The walk from the subway station is pleasant: the rays of the spring sun feel warm and are arriving constantly, since the sky is cloudless; trees around me are blossoming, and there is not much traffic in the streets or people on the sidewalks. I have arrived in East Village, and I soon reach my destination: Saint Marks Place, one of the shortest streets of Manhattan. It actually is 8th St, but for the three blocks between Third Avenue and Avenue A, changes name and borrows one of the nearby St Marks church. I walk to Tompkins Park, turn around, and start exploring the street. Even if only three blocks, it would keep me busy for an hour.
Apart from the fine architectural style of the buildings, the main attraction of Saint Marks Place lies in the history behind those facades, the famous musicians, painters, and writers that have lived here, worked here, and/or used the street for recording their music clips or embellish their album covers. There are artsy stores, cafes and restaurants, and many buildings have housed a variety of stores or, for instance, baths in the history of St. Marks Place. Leon Trotsky lived here, it was featured in an episode of Sex and the City, and it has provided inspiration for authors and script writers.
The first notable buildings I come across, were two similar buildings on numbers 96-98: pictures of these were used for the cover of the Physical Graffiti album, by Led Zeppelin. Upon closer inspection, I see many sculpted faces on its exterior, I find iron fences, and fine decorations. It was also used by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards for a video clip for the Rolling Stones song Waiting for a Friend. As I walk down the street, towards the west, I pass countless other buildings with stories: former home of a filmmaker, a poet, a building that once housed a theatre, home of a former punk group, former home of a Russian-language communist newspaper that was discontinued after the Russian Revolution of 1917, a jazz club... If those walls could talk!
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Saint Marks Place (U.S.A.). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Saint Marks Place.
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