St. Marks Place in the East Village has been discussed and romanticized more than any almost any other street in America. It has been the site of films like Kids and Midnight Cowboy, and previous residents include radicals and visionaries like Andy Warhol, Emma Goldman and Lou Reed. With such a rich past, some might complain that St. Marks just isn't what it used to be.
Ada Calhoun's new book St. Marks is Dead challenges that notion. Born and bred on St. Marks, Calhoun traces the long and complex history of the street, which began long before the beats and the bohemians. She argues that although each generation living on St. Marks has lamented its changes, the street remains a hotbed of cultural mixing and urban life. Every era and generation has brought something new to the neighborhood, and Calhoun is sure that St. Marks will continue to be America's hippest street for time to come.
Today, you can experience the punk atmosphere of 1970s St. Marks, stop by Search and Destroyor Trash and Vaudeville, or grab a drink at Grassroots Tavern, a local dive bar which has had the same bartenders for years. As Calhoun writes in her book, St. Marks has recently become something of a "Little Toyko," bringing interesting restaurants like Jebon and Udon West.