Jeremiah Moss passed on an online petition on Facebook last week that I immediately signed without hesitation (and perhaps you too should consider it). As turns out, the storied St. Marks Bookshop -- now housed on the ground floor of Cooper Union's artlessly priapic sliver of a dormitory on 3rd Avenue (where I once spent several days living inside in the early days of 1993, in the "visiting scholar's suite") -- is in grave peril of closing due to its spiraling market rent. As one of the few surviving vestiges of the neighborhood's vanishing character and a vital stronghold of off-the-beaten-path, esoteric literature (you won't find a third of the books housed therein in your local Barnes & Noble), one would imagine St. Marks Bookshop to be something of a revered, untouchable landmark. Not so, alas. As of the moment, if it's not granted a rent concession, we might shortly see it transformed into yet another bank branch. You don't want that, do you? Click here to sign the petition.
While you're at it, why not visit the shop and buy yourself a book? Might I recommend the book I'm currently reading, my friend Bryan Waterman's stately rumination on Television's Marquee Moon for Continuum's 33 1/3 series. Bryan even mentioned this here silly weblog in the acknowledgements in the front of the book so, ya know -- how ya like them apples? It's an excellent account of the travails of Messrs. Verlaine, Hell, Lloyd, Ficca, Smith and their surrounding orbit of 1970s hipsters and proto-punks and an endearingly in-depth portrait of the East Village during one of its most-rhapsodized periods. I strenuously recommend it.
Anyway, go buy that book and go save the St. Marks Place bookshop. The clip below is also by Television. It's not on Marquee Moon, but rather on their reunion album from the fall of 1992. I was listening to this record non-stop during my exceptionally brief tenure in the Cooper Union dormitory, and I can't seem to walk down St. Marks Place without the band popping into my head (and I even encountered one of them there not too long back).