I've been wondering why the old building on the corner of St. Marks and 2nd Ave recently received a swanky, brown-and-blue, Jonathan-Adleresque awning and renovated entrance. Now we know: This building has become The Theatre Condominiums.
Why theatre? Probably because, years ago, the independent, way-off Broadway St. Marks Playhouse was here. It was the one-time home of the Negro Ensemble Company and later became the St. Marks Cinema.
Many will remember the St. Marks Cinema for its cheap double features. Jim Jarmusch was an usher there and shot scenes from his student film, Permanent Vacation, in the lobby. Later, it became a Gap and now it's Pizzanini (with wine bar, sort of). Kim's video used to be on the second floor. I got my videos there.
Here, a new resident enjoys her view of BBQ:
In this lengthy article worth reading from the Times, they visit the changing St. Marks of the early 1990s and ask some important questions:
"It was an odd day when, in March 1988, a Gap store opened up in space once occupied by the St. Marks Cinema. People on St. Marks Place laughed. What, they wondered, did the Gap have to say to the anarchistic spirit of St. Marks Place? What was next, Bloomingdale's?"