METRO interviewed me, writing: When people talk about the three-block strip that is St. Marks Place, it’s often with a “there goes the neighborhood” sigh, nostalgic for the beatnik days in the ‘60s and rock ‘n’ roll days in the 1970s. But Ada Calhoun’s new book, “St. Marks Is Dead,” which tells the history of the street from the 1600s to now, shows that people have always had the feeling that it was “better before.” Read the whole thing here.
Thanks to Kirkus Reviews for running this great Gregory McNamee feature: “Nobody goes there anymore,” the late Yogi Berra once said of a New York nightspot, adding, by way of explanation, “It’s too crowded.” It’s in that light that the title of New York journalist Ada Calhoun’s lively new book St. Marks Is Dead: The Many Lives of America’s Hippest Street should be read: for generations, she notes, the residents of “America’s hippest street” have lamented that its last, best days were sometime before the present, when rent was cheap, the wine flowed freely, and peace and love prevailed in the streets. Read the whole thing here.
St. Marks Is Dead: The Many Lives of America’s Hippest Street, by Ada Calhoun (W.W. Norton, November 2). St. Marks Place just hasn’t been the same since the artists left, or the anarchists, or the Lenape. This three-block free-for-all, currently dominated by crude T-shirts and cheap sushi, has always been the subject of some old-timer’s nostalgia. Calhoun, who grew up there, wisely makes the strip’s perpetual over-ness a core theme. Another is its never-changing status as a free zone for an ever-changing misfit parade. It was home to Warhol happenings, sure, and dirt-poor artists and savvy ragpickers, but also to Emma Goldman, Leon Trotsky, Ukrainian dissidents, religious heretics, and Jimmy “Rent Is Too Damn High” McMillan. Read the list here.
John McMillian, writing for The Atlantic, calls St. Marks Is Dead: “Timely, provocative, and stylishly written …Calhoun’s book serves as a welcome corrective to that rallying cry [that gentrification is bad], and to the tendency to romanticize New York City in the 1970s, when the city was far more riotous and permissive than it is now. … Her aplomb, in fact, is precisely what the discussion needs. Her portrait of neighborhood resilience might suggest more temperate proposals for an increasingly polarized debate.” Read the rest here. He hsa lots of great lines, like this: “Residents of St. Marks Place lamented that the street was never quiet, not even in the middle of the night (especially not in the middle of the night).”
From the archives:
October 27, 2010
When I found this blog I was really happy. I had never read anything more accurate on our adoratissimi (more or less) 90. The duo Ada Kalhoun and Kara Jesella is really knowledgeable in this field and will give you great emotions, in all senses.
Hello Ada, would you do a brief introduction of yourself?
Ada Calhoun, 34, NYC. I wrote the book ‘Instinctive Parenting’ (Paperback edition, October 2010). I worked with Tim Gunn on his book ‘Gunn’s Golden Rules’ (September 2010). I also write for various newspapers and magazines.
What are your plans for the day today?
Today I work as a reporter for the New York Post and I’m waiting for something to happen exciting to write about.
When and why did you decide to launch 90’S WOMAN?
was September 2009. The term, as far as we know, was coined by Bridget Everett. Here is the link that gave us the idea for the whole: 90swoman.wordpress.com/2009/09/18/hello-90s-women /
How old were you in the 90s?
I was born in 1976. My experience is stronger in the ’90s were high school in New York (1990-94). I became interested in small publications of several books, feminism and music. After I started traveling in India, going to college and feel depressed, so I missed a lot of pop culture. (more…)
Dan Duray at The New York Observer ended his charming St. Marks book write-up in Sanskrit: सफलतायै अभिनन्दनम् = saphalatAyai abhinandanam
Hmm, saphala means fruit-bearing; abhinandana is celebrating [abhi is the prefix, nand the verb root (1st, parasmaipada), and this is I guess some kind of nominal form, maybe 5th case, functioning as an adverb?]. I’m pretty sure it means congratulations, and I would look it all up, but it’s been kind of a long day.
You can read the whole article here.
And everyone with St. Marks Place feelings, stories and photos should obviously take this as a cue to email me: adacalhoun[at]gmail.com. Thanks!