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Monday, February 18, 2008

Bohemian Flavor of the Day

You could almost create a website just around St. Mark's Place. A few short blocks of this street has one of the most dynamic histories in the city. As I wrote in my posting, Physical Graffiti, June 14, 2007: " The street has been home to hippies, yippies, punks, political activists and protest marches, renowned bookstores, music stores and clubs (e.g. Electric Circus), graffiti artists, cafes, clothing shops, restaurants, bars, theaters, gangsters, and St. Mark's Church - physical graffiti well describes the street itself." St. Marks Place reflects the Bohemian flavor of the day.
When I first moved to New York, the East Village was one of the most exciting places on the planet - admittedly there were other locales where the violent transformation of the time was evident, but who cared? There was so much here, we could barely keep up.
The sociopolitical upheaval of the late 1960s and 70s was, like any other, driven by ideologies. And print media, i.e. books, newspapers and magazines, was the method to record and disseminate the ideas. In a pre-internet world, bookstores (and libraries) were the centers of information and had a very special, important role and their presence said a lot about a neighborhood or community. At one time, on 8th Street in the Village, one could find several bookstores on one block, including the famous Wilentz’s Eighth Street Bookstore. Bookstores were also typically independently owned, so each had a distinct character, and in many cases, a specialty.
St. Mark's Bookshop is very unique and one of the last remaining bookstores from that time. It was established in 1977 at 13 St. Mark's; from 1987 to 1993, they moved across the street to 12 St. Mark’s. Their current location is around the corner at 31 Third Avenue and Stuyvesant Street. They have more than 40,000 volumes specializing in poetry, literature, art, film cultural/political theory, philosophy and small presses - they carry many things that can not be found elsewhere. They are open every day until midnight. The owners, Terry McCoy and Bob Constant, have been with the bookstore since it opened in 1977 ...

2 comments:

Lucy said...

I hope they stay in business forever...

Brian said...

I hope so too - these are the type of places that make the city unique.