants remain on the second floor paying $10 a night to reside in run-down cabins and use bathrooms with missing stall doors.

But Kunkel, who celebrates and shows off gritty reminders of the building’s past, likes the unrefined images guests take in as they pass through the second floor, according to the Times, and includes those aspects in the Bowery House’s brochure. [NYT]