Ada Calhoun's "St. Marks Is Dead: The Many Lives of America's Hippest Street" makes its official debut on Monday… and there's a free book release party at the Cooper Union Great Hall from 6-8 that night…
The evening includes a talk from Calhoun, free beer from Brooklyn Brewery and live music from a cover band that includes Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys…
The book — a narrative history of the street — has received a good deal of press of late, including a cover story in The Village Voice and a feature in the Guardian UK.
I spoke with Calhoun, who was born and raised on St. Mark's Place, about the in-progress book in March 2013. (EVG is among the many people quoted in the book.)
Here's an excerpt from that interview from March 2013:
Any common themes emerging so far?
"The thing that I kept running into [were] people saying that there was this golden moment on the street when St Mark's was really itself and reached its full promise on this date and for these five years there was no better place in the entire world. It was the heart of culture — the center for music, art and poetry," she said. "People would describe passionately how it was so vibrant and they were so alive, then it died this horrible death."
For instance, Jack Kerouac biographer Joyce Johnson said that St. Mark's was all over in 1974 when someone flipped a cigarette into her son's stroller.
Another person Calhoun interviewed said that the scene died in 1974. Someone else said that all started in 1974. She also heard that the block reached its peak in 1978. Not to mention 1980. And so on.
"I'm really curious what's going on now. Basically my theory right now, based on doing this book, is that everyone was wrong. Everyone who thought it was dead was wrong," she said. "So people who think it's dead now are probably wrong too. My theory is that people coming out of karaoke bars or yogurt shops ... this is going to be some new wave of culture that we don't know about and won't even know about until it's over."
You can find a recap of the book event at the Observer here ... and the Guardian UK here.
Previously on EV Grieve:
St. Mark's Place is dead! Long live St. Mark's Place!