“This is a street that predates Manhattan. It has been one of the finest addresses in the city and it has been skid row, and now it’s changing again,” said Bill Wander, offering an extremely brief history of the Bowery.
We were standing with Mr. Wander, historian for McSorley’s Old Ale House (yes, McSorley’s has a historian), in the Bowery Hotel, surrounded by other historians, preservationists, punk rockers, poets, Italian bakers and many a downtown bar veteran who had gathered to celebrate the Bowery’s recent listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
“I turned the penthouse of The Bowery in to my studio … I have a studios in Paris and L.A., so I go back and forth,” Domingo Zapata said as he moved intimately among a crowd of familiar faces. If upstairs was the studio, then the second floor of the hotel was his gallery space. Large canvases of his art, all paying homage to American pop culture, were on display—works exhibiting a distinctly playful nature, exemplified best by a painting of Superman flashing a peace sign, proclaiming he was available for hire.
“I love sharing my work with my friends. It’s intense, but good.”
With friends like his—a bevy of beautiful muses including the likes of Kim Kardashian, Eva Longoria, Lindsay Lohan and attendee Sofia Vergara—he’s not exactly lacking in inspiration.