East Village Building Blocks

15 St. Mark’s Place | Block : 464 | Lot #7502

  • Building Date : 1949/2004 alt.
  • Original Use : Industrial
  • Original Owner : Modern Planners, Inc./15 St. Mark's Pl., Inc.
  • Original Architect : Carla Sudbrink/Michael Kang

Description & Building Alterations

This six story structure was built in 2004 as an alteration to a two story garage & factory built in 1949 (NB 60-49), according to the Office for Metropolitan History.

In the 1980s and 1990s, this building was home to Boy Bar, a gay bar which has been described as “a sweatbox of a club” and a “playground” frequented by drag queens, New Wavers, and the neighborhood LGBTQ community. The bar was recorded by writer David Leavitt in his novel “The Lost Language of Cranes.”

The following is an excerpt from a 1992 New York Times article:

After being a longshoreman, sandhog, truck driver, he came to St. Marks Place in 1965. “I could just feel this block,” he said. “It was sensational. It was where people came for ideas.” His idea was to open Paul McGregor’s Haircutter at 15 St. Marks Place, and within a few years he was about the hottest haircutter around. He takes credit for inventing the shag, which he gave to Jane Fonda. She nearly fainted when she saw it. Once she realized she adored it, others came: Warren Beatty, Goldie Hawn, Faye Dunaway. When Warren Beatty made the movie “Shampoo,” about a hairdresser, many people said it was the story of Paul McGregor. “Oh, come on,” Mr. McGregor shrugs.

A restless man, Mr. McGregor tired of hair and in the late 1970’s he converted his St. Marks Place shop (at one point, he had 10 shops around the country) into the world’s smallest roller-skating disco. That went fine for two years until a teen-ager broke his arm when he tried vaulting over some friends stretched out on the floor. His mother sued Mr. McGregor for $1 million. He had no insurance, but managed to settle for $12,000.

Next, he turned the place into a bar called McGregor’s Garage, but there was too much fighting, so he converted it into Boybar, a gay bar now open only on Thursdays. Gay men, he said, are less quarrelsome than heterosexual men. Of course there was the time that one customer bit another’s ear. Meanwhile, Mr. McGregor has taken up wood sculpture. He is also working on some walking sticks, and has trained people in Indonesia to carve them. He thinks walking sticks are going to become very big. He made a lot of money but gave a lot away, including a 40-foot sailboat. “I’m a nut case, believe me,” he said.

Prior to alteration, this site was home to Coney Island High, one of the most popular punk venues in New York through much of the 1990s.

Block : 464 / Lot : 7502 / Building Date : 1949/2004 alt. / Original Owner : Modern Planners, Inc./15 St. Mark’s Pl., Inc. / Original Use : Industrial / Original Architect : Carla Sudbrink/Michael Kang

Do you know this building? Please share your own stories or photos of this building here!

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial