New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
High and Low Art
at inﬂuential theatre
—37-39 Bowery —
On this spot in 1833 stood the Zoological Institute, one of America’s first menageries. Expanding to include equestrian and circus acts, it became the Bowery Amphitheatre. Acts here included the famous clown W.F. Wallett, and “the great Lion Tamer” Issac Van Amburgh, believed to be the first to stick his head into the mouth of a lion.
On February 6, 1842, the Amphitheatre saw the first performance of the Virginia Minstrels, four Northern White men in blackface who created the first group minstrel show. An influential theatrical genre for over 100 years, minstrelsy was a supposed recreation of Southern Black music, dance and joke telling. Though it popularized a harmful parade of racist stereotypes, minstrelsy was nonetheless and institution through which characteristically American forms of music, song and dance emerged.
With the Bowery the mid-1800s cultural center of Kleindeutschland (Little Germany), the theatre changed its name to the Stadt Theatre. From 1854 to the early 1860s, it alternated between English drama and presentations of German classical music and opera. Many German works had their American
- Lenwood Sloan, Historian/Humanist and Co-author with Mick Moloney, Two Roads Diverged: African and Irish Americans and the Rise of American Popular Culture
Erected 2016 by Bowery Alliance of Neighbors.
Location. 40° 42.907′ N, 73° 59.795′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is on Bowery near Bayard Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10002, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Stephen Foster (within shouting distance of this marker); The Bowery Boys (within shouting distance of this marker); Lost New York Gem (within shouting distance of this marker); The Bowery Theatre (within shouting distance of this marker); George Washington Drank Here! (within shouting distance of this marker); NYC’s Oldest Brick House (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Birthplace of Modern Tattooing! (about 300 feet away); Renaissance-Inspired Bank for the Working Class (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
Regarding High and Low Art. One of more than 60 markers in the "Windows on the Bowery" series.
Categories. Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment •
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2019. This page originally submitted on December 5, 2018, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. This page has been viewed 41 times since then and 14 times this year. Last updated on April 17, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on December 5, 2018, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. 7, 8. submitted on December 10, 2018, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.