6. The Bowery Ballroom
Interior bar at Bowery Ballroom
While unassuming from the outside, The Bowery Ballroom on Delancey street can be seen as a microcosm of the economic roller coaster that was the later half of the twentieth century. The structure was built just before the 1929 stock market crash, so due to some bad timing it was vacant until the post World War II economic boom. To serve the new consumer society, the space became a department store. Then, as the city fell into borderline bankruptcy in the 70s, the space fell into decline. It opened as the music venue it is today in 1997. In fact, if you go down to the basement, you can see the remaining brick features of the 1929 theater. Also, all the brass rails and iron exterior metalwork in the venue are from the original theater. Read more about the history here.