Last summer, I lamented the changing face of Trash and Vaudeville. A temple of punk rock history, the pair of stores at 4 St. Marks Place have, for almost 41 years now, anchored a block of the East Village that is for all intents and purposes long extinct. As so many institutions have come and gone, from record shops (Sounds and Rockit Scientist, R.I.P.) to The Sock Man, Trash and Vaudeville remained, a curiosity for some and a rite of passage for others—myself included. Another victim of rising rents (and emblematic of New York City today on a much larger scale), Ray Goodman’s iconic shop has lost its longtime home. In a particularly melancholy twist, their last day in the space, this Sunday, also coincides with the date that glam bastion of the Bowery Patricia Field and St. Marks Bookstore (most recently on East Third Street) will both shutter their doors permanently. But it’s not the end for T&V—far from it. While passersby may not ever again know the pleasure of seeing the store’s most famous employee, Jimmy Webb, lounging on those steps, tattooed and leonine with his peroxide shag, he’ll continue his reign when Goodman and co. open their doors in the new space at 96 East Seventh Street some time in March.
“I’m okay,” Goodman says of his headspace before the big move. “To be honest, I’m not sure if it fully has hit me. It’s been my home for 41 years. Every day or at least every week, I’m in there, so it’s a little melancholy when I think about that, but I’m also pretty excited. I see it as a new beginning.” As on St. Marks, both Trash and Vaudeville will continue to exist on two levels. At the Seventh Street digs, they’ll be connected via an internal staircase, and those in the market for towering T.U.K. platform creepers can take comfort in the fact that the storied shoe department will still be housed on the lower level. “I’ve always loved St. Marks, and I always will, but I think Seventh Street has a little more variety of types of businesses and people. If we go back 20 years or so, that’s what [St. Marks] was like.” Goodman’s right, of course—leaving behind the sea of vape shops and pricey frozen yogurt will open the door for a whole new generation of fans to find Trash and Vaudeville in its new location on a block that still feels like a block, as opposed to an open-air novelty T-shirt market. Indeed, he seems downright Zen about the move: “I’ll never say anything bad about St. Marks. It’s been great to me.” For my own part, I’m sad and bitter as hell about the whole thing—out of loyalty, and because, frankly, it seems unjust that ours is an industry where plenty of fashion brands are cleaning up showing tony burlesques of the kind of style that Goodman and his store helped to pioneer, while the real deal is being pushed out of its longtime home. So why not stop by to pay your respects this weekend, and buy a band shirt or some of Tripp’s impossibly skinny black jeans (if they were good enough for loyal customer Joey Ramone, they’re good enough for you). Here’s to the next chapter of glorious Trash.
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