The strange history of the East Village’s most famous street

1960s: Days of Rage

The corner of Second Avenue and St. Mark’s Place in 1968.

“St. Marks Place—the three blocks of East Eighth Street that run from Astor Place to Tompkins Square Park—has become a symbol of the East Village. Head shops serve as a reminder of the street’s hippie heyday, while stalwart Federal mansions remain a link to the area’s more distant—and upscale—past. If something has happened in the East Village in the last two centuries, there’s a good chance St. Marks Place has played a role. Yet the street has never been a perfect microcosm of the East Village; those mansions were an anomaly, and the hippies were, too. St. Marks is the most famous street in the East Village, but is it a part of the ‘real’ neighborhood at all? The farmland that today comprises St. Marks Place was originally owned by Dutch Director General Peter Stuyvesant, who bought the bouwerij

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