|The Bowery is a palimpsest of New York City history. Characterized by a both continuity and change over four centuries ofEuro-American history, the Bowery is among New York's most architecturally diverse and historically significant streetscape. Its ancient, irregular route arcs through a later-imposed street grid, while four centuries of architectural resources continue to reflect its iconic place in American history and culture. This broad and distinctive avenue and its variety of associated buildings and sites remains a richly layered repository of social, economic, political, cultural and architectural history. The Bowery itself is one of the original roads of New Amsterdam and the first road connecting the nascent Dutch settlement to outlying lands and settlements beyond Manhattan. The Bowery was created by the builders of the city-not just physically, but economically, politically, and culturally. The first Free African settlement in New York was made on the Bowery, paradoxically, on a street also populated concurrently by the wealthy European gentry. As New York was remade as a city of immigrants in the nineteenth century, the Bowery became a catalyst and incubator of subcultural expression for the Nativist Bowery Boy as well as German, Irish, Italian, Chinese, and Jewish immigrants; entertainers and performers; Gay New Yorkers; the transient and homeless; and artists and musicians of the twentieth century.