Monday, July 7, 2008

Theatre Condos

I've been wondering why the old building on the corner of St. Marks and 2nd Ave recently received a swanky, brown-and-blue, Jonathan-Adleresque awning and renovated entrance. Now we know: This building has become The Theatre Condominiums.



Why theatre? Probably because, years ago, the independent, way-off Broadway St. Marks Playhouse was here. It was the one-time home of the Negro Ensemble Company and later became the St. Marks Cinema.

Many will remember the St. Marks Cinema for its cheap double features. Jim Jarmusch was an usher there and shot scenes from his student film, Permanent Vacation, in the lobby. Later, it became a Gap and now it's Pizzanini (with wine bar, sort of). Kim's video used to be on the second floor. I got my videos there.

Here, a new resident enjoys her view of BBQ:




In this lengthy article worth reading from the Times, they visit the changing St. Marks of the early 1990s and ask some important questions:

"It was an odd day when, in March 1988, a Gap store opened up in space once occupied by the St. Marks Cinema. People on St. Marks Place laughed. What, they wondered, did the Gap have to say to the anarchistic spirit of St. Marks Place? What was next, Bloomingdale's?"

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, you are missing out on a great egg cream from Gem Spa, which I enjoyed yesterday. But I sure wouldn't want to live on that corner...

Jeremiah Moss said...

gem spa is a treasure, but i go to ray's on ave a for my egg creams

L'Emmerdeur said...

"Here, a new resident enjoys her stunning view of BBQ".

Classic.

She better hope her windows are hermetically sealed, because the stench from your average DallasBBQ travels at least a block in every direction. It is a rancid mix of rotting rat carcass, disinfectant and burning tire rubber.

Anonymous said...

No need to worry, BBQ will soon be replaced by another MCnally restaurant.

Anonymous said...

The East Village is lame. I wouldn't want to even be an old time resident and live there anymore, it makes me puke to be around the trust fund hipsters and corporate drones who wear suits by day and skinny gray jeans and skin tight pink t shirts by night.

Hipsters: if you are reading this, you are lame and a bunch of sheep that believe in nothing but the latest trend. Your brain does not belong to you. Go back to Seattle, Los Angeles or wherever you hail from.

RustySharpedge said...

My friends used to live in this building...until a couple years ago. It was just another simple, affordable apartment building then. I think I've been in that same apartment where the model is looking toward BBQ.

"Theatre Condos": It's so ridiculous. Like "Hit Factory Condos" in Hell's Kitchen. Naming something dead and idle after something that was once alive and vibrant.

catt55 said...

good to know I am not alone. I've lived across the street from the soon to be (re)inhabited "theatre condos" and recall the old St Marks Cinema AND even The Gap which in retrospect was a step up (and then later a step down when it closed) for the 'hood. Hey that was when they made clothing I could actually wear - hey we all need to get dressed -not the current trend of doll-sized clothing for women and men. speaking of which if I did not have my south facing back of building apt over 600 sq foot 6th floor walk up apt - rent stabilized - I would have had to leave ages ago. Now it's just painful. I leave early in the morning to go to teach in da Bronx (my place of birth) and come home at night to hide out in my apt. other than going to the gym and the occasional meal out - NOT on weekends however! - in my usual local eateries who know my face from so many years - I fantasize about finding a decent place that I could afford to buy since in about 10 years I will be officially an old lady. yikes! must we all decamp to florida (ugh) or the 'burbs from whence we ran?!? many of my fellow non-mainstream artistic ilk left years ago when they saw the writing on the wall and could no longer afford to live hand-to-mouth in that good ole true bohemian way - and make art, theatre, etc - when the rents went up and everything else got commercialized. Each day is another smack in the face for those of us still here. Please not another frozen yogurt store!!!

Joshua said...

Jeeze, the pictures of those yunnie kids in the new condo are very disturbing, especially the boy in his empty apartment on the computer. Besides his fashionable clothes and his laptop (and presumably a huge flat-screen TV somewhere) he has literally nothing in his million-dollar apartment (he probably doesn’t even have a bed, since all that ecstasy makes sleep unnecessary). No personalization, nothing cultural or educational--he doesn't even have a comfortable chair! Is this supposed to be the ideal modern lifestyle?
It makes me think of one of the passages in the wsws.org’s review of the SATC movie, which I thought was very apt for the yunnie culture in general:
“No one lives as the women in the series and film do. Or no one should have to, at any rate. This unrewarding life centering on shoes and wealth and weight, without culture or charm or genuine warmth, seems joyless and a punishment for the most part.”