Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Well it's 1969 OK

Thanks to the EVG readers who pointed out this post via @NYTarchives... showing Gem Spa (Gems Spa then) on the corner of St. Mark's Place and Second Avenue circa 1969...


Headline H/T

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

The WONDERFUL 60'S in the Village. What could be FINER?

Eden Bee said...

I feel like I could buy some really bunk acid there!

Donnie Moder said...

GEMS SPA.

Peachy McPeachface said...

Looks more like 1939 than 1969.

Anonymous said...

Great shot! Any info on the Deli one door to the south?

2ndAveSilverPanther said...

@10:14 AM - I've lived across the street from Gem Spa for several decades, and that Deli was gone when I moved in in 1974.

Anonymous said...

Any hints as to a bar called "R.O.K." that was in the area, maybe closer / nearby to where the Anderson Theater was located?

Anonymous said...

Having lived nearby I don't recall the the GEMS Spa being an *anchor* for the punk music scene at that time. CBGBs was the obvious anchor of that scene. After shows people went to Veselka or more likely the 24 hour Greek place on Astor Pl which is now occupied by a Starbucks. I'd say most music fans were attracted to that corner of St Marks due to the Free Being vinyl record store which was two doors away from the Gems Spa.

Giovanni said...

In the 1980s the deli next to Gems Spa, which may have been called Victory Deli, was a place called Hunam Taste Fast Food (thats Hunam with an M, rather than the more common Hunan with an “n”). Today 131 2nd Avenue (an address shared with Gem Spa) is Pauls Da Burger Joint, established 1989. So Gem Spa has outlived all of its neighbors since 1957, surviving fires, bankruptcy and several changes in ownership. Some things just belong to be exactly where they are.

Gem Spa is where you’d go to decide where you were going next. It was like a litte rest stop to pick up some gum or a paper or an egg cream on stops between Aztec Lounge, Downtown Beirut, or Lismar Lounge, or after seeing a show at the Fun Gallery, Gracie Mansion, ABC No RIO, the New Math Gallery, Pat Hearn, hanging out with Fab 5 Freddy, ERO, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, then off to see a show at The Ritz, or dancing at the Palladium, King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, The Cat Club. Or you could just check out the open air flea market on Cooper Square, which was like a scene straight out of Calcutta. People would often recognize items that had been stolen from their apartments the day before, all for sale at a very afforable price.

It all ended after the 1987 Black Monday stock market crash, the death of Andy Warhol and then Jean-Michel Basquiat a year later. The AIDS crisis and the crack wars also took their toll. After that, nobody was spending money on art or much of anything else. The Village got quieter, and suddenly you could easily catch a cab since they were all empty. Many of the big clubs shut down, and smaller spots without cover charges or bouncers opened up. While we lost art and culture, we gained a moment of relative quiet and sanity. It didn’t last for long.

Gojira said...

When CBGBs shuttered at 4 AM, the two places my friends and I would always make a beeline for were either Kiev, or the 24 hour Wo Hop down in Chinatown. Never knew who you might walk in and see there, one time we went and members of AC/DC were chowing down on snails in black bean sauce.

Giovanni said...

@Gojira. Kiev and Wo Hop (but never Wing Fat) were the places to go, and ocassionally Empire Diner on the West side, before it got too fancy and expensive, or down to Odeon or El International, later called El Teddys in Tribeca, with their blue margaritas and giant Statue of Liberty crown sitting on top of the building. The owner also ran Tortilla Flats, which recently closed. And on those really crazy nights we would drive out to Coney Island and eat at Nathans in the snow,

Anonymous said...

But CBGB didn’t open til ‘73.