At first, this was meant as nothing more than an appreciation of some photos (via Getty Images) of the Electric Circus from 1968 ... with the original photo captions on the first three...
"Patrons at Electric Circus, 23 St. Marks Place, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, New York City. stops for check. Girls not wearing bras are admitted free on Sundays."
"UNITED STATES - JUNE 27: Transparent plastic bra strap, virtually invisible around back, gives a topless look to formal mini at the Electric Circus at 23 St. Marks Place, New York City. (Photo by William Quinn/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)"
"Fashionable crowd mill about outside the Electric Circus 23 St. Marks Place, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, New York City."
Then I started thinking about the reaction if this very same venue would open here today... A hot club promoter (in this case, Jerry Brandt) ... celebrities... crowds from everywhere showing up on St. Mark's Place... how would the community respond? No bra night?! Sounds like some stunt Superdive would have pulled. And look at that mob on the sidewalk! Call 311! (And what would those local bloggers write!) Has the influx of bars and jackasses and woo-wooing in recent years made us intolerant of any nightlife? Or maybe just some nightlife? Or a certain type of nightlife? (I can keep going with the vague rhetorical questions!) Regardless, I would have liked to seen this concept go before today's CB3/SLA committee...
Anyway, here are several more photos from the Getty archives... the Electric Circus closed in 1971... the address now houses a Supercuts and Chipotle ... as well as $17,000 apartments...
By the way, this wasn't meant as a history of the space... plenty has been written about it, including, but not limited to:
Jack Newfield Catches the Electric Circus Opening on St. Marks (The Village Voice)
FRIDAY NIGHT FEVER: The Electric Circus (The Bowery Boys)
Streetscapes / 19-25 St. Marks Place; The Eclectic Life of a Row of East Village Houses (The Times)
Live on St. Mark's Place for only $17,000 per month! (EV Grieve)