Nicknamed “Satan’s Highway,” “The Mile of Hell,” and “The Street of Forgotten Men,” the Bowery was a synonym for despair throughout most of the 20th century. In Devil’s Mile, Alice Sparberg Alexiou traces the history of the thoroughfare to explain how it evolved from a street of high-end homes to an infamous stretch of flophouses and dive bars. From the origins of the “bouwerie” as a Lenape trail, to its deterioration, then rebirth in the 1990s, Alexiou bears witness to the old Bowery, and retrieves its disappearing memories.
Alice Sparberg Alexiou writes about New York City. With this lecture, she joins the elite three-peat club of Skyscraper Museum authors, following her book on The Flatiron: The New York Landmark and the Incomparable City That Arose with It (2010) and before that, Jane Jacobs: Urban Visionary (2006). Alexiou is a contributing editor at Lilith magazine and she blogs for the Gotham Center. She is a graduate of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and has a Ph.D. in classics from Fordham University.