St Marks Place
St Marks Place in the East Village
8th Street in Manhattan runs about three-quarters of the way across the island. Its east end is at Avenue D near the East River. From there it runs west across the East Village and north of Washington Square Park. Its west end is at Sixth Avenue, beyond which the streets of Greenwich Village are not aligned to the Manhattan grid. Along the way it crosses north-south avenues D, C, B, A, First, Second, Third, Fourth/Bowery, Broadway, Fifth, and Sixth. It is interrupted by Tompkins Square Park between Avenue B and Avenue A.
Between Avenue A and Third Avenue it is named St Marks Place after Saint Mark's Church in-the-Bowery two blocks to its north. That church is New York's oldest site of continuous religious practice, being the site of Christian worship for over 350 years since Petrus Stuyvesant built a family chapel there in 1660. Its current structure is the second-oldest church building in Manhattan, with its cornerstone laid in 1795 and the building completed and consecrated in May of 1799.
From Third Avenue west to Broadway, things are a little confusing as 8th Street crosses the open area of Astor Place and the segments aren't precisely aligned. Cooper Union is at the southwest corner of Third Avenue and 8th Street. Just west of there, Fourth Avenue runs north from Astor Place to 14th Street and Union Square, and north of that it's Park Avenue. South from Astor Place that thoroughfare is the Bowery.
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is a privately funded college inspired by the government-funded École Polytechnique in Paris, offering undergraduate and master's degree programs in architecture, engineering, and art. Its founder Peter Cooper, one of the wealthiest American businessmen at its founding in 1859, dictated that all students accepted at the school would be granted a full-tuition scholarship, and discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, or sex was prohibited. That scholarship was valued at approximately $150,000 for a four-year program in the early 2010s. Since the fall of 2014, financial pressures have changed that to a merit scholarship of at least 50%. It is, of course, one of the most selective colleges in the U.S.
Abraham Lincoln came to the newly opened building to deliver what's now called his Cooper Union Address on February 27, 1860, elaborating his views on slavery. At over 7,000 words, it was one of his longest speeches. He was not yet the Republican nominee for the presidency. Many consider this one of his most important speeches, possibly responsible for making him President.
Below is the southeast corner of Third Avenue and St Marks, the St Marks Hotel just across Third Avenue from the Cooper Union, seen during the day in winter and at night in the summer.
The block of St Marks Place between Second and Third Avenues is the most tourist oriented with most of it occupied by open-front stores selling small items, restaurants and bars, and several businesses inflicting tattoos and piercings.
The two blocks further east, from Second Avenue to First Avenue and then from First Avenue to Avenue A, are not as heavily commercialized but they contain many well known businesses and sites of historical and cultural significance.
The area is a minefield of typography. Abbreviation? The genitive quote mark of possession?
- St Marks?
- St. Marks?
- St Mark's?
- St. Mark's?
- Saint Marks?
- Saint Mark's?
The city goes with a clean and simple sans-serif and
sans-punctuation version and I shall follow their lead:
ST MARKS PLACE
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