Scratch the Surface

Photo: James Wojcik

Is there a microneighborhood (aside from Times Square) that gets a worse rap than St. Marks Place? It’s tacky. It’s garish. It’s crawling with tourists and trend-starved teenagers. But if you’re willing to overlook the street’s past-its-primeness and dig around a little, the blocks between Third Avenue and Avenue A turn up some wicked surprises. Case in point: this pewter-and-glass ring ($38). It’s just one of the chicly gothic accessories found on the basement level of the East Village’s most famous retro-punk bastion, Trash and Vaudeville (4 St. Marks Pl., at Third Ave.; 212-982-3590). For more St. Marks discoveries, click ahead.

Photographs by Davies + Starr

1. The nameless, doorless stand at Second Avenue sells straw fedoras for a “flexible” $20 (St. Marks Pl. at Second Ave.; no phone).

2. Experiment with an intense Indian blend roasted in an open warehouse (Monsoon Malabar coffee, $8 a pound at Porto Rico, 40½ St. Marks Pl., at Second Ave.; 212-533-1982).

3. Physical Graffiti owner Ilana Malka hand-dyed this forties silk slip a soft pewter ($145; 96 St. Marks Pl., at First Ave.; 212-477-7334).

4. Resident philosopher James De La Vega’s trademark line inspires colorful dream journaling ($5 each at De La Vega Gallery, 102 St. Marks Pl., nr. Ave. A; 212-876-8649).

5. Pump designer Marcello Toshi is one of 150 youngsters selling their wares at Nypull ($225; 129 St. Marks Pl., nr. Ave. A; 212-228-8855).

6. In June, the CBGB Shop will follow its namesake into punk heaven. Dangle guitar-pick earrings in memoriam ($10; 19–23 St. Marks Pl., nr. Second Ave.; 212-982-4052).

7. Go ahead: Buy the book for its cover (out-of-print Think Free to Live Free, $12 at East Village Books, 99 St. Marks Pl., nr. First Ave.; 212-477-8647).

8. The striped Tibi dress will look great swishing through Tompkins Square Park ($310 at Coco & Delilah, 115 St. Marks Pl., nr. Ave. A; 212-254-8741).

9. Pretend it’s for your kids (Daredevil lunch box and watch, $20 at St. Mark’s Comics, 11 St. Marks Pl., nr. Third Ave.; 212-598-9439).

Scratch the Surface