Description & Building Alterations
Lots seven through ten of this block are currently occupied by the St. Marks Hotel, formerly the venerable Valencia Hotel. Records indicate that these were originally four separate structures, possibly two four-story row houses at numbers 13 and 15 Third Avenue and two four-story pre-law tenement houses at numbers 17 and 19 Third Avenue. The first owned by John Mojs, 15 and 17 owned by William R. Drayton and the corner building, number 19 was owned by the Jackson Insurance Company.
From 1962 to 1967, this was the second site of the Five Spot club, a divey neighborhood bar founded in the 1930s that attracted writers and artists living nearby: Williem de Kooning, Alfred Leslie, Larry Rivers, Franz Kline, Howard Kanovitz, Grace Hartigan, David Smith, Frank O’Hara, Allen Ginsberg, and Kenneth Koch, among others. It became one of the world’s premiere jazz clubs in the 1950s, at which point it featured John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, and Billie Holiday. The club was originally at 5 Cooper Square, and then moved here to increase its capacity. The owners, Joe and Iggy Termini, opened the club again in 1972, naming it Two Saints, and then Five Spot again in 1974.
Exactly when or by whom the four buildings were unified and the hotel usage was established is unclear, but historic tax photos indicate that the Valencia Hotel was operating on the site as early as 1939. The difference in height and floor spacing between the former nos. 13 and 15 and nos. 17 and 19 is visible from the street, a visual reminder of the building’s origin as a group of individual structures.The commercial spaces in the ground floor of the building have been host to a wide variety of the cultural movements characteristic of the East Village throughout the 20th Century, including beatnik haunt The Sagamore Diner, and legendary jazz club The Five Spot, home venue in 1957 of Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane, as well as host to many other jazz legends. More information on the colorful musical and literary history of this location can be found in the Links section.Block : 463 / Lot : 7 / Building Date : 1839-1840 / Original Owner : Edmund Welkes / Original Use : Residential / Original Architect : Unknown