New York Songlines: 8th Street

with St. Marks Place

6th Ave | Macdougal St | 5th Ave | University Place | Broadway | Lafayette St (Astor Place) | 4th Ave (Cooper Union) | 3rd Ave (St. Marks Place) | 2nd Ave | 1st Ave | Avenue A (Tompkins Square) | Avenue B | Avenue C | Avenue D

8th Street was once seen as the division between uptown and downtown, as 14th Street is today.

St. Marks Place is named for St. Mark's-in-the-Bowery, the church (two blocks north of the street) that started out as the Stuyvesant family's private chapel.

The song ''Alex Chilton'' by The Replacements envisions the rock legend ''checking his stash in the trash at St. Marks Place.''









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South:

Corner: The Barnes & Noble here used to be a B. Dalton's.

60: Crown Jewelers

58: Toosh

56: The new home of Economy Foam & Futon, founded on the Lower East Side in 1937

52: Was TLA Video, which stood for Theater of the Living Arts, a company founded by Andre Gregory (of My Dinner With Andre). It's like the Kim's Video of Philadelphia; this was their only New York store.

This is also the address of the Independent Theater.

The video store was the 8th Street Playhouse, billed as the "first 100 percent cinema" ever. Upstairs, starting in 1933, was the studio of legendary art teacher Hans Hoffman.

In the basement is Electric Lady Studios, built by Jimi Hendrix (who lived across the street), used by Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Clash (Combat Rock). The annoying protagonists in Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist end up here. Was The Village Barn, underground farm-themed club; in the book My Sister Eileen, Ruth and Eileen McKenny took the Brazilian navy here.

50: Insomnia Cookies are open until 3 a.m.

48: Mondini was Enz, shoe store that displayed Sid Vicious' boots.

46: Smoke Shop, head shop formerly known as Magic.

44: No Style clothing

42: Fashion Shoppe Express

Love

40: This hideaway has a long history: In 1929, Village character Romany Marie moved her tearoom here; Buckminster Fuller, a regular, designed the decor for her. Later it was Don Julio's, a Latin dance club, then Bon Soir, a cabaret where Barbra Streisand and Woody Allen performed as unknowns. After that it was Le Jardin, an elite gay club, followed by a bar called W. 8th. After a $2 million makeover, it's now a house music club.

38 (corner): Cassioppia tattoos and piercing, named (kinda) for Andromeda's mom in Greek myth; Two Toots tobacco shop; Good Sense head shop; Exe'x, rock gear.


S <===   MACDOUGAL ST

32: Versailles clothing was 8th Street Bookshop, classic Beat bookstore; Bob Dylan was introduced to Allen Ginsberg here in 1964. Also Paints & Prints.

28: 8th Street Wine Cellar, wine bar; was Todd Walsh Shoes/Mandala Tibetan. Poet Edwin Arlington Robinson lived here from 1922-27.

24-26: Built in 1838 by merchant John W. Alsop, these townhouses were later converted into artists' studios. 26 is Untitled clothing; 24 is Is-Wine, helpful wine shop.

22: Sanmaroo, Korean

20: Butterfly, T-shirts etc.

18: Andy's Chee-Pees, vintage chain founded 1977, was Freaks Lounge, head shop. Philosopher Randolph Bourne died at this address in the 1918 influenza epidemic; Bourne is best remembered for the phrase "war is the health of the state."

New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture

8-12: The buildings date to 1838, converted to one house and a gallery for Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1931; it became an early incarnation of the Whitney Museum in 1936. The school was founded in 1964 and moved here shortly thereafter.

4: Here was a stable converted into a gallery by John Taylor Johnston, an early art collector.

Two Fifth Avenue

This behemoth, which destroyed the house that inspired Henry James' Washington Square, helped spark Village preservation movement. Former Mayor Ed Koch, feminist politician Bella Abzug and gay writer/activist Larry Kramer have lived here. Fountain to right of front door fed by Minetta Brook, a now-underground river that used to meander through Washington Square Park and the Village.

The north end of the block was 8 5th Avenue, the site of New York's first marble mansion, built by John Taylor Johnston in 1856. The Metropolitan Museum of Art was organized here in 1870, with Johnston elected its founding president. Writer/cartoonist James Thurber lived there in 1935-36.

On the ground floor now is Brown Harris Stevens, real-estate firm that dates to 1873.

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Gray's Papaya

Food Porn: Gray's Papa Strikes Back by LarimdaME on Flickr

Corner: Notable hot dogs, tasty and super cheap.

65: Dae Sung Sports Cap & Hat

61: Was Fun House, "Quality Rock 'n' Roll Gear"

57: Saga Shoes (formerly Shoe Central), one of many shoe stores along 8th Street (though many more have shut down, victims of the kind of over-specialization Jane Jacobs describes in The Death and Life of Great American Cities, which she illustrates by talking about, of all places, West 8th Street, whose strip of nonstop restaurants had died because all you could do here was go to a restaurant).

55: Was Skechers--at an address where guitarist Jimi Hendrix supposedly lived in the late 1960s. (This has been disputed.)

53: Enrica Lossi shoes

51: Aliyan clothing

49: Make 10 shoes

45: Desire, bar & grill featuring glowing white jade bar, opened here in 2009. Space was daBhang Cafe, loungey coffeeshop. Upstairs since 1978 or so was Revolver Records, aka Revolution Records, specializing in vinyl LPs, bootlegs, and Beatles memorabilia. Robert Plant supposedly shopped here. Closed around 2005.

43: Mind Boggler shoes. This was Alice McCollister, restaurant noted in the 1939 WPA Guide.

41: Lomography is a store for pre-digital cameras, including the model made by the Soviet firm Lomo.

39: Da Vinci shoes

37: Uncle Sam's Army Navy

35: Was House of Nubian, Afrocentric store. From 1976-84 it was Mamie's ice cream parlor.

33: Elettaria, stylish restaurant/bar named for a kind of cardamom. The first floor and basement were Joel Heller's Eighth Wonder, a groovy 1960s club that hosted bands like Vanilla Fudge and Curtis Knight & the Squires (featuring Jimi Hendrix). Upstairs was Psychedelic Solution Gallery, a founder of the "Indie Gallery" scene. The opening of a Zap Comix show here in 1989 drew over 7,000 people. Earlier it was the 8th Street Gallery, where in 1942 the Audubon Artists, a group whose members have included Andrew Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish, Isabel Bishop and Paul Cadmus, held their first exhibition.

31: From about 1938-65, this was the site of Sam Davis's Delicatessen and Dining Room; Eleanor Roosevelt is said to have been a regular customer. A college paper in 1958 wrote of four "undernourished" students getting the "Student Special" here: "four enormous hunks of salami, dill pickles, mustard and four huge slices of French bread"--all for a total of $1.

29: Smoke Express Underground was Village Shoe Revue; upstairs is L'Impasse, quality slutwear.

27: Petit Peton; people who can distinguish among the many shoe stores on this block seem to like this one. This used to be the site of the Washington Square Book Shop.

25: Sushi Yawa

19: Stylish Shoe is on the site of Three Steps Down, which was a cheap cafeteria for artists and NYU students. The steps, unfortunately, are gone.

17: Was Saga Shoes. This was the address of Mary Louise Cecilia "Texas" Guinan, speakeasy hostess and self-proclaimed "Queen of the Nightclubs." She supposedly had a solid-gold bathtub here. Madonna portrays her in the movie Hello Sucker.

15: Cho-Cho San, Japanese named for the title character of Madame Butterfly, is a successor to Taste of Tokyo, which closed on 13th Street after 29 years. Critic Edmund Wilson lived here in 1916.

11: Eva's Restaurant & Supplements, since 1978

7: Was Rugged Sole shoes

Marlton Hotel

5: Jack Kerouac wrote Tristessa here; Lenny Bruce stayed here during his obscenity trial (1964). Ecuadoran President Galo Plaza was born here in 1906 (his father was a diplomat). Valerie Solanas was living here when she shot Andy Warhol. Actors from Lillian Gish and John Barrymore to Julie Andrews and Mickey Rourke have called it home. Now a New School dorm. Kinway Shoes on ground floor.

1: A Plus Jewelry

Corner: Le Pain Quotidien, bakery chain


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South:

One Fifth Avenue

NYC - Greenwich Village: One Fifth Avenue by wallyg on Flickr

Corner (1 5th Ave): Built in 1926 as an Art Deco hotel, designed by Harvey Wiley Corbett; now a co-op. Poet Sara Teasdale committed suicide here January 30, 1933. Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe used to live in one of the penthouses. On the corner is Anthology Floral Design. The restaurant here was One Fifth, featured in Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors; now Otto, gourmet pizzeria.













4-26 (corner): These buildings date back to 1834, but were converted to fanciful Tudor-style apartments intended for artists by Harvey Wiley Corbett in 1916. Max Eastman, editor of The Masses, lived in No. 12 in 1917; from 1930 to 1935, E.B. White lived at No. 16 on the third and fourth floors; accused spy Alger Hiss lived at No. 22 from 1947 until his perjury conviction in 1950. No. 8 is the offices of the Village Alliance business improvement district.

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Brevoort Apartments

18-APR-07 by clemente, on Flickr

Corner (11-15 Fifth Ave): Built on the site of the Brevoort Hotel, a Bohemian hangout from 1854 to 1948. Among its guests were Eugene O'Neill, Isadora Duncan, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Lincoln Steffens and Theodore Dreiser. Banquets were held here for Margaret Sanger, indicted for distributing birth control information, and for Emma Goldman on the eve of her deportation to the Soviet Union. The American Labor Party was founded here in 1936. The setting of Joe Gould's poem "The Barricades," in which "the Comrades die--of overeating." Torn down in 1948 because it couldn't be brought up to code.

Musician Buddy Holly lived in the apartments in 1958-59, from his marriage until his death. He recorded what are known as The Apartment Tapes here. Carmine DeSapio, last boss of Tammany Hall, also lived here.

9: Furry Paws pet supplies

11: World of Nuts & Ice Cream

13: Happy Mart, formerly New Village Market. In 1888, Century editor Richard Watson Gilder lived in an earlier building here, with many visiting writers and artists. Novelist Thomas Wolfe described it as a "delapidated old building" when he lived there in 1925, starting Look Homeward, Angel.

19: Writer John Cheever lived at this address in 1941.

21: Was Frankie's Tropical Club.


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South:



Cantor Film Center

36 (corner): NYU facility converted from a commercial cinema in 1998 by Davis Brody Bond. It opened in 1938 as the Art Theatre.

38: Cafetasia

Corner: Johnny Rockets burger chain


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46 (corner): Ricky's, funky cosmetics chain. Site of apartment where Jackson Pollack lived (1933-45), in latter years with Lee Krasner. Pollack knocked down a wall here to make a huge mural for Peggy Guggenheim.

52: Burger Creations was La Mia Pizza, L'Impasse clothing.

54: Games Workshop, fantasy war games using elaborately painted miniatures.


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Georgetown Plaza

Georgetown Plaza by edenpictures, on Flickr

60: This building is way too big.










Corner: This was the site of Sinclair House, a hotel where Horace Greeley, William Cullen Bryant and future president Grover Cleveland used to hang out.

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Lafayette Apartments

21 (corner): The building that used to have Dallas BBQ is built on the site of the Hotel Lafayette, a hangout for better-off bohemians; it appears as the "Cafe Julien" in Dawn Powell's The Wicked Pavilion. The owner of the Lafayette, Raymond Orteig (who also owned the Brevoort), put up the prize money for flying across the Atlantic that Charles Lindbergh won.

33: Australian, fancy ice cream chain

35: girlprops.com, cool costume jewelry; Daikichi Sushi, raw fish chain. Site of the Subjects of the Artists School, a short-lived art school formed by Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell and Clyfford Still.

37: Crumbs was Tsakiris Mallas, fancy shoes

39: At this address, which no longer exists, was The Club, a late 1940s-50s debating and drinking space for abstract expressionists. Artist Robert Motherwell called it " de Kooning Party headquarters."

41: Was Wheels of London, funky shoes

49: Big Bag was Lee Baumann, friendly lingerie and dancewear store

53: Was bang bang, guy-getting clothing

55: Was Warehouse of London, more clothes












63: Aerosoles, more shoes

65: Broadway Panhandler, housewares, was Wet Seal, fashion chain

69: AC Gears was 8th Street Lab, ravegear

Corner (757 Broadway): Sbarro, Italian fast food, has Village-themed murals. Site of F.A.O. Schwartz's first toy store.


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South:

N/R Train to Union Square

Astor Place Hotel

Corner (13 Astor Place): Was the Mercantile Library Building, designed in 1890 by George Harney; it housed the Chinese consulate in the 1920s. Later the District 65 Building, housing for more than 50 years a union, eventually affiliated with the UAW, that organized everyone from University of California teaching assistants to Village Voice writers. It went bankrupt in 1993.

Astor Place by Martin Haesemeyer on Flickr

Earlier on this site was the Astor Place Opera House, which was stormed by a mob on May 10, 1849, in what came to be known as the Astor Place Riots. The rioters objected to a performance of Macbeth by Charles Macready, an English Shakespearean actor who was viewed as more elitist than the crowd's homegrown favorite, Edwin Forrest, who was playing Macbeth elsewhere at the same time. More than 30 people were killed in the riots, which were put down by the 7th Regiment National Guard.

The newsstand on the east end of the block is the first one to get the Voice every week-- a more important fact before the apartment ads were on the Web.

6 Train to Bleecker Street

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Wanamaker's

Astor Place North West by David Reeves on Flickr

Former depart- ment store (1907- 1954) designed by Daniel Burnham, Flatiron's architect; center of New York shopping in early 20th Century. (It's one of the things a sailor wants to see in On the Town.)

For a long time, the former store housed the DMV. Now it's a Chase branch and a K-Mart, among other businesses.

David Sarnoff, future president of RCA, manned the American Marconi radio station atop this building, where he relayed news of the 1912 Titanic disaster to the Hearst papers. (Sarnoff later falsely claimed to have been the first person in the U.S. to receive word of the shipwreck.)








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South:

The Alamo

Tilted black cube is a 1966 sculpture by Tony Rosenthal; he's reportedly amused that spinning the cube on its pivot has become an East Village tradition, so give it a whirl (if there aren't people sleeping under it).

NYC - East Village: Astor Place - Alamo by wallyg on Flickr

The statue of Samuel Cox now in Tompkins Square Park was originally here. Before Lafayette Place was extended to meet Fourth Avenue, it was the site of Little St Ann's Church.

This area was once a crossroads of Indian trails, and it's become a gathering place for annual anti-Columbus protests.

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Astor Place Subway Kiosk

6 Train to Union Square NYC - East Village: Astor Place Subway kiosk by wallyg on Flickr

Many of the IRT subway entrances used to have Parisian-style kiosks on top, but the MTA decided to get rid of them all. This one was recreated in 1986 when the station below was being renovated. The beaver tiles in the station are a reference to John Jacob Astor, who made his fortune trading beaver furs for the hat industry.






W <===       ASTOR PLACE                        

S <===               COOPER SQ W / 4TH AVE               ===> N

South:

Cooper Union

NYC - East Village: Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art by wallyg on Flickr

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art was established as a free college in 1859 by Peter Cooper, who ran the first U.S. railroad (the Tom Thumb), helped lay the trans-Atlantic telegraph cable and invented jello. The Union is the oldest steel-framed building in United States, using Cooper's railroad rails. Cooper Union's Great Hall, dedicated to the free discussion of public issues, was site of Abraham Lincoln's "Right Makes Might" speech (1860); other speakers over the years have included Mark Twain, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony and presidents Grant, Cleveland, Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, Wilson and Bill Clinton--not to mention Barack Obama. The NAACP was founded here in 1909.

In 2013, the greed and incompetence of Cooper Union's administration led the board to vote to begin charging tuition, scuttling Cooper's vision of a free college.

The northeast corner of this block, on October 14, 1888, was the site of Manhattan's first recorded Mafia hit, when Carlo Quarteraro stabbed to death Antonio Flaccomio, who had cooperated with police in breaking a counterfeiting ring.

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Cooper Union Engineering School

Cooper Union Engineering Building by edenpictures, on Flickr

Formerly part of the uni- versity founded by inventor/ philanthropist Peter Cooper. Cooper Union sold the land, the less-than-inspiring structure engineering school was replaced by a futuristic 13-story building designed by Fumihiko Maki. This site used to be the American Bible Society, which distributed bibles by the tens of millions.

Note the eagle sculpture salvaged from the destruction of Penn Station.













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South:

St. Marks Hotel

NYC - East Village: St. Marks Hotel by wallyg, on Flickr

2 (corner): Was Valencia Hotel; good place for a covert rendezvous. Featured in James Leo Herlihy's 1971 novel The Season of the Witch. Self-destructive punk rocker G.G. Allin lived here. Shops on ground floor where you can get your genitalia pierced by a guy who sells baseball caps (and wigs).

St. Marks Ale House ("since 1995") used to be The Five-Spot, a legendary beat jazz club that moved here in 1962.

Trash & Vaudeville

trash and vaudeville by jenn l., on Flickr

4: Glam clothing store, opened c. 1971. Earlier, from 1967, it was Limbo, an influential boutique--see No. 24 below. Before that it was the Bridge Theater, where Yoko Ono and other Fluxus artists held "happenings." Police busted the theater in 1965 for screening Flaming Creatures, and again in 1967 for the burning of an American flag. The building dates from 1831; novelist James Fenimore Cooper lived here on and off between 1834 and 1836.

Mondo Kim's

The great Kim's video, my home in nyc for a year by tekbassist, on Flickr

6: Was a mecca for hard-to-find videos and music--now relocated to a much smaller space. Was The Modern School--an anarchist school with Emma Goldman on the board. Later Saint Marks Baths, most popular gay bathhouse in NYC; closed in 1985.

8: Was the office of Madame Van Buskirk, New York's second-most prominent abortionist in the 1860s and '70s. The Nether Side of New York said that her "den in St. Marks Place has long been known as one of the most infamous places in the metropolis." Later, after abortion was criminalized, the site of the New York Cooking School; opened here by Juliet Corson in 1876, it was the first U.S. cooking school. By 1888 this was an Italian restaurant, La Trinacria, where Antonio Flaccomio, the first recorded victim of a Mafia hit in Manhattan, had dinner with his murderer before being stabbed to death by Cooper Union.

10: The St. Nicholas building

12: Gama, Korean, was San Marcos, Mexican; earlier it was Siren, some kind of club; preceded by the @ Cafe, an early Internet bar; before that it was St. Marks Books. Built in 1885 for the German American Shooting Society; note insignia on facade.

14: Sarah's Gifts Ltd.

16: The Manhattan building used to house part of Sounds (see below). Also Royal Unisex Haircutting. Good Dog at St Mark's Place by ritwikdey, on Flickr

18: Good Dog, cafe with a big cartoon dog sitting on its awning; was Multimedia 1.0, computer games.

Dan Leroy House

20: This house built for Dan Leroy, a Stuyvesant in-law, in 1832--see plaque. Grassroots Tavern, down-to-earth bar, is on the ground floor; upstairs is Sounds, new and used record store where many of my CDs ended up when I was burgled. A great store nonetheless.

22: Mamoun's Falafel's original location on Macdougal Street was estblished in 1971; this branch opened recently. Was a tattoo parlor; before that NYC Japan.

24: Pinkberry, an addictive frozen yogurt chain, is in the old Dojo space, which was a very cheap, Asian-inflected diner that began as an ice-cream parlor selling flavors like Panama Red and Acapulco Gold. From 1965-67, this was Limbo, a boutique that dressed rock and countercultural stars like Janice Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, the Velvet Underground, New York Dolls, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Abby Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Alan Ginsberg and Andy Warhol. Designers like Hubert Givenchy, Halston, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger are said to have come here for ideas--or merchandise. Earlier here were offices of the Children's Aid Society.

28: Was Underground Uplift Unlimited (UUU), a head shop that produced buttons and posters with slogans like " Make Love, Not War"--from 1967-71.

30: Go Japanese restaurant. Abbie Hoffman invented the Yippies in a basement apartment here, where he lived with his wife Anita in 1967-68.

32: Falafel House. Note pink caryatids. I briefly dated a lovely woman who lived here.

34: Khyber Pass, Afghan. More caryatids. The members of the band Deee-Lite used to live together in this building.

34 1/2: Very Berry, Pinkberry competitor; was Freaks, alternative T-shirts.

36: Fifth Wheel, rocker accessories; Village X T-shirts.

Gem Spa Magazines

NYC - East Village: Gem Spa by wallyg, on Flickr

Corner: The newsstand that is (erroneously) said to have invented the egg cream. The first New York Dolls album cover featured a photo taken here.

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Corner (23 3rd Ave): King's Magazine, all-night newsstand. DJ Lenny M's Music World, mix tapes and CDs, has a niche here.


















5: Yakitori Taisho, cool Japanese restaurant; Ian's fantasy clothing

7: Klong, industrial Thai; was Religious Sex, fetish fashions now online.

9: OH! Taisho was In the Woods, things made of wood. Included Phenomenature, crystal and mineral boutique. Upstairs is Sing Sing Karaoke.

St. Marks Comics

11: For serious comic book readers and people who like plastic toys. Used as the exterior of the video store in Men in Black II. Also Japas, hidden karaoke bar.

13: Was The Iron Fairies, Australian metalcraft, candles and soaps. Until recently housed a series of music stores (Joe's CDs, 13 CDs, Venus Records). Before that it was the original home of St. Marks Books. In 1964, after his obscenity trial, comedian Lenny Bruce lived in the building. In 1959, novelist Robert Stone had an apartment here. by minusbaby, on Flickr

15: Je'Bon noodle house at various times used to be Coney Island High, prime punk venue in the 1990s where Iggy Pop, Ramones, Beastie Boys etc. played. Earlier was Green Door NYC and Boy Bar. Long ago was Paul McGregor's Haircutters, said to have originated the Shag haircut.

17: Mandala Tibetan Store. On this site starting in 1885 was the Hebrew-Christian Church, for converting Jews to Christianity.

Arlington Hall

Arlington Hall by edenpictures, on Flickr

19-25: These buildings built in 1833 became a German musical club, later known as Arlington Hall. The hall was famous for a shootout in 1914 between Dopey Benny Fein's gang and Jack Sirocco's mob; Fein's managing to kill only one elderly bystander spelled the end of the Jewish mob's reign in the neighborhood.

The site became the Polish National Home, known as The Dom, which turned into a popular bar. Later the psychedelic Electric Circus, featuring Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable with the Velvet Underground, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Blue Oyster Cult etc.

The Electric Circus' owner died and left the building to the club's coatchecker, Joyce Hartwell, who turned it into the All-Craft Center, a community rehab center. In 2003, it underwent a drastic renovation to turn it into mall-style franchise space; it now houses St. Marks Market grocery store; Grand Sichuan, popular local Chinese chain; and, for a time, a CBGB's nostalgia outlet. The brick is recycled from an old mill upstate.

Search & Destroy clothing is in the one part of the hall that wasn't redone. IMG_1833.JPG by occam, on Flickr

Below is Kenka, a punky Japanese restaurant. The bear-like animal in front is actually a tanuki, or raccoon dog, believed in Japanese folklore to have magical shapechanging powers and a fondness for sake.

Perched atop the structure is a much more modern-looking luxury condo building; Helen Mirren is said to have lived here.

27: The Sock Man, the place for socks; Medusa Tattoo. Was the Children's Aid Society's Girls' Lodging House.

29: Bull McCabe's bar, formerly Finnian's Rainbow but is it zen for the fish? by jspad, on Flickr

31: Zen Noodle Cafe, with giant upside-down fish on the roof. Was The Pit, fetish store. Also St. Marks Deli Grocery.

33: Rockit Scientist Records, used and new CDs with an emphasis on the pyschedelic. Used to be Smash and briefly Norman's 2; earlier was Manic Panic, a punk rock boutique that spawned a cosmetics line. Dan Aykroyd owned Ray's Occult Books here in Ghostbusters II. Andromeda Tattoos, upstairs, is noted for its disturbing mannequin. The Velvet Underground listened to the master of their first album here in 1966, in the apartment of poet Lewis Warsh. BAMN! automat by Alaina B., on Flickr

37: BAMN!, a new automat-style restaurant.

Corner: Was the St. Marks Cinema; residents unsuccessfully fought replacement with Steve's Ice Cream. Steve's became a Gap outlet, which then closed. Now a pizzeria and JAS Mart, a Japanese food court/grocery/video store. Kim's Video used to be upstairs; now St Marx Cafe.


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South:

Corner: Was Dime Bank

40 1/2: Porto Rico Importing, fine coffee beans since 1907.

42: Cafe Tibet NYC - East Village: First German Methodist Episcopal Church by wallyg, on Flickr

48: Iglesia Metodista Unida Todas Las Naciones (Church of All Nations). Was First German Methodist Episcopal Church.

52: The Hebrew National Orphan Home expanded into this property, which shares a rear courtyard with its original 7th Street facility.

58: Site of the Ladies' Hebrew Lying-In Society, a maternity center founded by the United Hebrew Charities in 1877.

60: Expressionist Joan Mitchell lived and painted here in 1951-57.

62: Church of St. Cyril includes the Slovenian Cultural Center

66: Site of St. Mark's Hospital of New York City, incorporated 1890.














Theater 80 St Marks

Theatre 80 St Marks by warsze, on Flickr

80: You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown premiered here. Later a repertory cinema, sorely missed. Now home to the Pearl Theater Company. Note sidewalk prints of Joan Crawford, Gloria Swanson, Jane Russell, Myrna Loy, Kitty Carlisle, Dom DeLuise et al.

Corner (131 1st Ave): Foot Gear Plus--closed?

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Dallas BBQ by mag3737, on Flickr

Corner: Dallas BBQ, cheap eats. In May 1997, a Danish woman was arrested here for leaving her baby outside in a stroller while she and her boyfriend ate inside.

41: Cafe Orlin has good food.

45: Was the address of Open Space, an avant garde theater company.

51: Was 51X, an art gallery opened in 1981 that helped create an East Village art scene. Specialized in graffiti art. Its door, tagged by the likes of Keith Haring, Basquiat and Johnny Rotten, sold for $15,000 in 2000.

57: Unitas Institute, mental health services. In the 1980s, Keith Haring and Ann Magnuson performed here at Club 57.

65: Jules, Left Bank in the East Village

Holiday Cocktail Lounge

75: Was a classic dive bar opened in 1965 by legendary bartender Stefan Lutak, a former Ukrainian soccer player who fought at the Battle of Stalingrad. Not for the casual drinker. Was Auden's home away from home; Frank Sinatra was also a regular. Supposed to have inspired the Madonna song "Holiday." Lutak died in 2009, at the age of 89 or 90; his bar continues.

La Palapa

New York by DrinkMoloko.com, on Flickr

77: Though the name means "beach hut," this Mexican is pretty fancy--and plenty tasty. This is where we go on special occasions. The basement was home to Russian-language left-wing paper Novy Mir, where Leon Trotsky worked when he lived in NYC in 1917, just before the Revolution. Poet W.H Auden lived here from 1953-72.

81: Temple, spiffy Korean; Cafe Rakka, really good couscous.

83 (corner): Stromboli Pizza, named for a Sicilian volcano.


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South:

Corner (132 1st Ave): Tribe; used to be St Marks Bar. In the video for "Waiting on a Friend," Mick Jagger and Keith Richards meet the rest of the Rolling Stones here (after Mick waited for Keith on the stoop of the Physical Graffiti Building).

94: St Marks Theatre, a small basement stage. Upstairs is Fun City Cappucino & Tattoo, New York's oldest tattoo parlor--opened in 1976 as a private studio.

Physical Graffiti Building

Physical Graffiti brownstone NYC by beeez, on Flickr

98-96: Building with carved faces was featured on the Led Zeppelin album cover (though the album photo edits out one floor). No. 98 houses Physical Graffiti boutique; No. 96 has Starfish & Jelli, clothing, accessories and gifts; was the home of Sabotage, an anarchist bookstore in 1989-90 that was a spinoff of the Anarchist Switchboard.

100: Dumpling Man is tasty.

102: J1Toy.com is a Japanese toy store with a fine collection of stuffed totoros; replaced Mojo Guitar Shop. A gallery for the sidewalk artist De La Vega replaced NYC Route 666 Cyclewear, formerly House of Uncommons and Nasty Habits. On December 23, 1974, a white supremacist died upstairs in a shootout with police; in his second-floor apartment were found an arsenal of guns and plans to hold hostages at the Statue of Liberty.

104: Notre Dame School; Polish & Slavic Center

110: Paprika, affordable Italian; Crooked Tree, delicious crepes. Note actual crooked tree.

116: Ukrainian Native Faith--a pre-Christian religion.

118: St. Dymphna's, Irish-style pub, named for the patron saint of mental illness. Great spot for a pint or a bite.

120: Was the Cave, an artist collective's squat that was evicted in 2006. Jim Power, who's done mosaic art throughout the East Village, was one of the residents.

122: St. Marks Flats housed Global Trance aka House of Trance, psychedelic store. Now Holyland Market, Israeli products.

124: Bua, a bar whose name is Irish for "Victory." Formerly Noa--a tiki bar. Used to be Sin-e, cool Irish rock bar where Jeff Buckley used to play every Monday.

126: Why Curry?

130: Whole Earth Vegan Bakery; Bello's, Italian, was Falafel Star. The poker scene in the film Stranger Than Paradise was shot in this building. Playground & Sushi Lounge by edenpictures, on Flickr

132 (corner): Sushi Lounge was Friends 2 Sushi; before that Alcatraz, a biker bar. Nice-looking red building.

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North:

Simone by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (134 1st Ave): Simone Espresso and Wine Bar. Either way blood flows.... Building dates to 1872.




93: The Little Missionary Day Nursery has been here since 1901. It's a terrific school--great people, great philosophy, great attitude. Yaffa by Delphien Experiences, on Flickr

97: Yaffa Cafe, late-night hang-out. The mural outside is a self-portrait of the co-owner; is she screaming or yawning?

101: Cafe Mogador, frequent belly dancing; East Village Books and Records has gotten many boxes of my used books. Building was home of poet Ted Berrigan (1970s-1983).

103: Village Acupuncture. This was the home of New Wave singer Klaus Nomi when he died in 1983, one of the first celebrities lost to AIDS.

107: Commodore Uriah Phillips Levy, who fought anti-Semitism and abolished flogging in the U.S. Navy, died in his house at this address March 22, 1862. He also bought and restored Jefferson's estate at Monticello.

109: Hummus Place is said to have the best hummus in town (was Woorikiri Korean Japanese Smoothies); Sympathy for the Kettle teahouse was Michanna Fine Tea.

111: Cry Wolf boutique was Tatiana Consignment Cafe; OmegaASH boutique. Jodean's was once here, run by Jodean Tipton, who conducted fashion tours of the neighborhood.

113: Jenny's Cafe, featuring bubble tea; Crif Dogs, cool hot dog joint (noted for its "Eat Me" sign), was for years a Rasta "record" shop. The phone booth here is the entrance to a secret speakeasy, PDT ("Please Don't Tell").

Eat Me by Delphien Experiences, on Flickr

115: Was Australian Homemade, terrific ice cream from Down Under

117: Was Apollo Braun, hipster clothing store now on Orchard Street; before that Garospard, club kid fashions.

119: Luca Bar, a spinoff of Avenue B's Luca Lounge. Was Fortuna Ristorante & Bar; formerly Name in Progress. There used to be a great lingerie store here called Saturday Night.

121: 10 Degrees, wine bar named for the proper temperature to store wine (in celsius, of course), replaced Morrisey Park, a bar named for the place in Champaign, Illinois, where the owner had his first beer. Used to be Openair, a very cool, barely marked bar with trippy video art.

125: Belgian Room, serious beer bar



129: Hop Devil Grill, an ale house, was Stingy Lulu's, a 1950s diner with drag waitresses. My sister has never forgiven me for taking my niece there once when she was 11.

131: Nino's Pizza, decent slices and Italian ices. A post-playground hangout.


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The western boundary of Alphabet City

Tompkins Square Park

tompkins square park 4438 by korafotomorgana, on Flickr

Named for Daniel Tompkins, governor of New York (1807-16) and U.S. vice president (1817-25), a populist who abolished slavery in the state of New York. In 1801, when suffrage was restricted to white males with property, he obtained money for a group of mechanics to buy a lot and obtain the vote.

Once a salt marsh owned by Peter Stuyvesant--known as Stuyvesant Swamp and favored by snipe hunters-- the park was drained and developed in 1834. The site of bread riots in 1857 and draft riots in 1863, it was leveled in 1866 and turned into a National Guard parade ground. Neighborhood protests resulted in the re-establishment of the park by 1879; part of the redesign was by Frederick Law Olmstead, but most of his plan was not implemented. By 1916 a detective identified the park as "a hangout for petty strong-arm men and petty thieves." The park was reconstructed by Robert Moses in 1936.

Tompkins Squirrel by edenpictures, on Flickr

The bandshell erected in 1966 was a venue for concerts by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead--not to mention the first incarnation of the drag festival Wigstock. When 38 people were arrested for playing conga drums, a judge threw out the charges, citing "equal protection for the unwashed, unshod, unkempt and uninhibited."

In August 1989, murderer Daniel Rakowitz served soup to the homeless here that may have contained the remains of his roommate Monika Beerle.

Struggle over the homeless encampment in the 1980s led to the August 1988 police riot, when 44 were injured by cops with taped-over badge numbers. After the Memorial Day Riot in 1991, Mayor David Dinkins closed the park for 14 months of renovations, including the destruction of the bandshell. Park now has midnight curfew.

Hare Krishna elm tree

Hare Krishna Tree by Ara Alexis, on Flickr

An old elm in the plaza near the center of the park is considered sacred to the Hare Krishna religion, being the site of the movement's first outdoor chanting ceremony outside of India. The ceremony was performed in 1966 by Krishna Consciousness guru Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada; one of the participants was poet Allen Ginsberg.


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South:

St Brigid's Church

Corner (119 Avenue B): The name is one of the few surviving reminders that this was long ago an Irish neighborhood. In recent years, it served a mainly Latino congregation. Closed and slated for destruction, a victim of the archdiocese's post-sexual abuse scandal financial troubles, a huge last-minute donation seems to have saved it from the wrecking ball.

308: Was ABC Garden/Jardin--bulldozed 1996. According to the music history Love Goes to Buildings on Fire, music critic Robert Christgau was living here in 1974 when he first started working for the Voice, in an apartment that may have been previously tenanted by guitarist Richie Havens.

318: Was home to jazz composer David Amram.







Corner: Multi-colored brick building was a bad idea.

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North:

Newsboys' and Bootblacks' Lodging House

295 (corner): Formally known as the Tompkins Square Lodging House for Boys and Industrial School, Childrens Aid Society, designed in 1887 by Central Park architect Calvert Vaux. Later a synagogue, Talmud Torah Darch Noam; then the East Side Hebrew Institute, which future actors Ron Silver and Paul Reiser both attended. Now apartments. In the basement is the yoga school Ashtanga Yoga Shala, in the space that was the original home of Jivamukti Yoga Center, now the largest yoga center in the U.S. Says one of the current yoga teachers: "Sharon Gannon, co-founder of Jivamukti, used to stand on the steps to the door with green hair and her leg behind her head. David Life, the other co-founder, had written on those steps, 'don't do drugs, come to yoga instead.'"

303: Offices of the Segue Foundation, publisher of avant garde poetry; artists' housing.

311-313: De Colores community garden

317: B'nai Moses, former synagogue

319: One of the first squats on the Lower East Side was here; demolished by police, 1989.

327: A radical squat with international occupants.

337: Address of 8BC, center of the East Village club scene from 1983-85; everyone from Karen Finley to They Might Be Giants played here.

Corner: Rebecca's Bakery


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South:

356: Ingrid House, built 1835

Firemen's Memorial Garden

364: Dedicated to firefighters who died in the line of duty, in memory of Marty Celic who died fighting a fire in a tenement on this site on July 2, 1977.

Green Oasis/Gilbert's Garden

370: Gilbert was the garden's founder; some cool folk art here.

394: Lilli's Court apartments

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North:

Corner: Police building features an exhibit of artifacts found in an excavation of a former privy on the site-- at what was No. 365.






391: Childhood home of movie star James Cagney, who was born in 1899. Only the front wall remains of the original building.

393-395: Iglesia Bautista Evangelica


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Jacob Riis Houses

A large public housing complex built in 1949. Named for a Danish-born photojournalist whose work documenting New York tenement life, especially his book How the Other Half Lives, helped inspire slum-clearing.





Is your favorite 8th Street or St. Marks Place spot missing? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell him about it.

New York Songlines Home.

Sources for the Songlines.

An online excerpt from Richard Perez's novel The Losers' Club features a detailed walk down St. Marks Place.

A Walk Down St. Marks Place gives a good visual idea of the street.

Topography: St. Marks Place is a collectively produced guide to the street's drinking establishments.

The Songlines' Facebook Fan Page.

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