Slumming It: Myth and Culture on the Bowery traces the history of New York's Bowery from the 19th century to the present, revealing how the Bowery was instrumental in the evolution of New York as a modern urban city. Weaving interviews with historians and residents with archival images and motion pictures, Slumming It juxtaposes the present day Bowery with the historical characters, locations, and stories that formed the fabric of this important and (in)famous street. The film defines the Bowery as a meeting place of disparate historical subcultures, and examines their impact on the 19th-20th century transition between localized and mass cultural production. Consistently mythologized as an ethnic and working class zone of poverty, vice, and voyeuristic fascination, the Bowery's history suggests that American popular culture has continually emerged from these margins. Providing a framework for historical and social analysis, Slumming It seeks to delve into the sustained myth of the Bowery, while unraveling the history of the legendary street.
Written by Scott Elliott