Photo via NY Daily Photo
Trash and Vaudeville is a St. Mark's Place institution. THE St. Mark's institution, even. And the store's manager and buyer, Jimmy Webb, stands like a punk rock totem over that 3-block world in the East Village, blonde hair waving in the wind. But he won't be there for long—according to EV Grieve, the store's owner, Ray Goodman, has confirmed that they're moving after forty years in the same storefront.
The good news is they will likely reopen elsewhere. Will Trash and Vaudeville at a new location still be Trash and Vaudeville? Hop on your Ship of Theseus and ponder that paradox. For now, EV Grieve says they'll move from 4 St. Mark's Place to 96 E. Seventh Street, hopefully by Fall. Goodman told the site that "the rent is creeping up... rent was a factor." He added, however, that there were other reasons:
"I love St. Mark's Place. There's no doubt it. There's something magical about it. This just isn't any block. The decision wasn't something that I took lightly. From a business perspective, we saw a shift in the clientele. The block is not as conducive for fashion shopping as it once was. Now it seems as if it's all food—fast food—and bongs. Even stores that aren't bong stores sell bongs."
We recommend heading over to St. Mark's before they move out (that date is currently uncertain). They've been in this space since 1975, selling rock n' roll gear ever since, and count legends among their customers. As the NY Times noted in their 2013 story, the Ramones, Blondie, the Heartbreakers, the Dead Boys "and virtually every other group in the scene were frequent shoppers." Marky Ramone told them, "When punk was at its height, it was the only place to go at that time, and it still is."
According to the store's history, Goodman "discovered St. Marks Place at the age of 13, and never left. He was immediately attracted to the incredible energy that surged throughout the block." And he's still dedicated to the East Village, telling EV Grieve other neighborhoods didn't feel right, and they prefer to stay in "our natural environment."