Infamous and fabled, Saint Marks Place is, in accordance with its crazy history, good for two things -- weird stuff and nerdy stuff. Ignoring the eyesore of an offensive Pinkberry occupying what was the cheap, student-beloved restaurant Dojo, and the slew of meh Asian restaurants occupying the busiest block, there's still a lot to do and see that's fun, weird, nerdy, and awesome. Buy a cheap pair of sunglasses and a funny hat from the street vendors (remember to haggle), go spin the cube sculpture, hang out in Tompkins Square Park and watch skateboarders and chess players.
Oh hallo, Pommes Frites, is that you flagging me down like a taxicab with your wafting fried aromas and endless list of sauces? We tried your Vietnamese Five Spice Pineapple Mayo and almost swooned. Dill lemon, sweet chili, and curry ketchup are also sure bets. Thick crispy frites with tangy sauces will always hold a place in my late-night heart.
Fun and conveniently-located shop gets comics on release days and has a wide selection of classics, toys and graphic novels.
Though not technically on Saint Marks Street, this activist community church named after the saint is close and worth mentioning because it embodies the spirit of the old East Village and the tough grit I believe is fundamental to New York. The church hosts plays, dance performances, Poetry Project readings, punk free markets and puppet performances, and has a sweet garden for a picnic. You can rent the various spaces of the church as well.
This theater has old school charm, and a very nice staff. With a former speakeasy serving absinthe in a fabled room with a beautiful zinc bar and a lot of original indie shows, this is definitely worth drinking or watching your evening away.
In a land before Xbox, dinosaurs like Atari and Sega roamed a sparsely-populated video game land. This second-floor hideaway on St. Marks is a treasure trove of those 70s, 80s and 90s games and consoles. With its giant pile of vintage controllers, arcade games including Double Dragon and Street Fighter II, one-off game cartridges, board games, and more, 8-bit is pure childlike pleasure for adults.