Thursday, August 8, 2019

Time capsules: The Gap of St. Mark's Place



An anonymous commenter left the link to this YouTube clip on yesterday's post about the northwest corner of St. Mark's Place and Second Avenue being for rent.

From 1988 to 2001, the Gap was in that retail space.

A YouTuber named Steve Haskin created this video — "circa 1997" — on St. Mark's Place between Second Avenue and Third Avenue...conducting interviews with passersby about the Gap's arrival. (At this point, the store had been there for nine years already, so...)

In any event, the four-plus minute clip is an entertaining time capsule (#tbt!) ... and a document showing how much the block has changed these past 20-plus years...



Previously on EV Grieve:
When the Gap moved into the East Village

28 comments:

noble neolani said...

That was delightful.

Anonymous said...

Love love LOVE this!

Anonymous said...

As any sort of commentary on either the Gap, or St. Marks Place, or anything for that matter, this video is an abject failure. However as a random sampling of local scenery in that moment in time, it is an unintentional little masterpiece and an utter delight and thank God for all such people with enough initiative to record and edit anything in those days, with those big clunky old cameras and videotapes!!!

Giovanni said...

Every time is see Dojos I want to grab an outdoor table and order a soy burger dinner for $2.95.

PJ said...

I was in a band with the girl with the purplish hair and pigtails. Lisa Darrow Badawi. She played drums and guitar.

What a nice surprise to see in that video.

Anonymous said...

If you want to go down an EV 80s rabbit hole, I recommend checking out the 5 9th Ave project on YouTube. It's a treasure trove of everything fabulous.

Gojira said...

Religious Sex! God, I had not thought of that place in years; I used to buy my Mother / Jackie 60 / Click & Drag wardrobe there. The stuff they had was amazing!

MrNiceGuy said...

this made my day, thanks to whoever posted the clip in the original thread!

Anonymous said...

I worked at that Gap for I think a total of 3 days. :)

I have commented about this in past years' posts about this store but I fondly (gag) remember the manager opening her big black binder by the cash register and asking me, "What are you wearing today that's Gap?" That would be the first question asked every morning. I was dirt poor so I would say, "Nothing." I was admonished to wear something Gap in order to represent.

I asked for an advance so I could buy something that was Gap so I'd be in compliance but no dice.

I quit after three days but will never forget that weird time in my life. :)

Mickey Paul said...

Such great social commentary ! Even as recent as 1997 !!!

Anonymous said...

Long before the Gap, back in the Sixties, it was the Naked Grape.

Mickey Paul said...

THE GAP WAS MOT THERE IN 1988, MORE LIKE 1995

test said...

Kim's video!

KeithG said...

I lived on St. Marks Place between 2nd and 3rd for 25 years. Lenny Kaye lived in my Building for awhile, as well as Kier and Dimitri of Deelite.

Ay white Amelia. said...

That’s that )p, that song oh hired speaker Kinney hahah
people still sign dis sad song in Otha reaches o this universe as de facto sign o de times crypto nite on schmal town screens they wash dem jeans thru and thru dna yo gap screens wilder means it’s a small town scoops dream copied right

Plunge said...

I remember how that Gap used an older, retired Gap logo on its signage to try to make itself look hipper. You could call its opening a massive fail, but in truth, it was a massive harbinger.

Arthur Nersesian said...

Arthur Nersesian, I used to work at the St. Mark's Cinema located there previously. When the Gap opened, a group of us stuck a bottle rocket between the glass doors and lit it. When it sailed into the clothes, I thought, oh shit! If it lights the place on fire, we're all going to jail. Fortunately it did not.

Anonymous said...

Love it!!!!

Anonymous said...

holy crzap is the punk at @2:15 jasper mcgandy from the hunt/home sweet home? if so, dude has been on the BOULEVARD a long time!

Ray said...

🙌🏼

Anonymous said...

This was great! Would love to see other videos of the area from the past...

Patrick Hambrecht said...

Oh wow, that purple-haired lady is Lisa Darrow-Badavi! She was the cashier at See Hear (pictured), the finest zine store in the world, and super funny / cool. Great guitarist. We played together in a ton of bands — Rock Rock Chicken Pox, Redemption Army, Flaming Fire. I really miss her, completely disappeared after her divorce. If you see her, tell her to drop me a line.

Patrick Hambrecht said...

Hey, me too! Did your name used to end in 5?

The Angry Otaku said...

By 1997, St. Marks was already quite ruined and a parody of itself. It was a theme park ride for people who would take the train in from NJ or LI.

Anonymous said...

1997 was the second year the East Village and NYC in general was cheesy.

Giovanni said...

Lol. People always say that St Marks Place is dead. In fact if you’re saying that now it’s the first sign that you are finally getting old.

The 90’s was a time of change on St Marks Place, one that pushed aside the leftover 60s hippies for a younger generation with more diverse interests. Ada Calhoun sums this period up in her book, and reading it makes me nostalgic for a time before smartphones, when ‘Zines were still a thing, when the Internet was a place where your browser always crashed, email was next to impossible to set up, and dialup was the norm, and the fastest connection was at alt.coffee which had one of the few T-1 connections around. The excerpt:

‘St. Marks Place in the nineties was so many things at once. After the Tompkins Square Park riots, in the late eighties and early nineties, the police more or less succeeded in evicting the anarchists who had for years colonized the park. In their wake, St. Marks Place saw the most diverse social scene in its history. It was as if the apex predator had been eradicated, turning the region into a playground for a wide array of beta species. St. Marks in the nineties was a place where you could geek out any way you wanted. You could join forces with the nerds of St. Mark’s Comics, the skaters doing kickflips at the Cube, or the indie kids leaving secret messages for each other in Xeroxed zines at St. Mark’s Bookshop.

By that point, the sixties bohemians, once the block’s stars, had become colorful extras in our play. Irving Stettner patrolled the neighborhood selling watercolors and his zine, Stroker, made up largely of letters to and from his friend Henry Miller; Adam Purple, a.k.a. Les Ego, biked around the neighborhood dressed in shades of violet; Jim Power, a.k.a. Mosaic Man, decorated the street’s lampposts with broken tiles. A white-bearded man known as East Village Santa walked the neighborhood in all seasons wearing red clothes; faced with a curious child wondering if he were really_ _Santa, he might pull a bouquet of flowers out of his jacket.

Stores like Sounds, Venus, and Kim’s, the one-stop mini-mall for music and movies, allowed every clique to realize its fullest self. If you were a Riot Grrrl, you could find Bikini Kill albums. If you loved indie music, you could stock up on Dinosaur Jr., Belly, and Guided by Voices. And if you couldn’t find enough of your kind walking up and down St. Marks Place, you could find your tribe online. The same year that Tompkins Square Park closed for renovation, the World Wide Web made its début. By 1993, St. Marks Place had its first Internet café, @ Café at No. 12.”

Scuba Diva said...

The Gap sucks out loud—but, I am nostalgic for the 70s jingle I used to listen to on 66AM WNBC radio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KizEsEnctU

I still have my "Fall Into The Gap" T-shirt from the late 70s with a heat-transfer picture of a guy falling into a pair of jeans headfirst, with his feet sticking out.

MLM said...

Santa Bill!!!
He was great