Bowery Mission

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The Mission's two buildings on the Bowery in 2013

The Bowery Mission is a rescue mission and men's shelter located at 227 Bowery between Rivington and Stanton Streets in the Bowery neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. It provides food, medical services and employment assistance to the working poor and homeless men women and children.[1][2] At night The Bowery Mission opens its chapel to serve as an emergency shelter for homeless men. In addition to these services, The Bowery Mission offers a long-term (6-12 month) residential program based on Christian Discipleship, providing homeless men the opportunity to rejoin society as working, contributing members.


The Bowery Mission was founded in 1879 by the Reverend Albert Gleason Ruliffson and his wife.[3][4] It was the third rescue mission established in the United States,[5] and the second in New York City.[2] The Mission is currently administered by The Christian Herald Association. In 1895 the Mission was bought by Dr. Louis Klopsch, owner of the The Christian Herald, to save it from economic distress; he also bought the building it was in, which up to that time had been leased.[2] Klopsch became the president, and the Mission was formally incorporated in 1897.[2][6] One prominent board member was Sarah J. Bird, a philanthropist who was known as "the Mother of the Bowery Mission" due to her long-time service to the organization from 1881 to 1914.[2] Supervision of the Mission went to John Greener Hallimond, originally from England, who introduced many innovative services, such as a home for women in Brooklyn, an employment agency and a breadline, which began in 1902.[2] With money left over from a food drive, Klopsch created a "Fresh Air Home" in Nyack, New York to get inner-city children into the countryside during the summer.[2]


The mission began in a small room at 14 Bowery, where it offered prayer services, and moved to 36 Bowery in 1880. In 1887 it moved to 105 Bowery until that building was destroyed by fire in 1898, at which time they moved to 55 Bowery. When that building was scheduled to be demolished to make way for the approaches to the Manhattan Bridge, the mission moved to its current location at 227 Bowery.[2] Today, the Mission also owns the building next door at 229 Bowery.[7]

In addition to the 227 Bowery location, Christian Herald Association, the parent organization, operates The Bowery Mission Transitional Center at 45-51 Avenue D in Manhattan's "Alphabet City", which provides services to working homeless men, in partnership with the New York City Department of Homeless Services. Commonly known as BMTC, or "Avenue D", it has been in operation for over 20 years and is regularly rated in the top 5% of the city's shelters, based on positive outcomes for the men serviced there.

The Mission's building at 227 Bowery was designated a New York City landmark on June 26, 2012. It was built in 1876 for James Stolts, an undertaker and manufacturer of coffins, and was designed by William Jose in the neo-Grec style. It was altered in 1908-09 for the Mission's use by Marshall L. and Henry G. Emery, who added the stained-glass windows on the second floor and remodeled the interior of that floor into a chapel in the Gothic Revival style.[2]



  1. ^ Moynihan, Colin (20 February 2011). "Woman Dies During Night on Sidewalk Near Church". New York Times. Retrieved 21 February 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Noonan, Theresa C. "The Bowery Mission Designation Report" New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (June 26, 2012)
  3. ^ "History". Bowery Mission. Retrieved 2010-06-28. In 1895, another pressing need caught Klopsch's attention. It seemed The Bowery Mission, established in 1879 by the Rev. and Mrs. A. G. Ruliffson, was in serious financial difficulty after its original superintendent died. 
  4. ^ "Mme. Alda Sings In Bowery Mission. Homeless Men Deeply Moved By The Prima Donna's 'Home, Sweet Home.' She Gets An Ovation. Bishop Darlington Of Harrisburg Takes Part In The Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration". New York Times. November 8, 1929. Retrieved 2010-06-28. It was the fiftieth anniversary of the Bowery Mission. The celebration took the form of prayers, ... Albert G. Ruliffson: a returned missionary from India. ... 
  5. ^ Mendelsohn, Joyce (2009). The Lower East Side Remembered and Revisited: A History and Guide. p. 261. The Bowery Mission, opened by Reverend and Mrs. A. G. Ruliffson at 36 Bowery in 1879, is the third rescue mission established in America. (Jerry McAuley s Water Street Mission, dating to 1872, is the first and, as the New York Rescue ... 
  6. ^ McConnell, Alexander; Fitt, Arthur Percy & Moody, William Revell (1910). Christian Work. The Bowery Mission was founded in 1879 by Rev. and Mrs. A. Ruliffson, and in 1895 was taken in charge by The Christian Herald, and incorporated in 1897. Dr. Louis Klopsch is the president, J. G. Hallimond, superintendent, and Mrs. Sarah J. Bird, the "Mother of Bowery Men."The work of the mission is most extensive, including the following activities: Rescue of men, assistance of poor families, establishment of the well-known "bread line," which in winter often feeds from 2,000 to 2,500 men each night, and a labor bureau for the unemployed. The new building is one of the finest in the world, a model of order, beauty and cleanliness, and has been planned to meet not only present needs, but more extensive work in the future. 
  7. ^ "229 Bowery, Manhattan" on the New York City Geographic Information System map

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