Here’s a closer view of the facade of 295 Bowery and the iconic, ironic and grim skull and cell phone wheat-paste poster and skull-and-bones graf.
The building pictured above no longer exists. The tenement at 295 Bowery was torn down earlier this year by Avalon Bay Partners, a real-estate investment trust, as part of their multi-building Avalon Chrystie condo development that straddles Houston St. and the Bowery on the border of the East Village and Soho. The building was a haven for lots of graf and street art, none more symbolic than that the wheat-paste poster of a skull talking into a cell phone on the facade. The 295 Bowery building had been a decrepit structure for decades, but was actually still home to a few artists who were paying extremely low rents on what had become extremely valuable real estate. The building is also known as “McGurk’s Suicide Hall” because about a hundred years ago it was home to McGurk’s Saloon, which was often frequented by hookers and their customers. The saloon was the scene of many suicides by desperate prostitutes looking to escape the misery of the Bowery.
Ivan Corsa Photo