2 (corner): Was Valencia Hotel; good
place for a
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
St. Marks Ale House ("since 1995") used to be The Five-Spot,
a legendary beat jazz club that moved here in 1962.
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
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.
6: Was a mecca for hard-to-find
videos and music—it relocated to a much smaller space before closing. Was
The Modern School—an anarchist school
with Emma Goldman on its
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Very Berry, Pinkberry competitor; was Freaks, alternative T-shirts.
36: Fifth Wheel, rocker accessories; Village X T-shirts.
36 (corner): This Renaissance Revival building, built c. 1900 to a Louis Heinecke design, was by 1927 or so the final location of Auster's, the candy store that may have invented the egg cream.
From 1957 until 2020 this was the storied newsstand Gem Spa—named for Gladys, Etta and Miriam, the wives and an ex-wife of the two partners who started the business. It was a hangout in turn for beats, hippies and punks: Abbie Hoffman mashalled his Stock Exchange protesters here in 1967, the same year Robert Mapplethorpe bought Patti Smith an egg cream here to mark the beginning of their friendship. The first New York Dolls album cover featured a photo taken here.
Closed in 2020 after a long struggle with the economics of running a newsstand in a digital age; Covid was the final blow.