Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Exclusive: After 40 years, punk rock mainstay Trash and Vaudeville is leaving St. Mark's Place
Late last week we started hearing rumors that Trash and Vaudeville was leaving its home of 40 years at 4 St. Mark's Place.
Store owner Ray Goodman confirmed the move yesterday, telling us that if all goes well, Trash and Vaudeville will be selling its rock 'n' roll fashions and accessories from its new space at 96 E. Seventh St. between Avenue A and First Avenue early this fall.
[96 E. 7th St., site of the new Trash & Vaudeville]
"I love St. Mark's Place. There's no doubt it. There's something magical about it. This just isn't any block," Goodman told us on the phone. "The decision wasn't something that I took lightly. From a business perspective, we saw a shift in the clientele. The block is not as conducive for fashion shopping as it once was. Now it seems as if it's all food — fast food — and bongs. Even stores that aren't bong stores sell bongs."
He said that the changing business environment on the block between Second Avenue and Third Avenue was just one of many factors that played into the decision to relocate.
"The retail world is so different today," he said. "So much of it is done online."
And increasing rents are always a culprit.
"The rent is creeping up," said Goodman, who is a minority partner in the ownership of the historic Hamilton-Holly House at 4 St. Mark's Place. "Rent was a factor, but it wasn't the sole reason."
It also didn't help that the block will likely see protracted construction in the years ahead. For starters, the owners of the St. Marks Hotel directly next door filed plans late last fall to add six additional floors to the existing structure at 2 St. Mark’s Place and Third Avenue.
"I'll be in the middle of a construction zone for the next five years," said Goodman, who figures the Trash and Vaudeville storefront would be covered by a sidewalk bridge throughout the duration of the project. "Business is tough enough."
In addition, directly across the street, The Real Deal reported that real-estate investor Arthur Shapolsky is in contract to buy three properties at the corner of Third Avenue and St. Mark's Place: 23 Third Ave., 27 Third Ave. and 3 St. Mark's Place for some unspecified new development.
And there's just the history. "It has been 40 years. Maybe it is time to do a little facelift. Just try it," he said. "I wanted to make it to the 40th year. We made that."
During the heyday of punk, everyone from the Ramones to the Dead Boys did their shopping at Trash and Vaudeville.
"Me and Dee Dee would go there and try out the display clothing," Marky Ramone told The New York Times in 2013. "Joey had a problem finding pants to fit him and would always buy them there. He was 6-foot-5 ½ with a 36-inch waist."
[Photo from 1980 by Michael Sean Edwards]
Goodman believes that the block housing the new Trash and Vaudeville has a better retail variety. He cited the array of restaurants, as well as Big Gay Ice Cream, and shops such as Turntable Lab and Village Style, the vintage and consignment shop.
The new Trash & Vaudeville will incorporate three spaces at No. 96. (The address was previously home to Salon V and Angelo Lambrou's custom bridal gown boutique, both of which relocated to other parts of the city.) Overall the new storefront will have less space than on St. Mark's Place.
As for the business future of St. Mark's, he recalls opening the shop in 1975. "There were a ton of stores for rent," he said. "St. Mark's Place has always been a bit of a roller-coaster. I think it could come back with the right mix of retail."
Despite the relocation, Goodman, who lives on St. Mark's Place, hasn't given up on the neighborhood. He said that he looked into other areas to move the store, but nothing felt right.
"We're still in our natural environment. We're just a little further east," Goodman said of the new location, adding, "I love the East Village."