Description & Building Alterations
Originally constructed as two separate houses in 1845, the three-and-a-half-story and four-story buildings were combined at an unknown date. Its is said that Leon Trotsky lived in the house at No. 80 in 1917, at which point he contributed to the magazine Novy Mir, run by Nikolai Bukharin and Alexandra Kollontai. The magazine was published across the street at No. 77. In 1931 the building at 78 St. Mark’s Place became occupied for institutional purposes and later a restaurant.
From 1917 until 1964, a music club called Jazz Gallery, owned by brothers Joe and Iggy Termini, opened at this site. The brothers also owned the Five Spot at 5 Cooper Square. Thelonious Monk Quartet, the John Coltrane Quartet, and Lord Buckley all performed at this venue. Starting from around the 1960s part of the building was used as a theater. Howard Otway owned the houses in 1966, when he worked with architect Miller Breslin to convert them into Theater 80. Theatre 80 premiered Clark Gesner’s Your a Good Man, Charlie Brown in 1967, and played it until 1971, when Otway made the theater a revival movie house with double features of old Hollywood films showing every day. The revival theater closed in 1994, and then this building was occupied by the Pearl Theater Company, founded in 1984, which stayed here until 2009. Outside the theater there is a mini-Off-Broadway Walk of Fame, consisting of hand-prints, footprints and signatures from some celebrated 20th-century actors and actresses.
The original facades – including lintels, sills, and cornices of these two buildings remain. No. 78 retains its stoop and multi-paned sash, and No. 80 has a one-story brick extension with glass block windows.
Block : 449 / Lot : 028 / Building Date : 1845 / Original Owner : William Bollman / Original Use : Residential / Original Architect : Unknown