The story behind 190 Bowery makes you realize that certain things can only happen in New York.
The six-story, stone, corner building was built in 1898, designed by Robert Maynicke. It was once the Germania Bank Building, and then a Manufacturers Hanover Trust Bank. But since 1966, it has been the home of photographer Jay Maisel, who bought the massive beast for a mere $102,000. At age 79, he apparently lives in it still, and conducts photography workshops to boot. If you have $5,000 and are interested in working from 9 AM to 10 PM for five days straight, with meals thrown in, you could gain access. (I'd do it, but I don't have $5,000 or anything Jay would call a camera.)
Given the tenant, it makes total sense that the darkened and sooty first floor has been given over the rampant, highly artistic defacement. I doubt I have ever seen graffiti so beautiful and varied as to seem almost planned, as I have seen on the ground floor of 190 Bowery. (And I am not a graffiti-loving person.)
As you can see in the final two pictures, Maisel is still in there, somewhere.