St Marks Comics closes on Feb. 24th

St. Marks_1

February 17, 2019 :: Sara Barton

After 36 years, the iconic comic book store, St. Marks Comics(at 11 St. Mark’s Place) announced its upcoming closure on January 30 via Facebook and Twitter.

Mitch Cutler, the owner, offered final thoughts about why they were closing: “There are lots of obstacles to running a retail storefront in NYC; too many of them at once to fight, and after 36 pretty intense years, not enough left to fight them.”

“We’ll see you soon to say goodbye and share a good memory,” he added. “Let’s make this month a wake, not a funeral.”

It signals the end of an era, as St. Mark’s comics follows in the footsteps of the departed legends, Trash & Vaudeville and Kim’s Video. From the 1970s until the early ’90s, St. Mark’s Place in the East Village was a street like no other; a punk rock mecca,  filled with fetish-wear shops, record stores, cheap eats, and underground clubs. Then the rent creeps up, the clientele changed, and the colorful strip of 8th Street morphed; it’s now lined with trendy Asian fast food joints, bubble tea shops and of course, bongs. Even stores that aren’t bongs stores sell bongs.

As St. Marks Comics goes on it’s Farewell Tour; back issues are 50% off, and everything else is 30%. Be sure to check out their vintage stock of Bronze & Silver age comics. The last day is Sunday, February 24th, closing early at 6 PM.

St, Marks_2



What is International Women’s Day? It’s a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.[1] Since 1975, the UN began celebrating International Women’s Day, along with a theme and events to empower women around the world. Yet, its history is unique. International Women’s Day has it origins as a socialist/Soviet holiday dating back to the Russian Revolution; it was originally a day to celebrate women’s rights and women’s liberation from being second class citizens. It was customary for women to receive flowers or gifts or get the day off from work. Russia and several former satellite states still carry out this tradition. Ironically, the first Women’s Day Observance was held in 1909, in NYC by the Socialist Party of America.[2]

On March 8, the organizers of the Women’s March harnessed the symbolism of International Women’s Day to create “A Day Without A Woman.” A protest that symbolizes unity and to “highlight economic power and significance that women have in the US and global economies.” The march was inclusive calling attention to the injustices cis women, trans women and gender non-conforming people continue to face. Marches were organized on a global scale.


Since the early 20th century, Washington Square Park has been synonymous with activism. In 1912, 20,0000 workers rallied in response to the disastrous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire to protest for better working conditions. In 1915, Women marched through Washington Square Park for their Suffrage. In 1917, the Arch Conspirators declared Washington Square Park and Greenwich Village a Free and Independent Republic. This vibrant history of free speech continued on into the 60s and 70s, the anti-Iraq protests of the early 2000s; and today it was the perfect location for “A Day Without A Woman.”

Here are the voices of Washington Square Park told through photographs.


Pop-culture as a reflection of current events


Great sign (and great advice!)


Black Lives ALWAYS matter!


  The question we should ask—regardless!

It was good timing, as representatives from What’s In Your Box (an organization on promoting sexual health and empowerment) came to show their support. A woman carrying a sign saying “Queer Power” stood in the middle. Perfection!

Last, but not least your moment of zen as the NY State Nurses Association shows their support!


All photographs and video: Sara Barton

originally published via GeeksOUT!


It was the shock heard around the country. After a long arduous election, Donald Trump was declared the 45th President of the United States. New Yorker’s wasted no time expressing their discontent and disbelief. The streets flooded with thousands of protesters chanting and carrying several colorful signs.

Protests started in Union Square and went uptown to the Trump Tower, along with a few smaller ones in Washington Square Park. I did what any journalist would do — I took photographs. I also picked out some favorites from social media. I hope this list empowers you (especially those of you who are new activism).

Presenting [drum roll]…

The Top 7 Anti-Trump Protest Signs!

7: The Most: Witty

Image: NYMag

One of the most agonizing things for first-time protesters is: “What do I write on my sign?” As my professor always says: “Don’t get it Right! Get it Written!” Jim Crocamo’s good-humored sign shows that imperfection is perfection.

6: The Most: Steven Universe!

Steven Universe-Lorelle2

Image: Hannah Corwin

This photo is the LGBT double entendre. Steven Universe is well known for its queer themes and its creator Rebecca Sugar is bisexual. This sign was made by my friend, Lorelle, a design major at the School of Visual Arts. While my Facebook wall was covered with posts of despair and hopelessness; she was one of the first who rallied people to stand up and fight with the clever hashtag: revolt2k16.

5: The Most: Sage

Image: Susan Alzner

The sign is held by singer-songwriter, activist, and independent entrepreneur, Ani Difranco. The quote by Angela Davis embodies the soul of the Anti-Trump protesters. It’s reaffirming that we as Americans mustn’t accept or tolerate hatred, racism, homophobia, sexism, and xenophobia. It’s our job to fight for what’s right!

4: The Double Down


Image: Courtney Sweet

This image has it all: a sign quoting Hillary Clinton’s reassuring words to the young ladies, a sign with the Anti-Trump hashtag “Not My President,” and of course, sign number 3 (below). The man climbing the traffic poll to post it only adds to the epic value of this image.

3: The Most: Artistic


Image: Sara Barton

A lot of hard work was put into creating these signs. (Yes, there were two Nazi Anti-Trump parody signs) One of the artists was kind enough to stop and be photographed. It’s gone viral throughout social media, as it was featured in many other photos.

2: The Most: Honest


Image: Sara Barton

This sign is a poignant reflection of the feelings of the LGBT community. It’s simply perfect!

1: The Most: Foreshadowing


Image: Sara Barton

I photographed this protester just after I voted. Her name is DJ Chela. She sat patiently in Union Square and let strangers take pictures of her. Yes, this sign speaks the truth. The presidential candidates have been unable to take action on The Dakota Access Pipeline or properly address the concerns of the Black Lives Matter movement. This photograph is not only powerful and moving, it’s symbolic of how most Americans feel right now: that our voices have been silenced.

As President Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

This article is dedicated to Lorelle, Hannah, and Nicole.

published via GeeksOUT!

The Most: Pokémon Go Sign Countdown!

August 4, 2016- Sara Barton

It’s the mobile app heard around the world as Pokémon Go sky-rockets into a global phenomenon. The game has not only brought joy to the public; it’s increased the shares of Nintendo (even though it’s created by the company Niantic), encouraged fitness, and now local businesses are jumping on the bandwagon.

There are several ways businesses can use Pokémon Go to increase customer traffic. The most popular are checking if your establishments are located near a Gym or Pokéstop then catering to local foot traffic. The second is to purchase Lure Modules and host a Bar-Crawl/Meet-up. The Village Pourhouse hosts Pokémon Go Parties on Friday nights.


Yelp has also made it easier for players; by adding a filter that identifies businesses within nearby Pokéstops. (available on the app and  It’s called “Pokéstop Nearby” and Yelp users can also identify a business in the vicinity of a Pokéstop by checking in to the location and answering a question that will make note of the nearby Pokéstop. (1)

Before July 20, 2016, businesses could apply to become a Pokéstop or Gym. However, due to the overwhelming number of requests, Niantic isn’t currently accepting any more applications. (2)

Furthermore, in an effort to attract customers Pokémon Go has brought out the artistic side of many local NYC establishments. While this SBR correspondent was testing out the latest tips and hacks; I discovered some very creative restaurant, bar and business signs.

Presenting: [Drum Roll]…

The Most: Pokémon Go Sign Countdown! 

5) The Most: Sarcastic  [Osteria Del Principe, 27 E. 23 St]

most sarcastic

This sign is sarcastic and funny. Whether it was born out of frustration or the staff wanted to crack a joke about this latest trend. All I can say is; I got a good laugh. Yes, Osteria Del Principe does have a good wine selection.

4) The Most: Helpful [Ampersand, 294 E. 3rd Ave]


If you ever needed help finding a Pokéstop; this sign is it!  It’s direct and to the point. It’s referring to the Pokéstop: TAMA- Tree Planting by Mayor Abraham Beame (located on 23rd & 3rd ave). It’s the 1st of 75 trees that were donated to beautify the community.

The Ampersand is a bar/restaurant located near SVA’s and Baruch’s college campuses. Plus, it’s a short walk from Madison Square Park. Universities and college campuses are popular Pokéstops. These buildings are known to be hot spots for catching certain Pokemon. After following up on a tip, I caught a Vulpix at the Baruch Campus Library Pokéstop.

A few universities have even gotten in on the action. NYU Alumi  posted an article on their website listing its campuses Pokéstops and the university is even hosting Pokétours to attract prospective students.

If you plan on catching Pokémon around these college campuses; the Ampersand is a nice place to take a break and grab drinks or something to eat.

3) The Most: Witty [Amsterdam Billiards, 110 E. 11st]


This sign was created by the talented staff at Amsterdam Billiards. Their signs are known to showcase various pop-culture references (ex. Futurama, Garfield, Peanuts, and The Simpsons) making witty banter involving: pool, alcohol and good times. Amsterdam Billiards is located 1/2 block from the Village Pourhouse. It’s a shrewd business strategy, considering that the Village Pourhouse hosts Pokémon Go parties on Fridays. Can you catch the pun?  (Hint: It’s Pokémon’s famous catchphrase.)

2) The Most: Crafty (literally) [Nanoosh, 111 University Place]


The sign is courtesy of Nanoosh. The restaurant is a great venue from Union Square, NYU, and Washington Square Park, (which each have lures, gyms and several Pokéstop in between.) It’s obvious it was a labor of love. Instead of Pikachu being drawn from chalk, this one is made out of fabric and is an homage to the short film, “Pikachu’s Vacation” (1999).

2) The Most: 可愛い  (Cute) – This one is a tie!
[Milk Bar Chelsea 220 E. 8th Ave] & [Nanoosh 111 University Place]

Milk Bar and Nanoosh both tie for this category. The 1st two signs  are at Milk Bar’s new Chelsea location; which isn’t too far from the High-line(a great place to catch grass Pokémon) and is close to the SVA Silas and Beatrice Theater (also a Pokéstop). These signs appeared within a less than 2.5 weeks after the app was released; welcoming tired and hungry Pokémon trainers. The chalk drawings are incredibly adorable and will put a smile on anyone’s face.

1) The Most: Savvy [Spruce, 228 E. 8th Ave]


Spruce’s sign works on a variety of levels. It’s a florist and gardening shop, hence making Bell-Sprout the perfect mascot. Pokémon Go players know that Grass Pokémon will appear in their natural habits, such as plants, lush fields, and parks. (I caught two Bulbasaurs’ on the High-line.) The artist did a great job. Bell-Sprout is beautifully drawn. Nevertheless, what makes this sign #1 is, that it doesn’t matter if the owner plans to put a Lure Module or is hinting that their establishment is a place to catch Bell-Sprout’s. It’s simply a clever ode to Pokémon and a comic observation of the cultural impact of Pokémon Go.


Pokémon Go Terminology:

Lure Module:  is a purchasable item that attracts wild Pokémon. It’s attached to a Pokéstop of your choosing (several establishments use these to increase business!). They attract a wide variety and large number of  Pokémon. However, they only work for a limited period of time. 

Pokéstop: provide’s players with free items, such as Eggs, Poké Balls, Potions and can be equipped with items called lure modules. Pokéstops can include Universities/Colleges, Famous & Historic Landmarks, Church’s, Parks, Trees, Art Sculptures/Murals, Local Businesses and much more. 

Poké-Gym/Gym: are locations where a player can battle the Pokémon belonging to rival teams. The other purpose of Gyms is to train the player’s own Pokémon by getting into a fight with the Pokémon assigned by other members in the same team.





Kart in the Park hits Washington Sq.


June 30, 2016- Sara Barton

As journalists, it’s our job to chase after a scoop, yet sometimes the stories find us. I was passing through Washington Sq. Park; when I spotted something out of the ordinary. A group of people playing Nintendo’s Mario Kart 64 (N64 version) next to the large fountain near the Washington Sq. Arch.

kart in the park-2.jpg

Retro video games are making a comeback. The hunger for childhood nostalgia has lead to the creation of bar & arcade chain, Barcade, the low key LES joint, Two-Bits Retro Arcade, Modern Pinball NYC; and the meetup group Retro Game Night NYC (just to name a few). It’s a fitting tribute, since these classic games made their debut in dive bars during the 1970’s.

Retro Game Night NYC, (sponsored by Video Games NY), hosts their events mainly at the East Village’s, Bar None and uses the original gaming systems (N64, Sega Genesis, NES, among a few others). Nevertheless, aside from being alfresco and child-friendly; this set up is ingenious. Mario Kart 64 was broadcast via a projector/film screen, the game is hosted on raspberry pi (a small emulator), which is powered by a cell-phone battery. It’s a light and compact system; talk about mobility!

Teaching the younger generation

Teaching the younger generation

Welcome to Kart in Park, found by Nico Martiny, who simply wanted to spread joy and whimsy. “Who wouldn’t want to play video games outside?”, as he playfully put it. Kart in the Park has hosted 5 events and is planning on expanding to Madison Square Park and Bryant Park. Nico hopes to feature other classic games, such as: the N64’s beloved Super Smash Bros. and The Simpsons Arcade.

kart in the park-kids2

It’s been 20 years since the N64 was released and video game technology has come a long way. The N64 lacks the fluidity and cruise control of the Nintendo Wii. However, Kart in the Park is about the experience. I played alongside a variety of players and we had a blast. At the end of the night, having fun is what really matters.

Kart in the Park’s schedule can be found on their FB page.

No Pants Subway Ride 2013

January 13, 2013- A.S.B

The pants are off! January 13th, thousands of pant-less strap-hangers world-wide hopped on public transportation for- The 12th Annual, No Pants Subway Ride. The No Pants Subway Ride, created by Improv Everywhere has grown from a small prank to an international celebration with dozens of cities around the world participating each year. This year’s event took place in 60 cities, in over 25 countries.

According to Improv Everywhere: “The idea behind No Pants is simple: Random passengers board a subway car at separate stops in the middle of winter without pants. The participants do not behave as if they know each other, and they all wear winter coats, hats, scarves, and gloves. The only unusual thing is their lack of pants.”

New York City participants gathered in 6 meeting places throughout the 4 boroughs, including yours truly. Those in downtown Manhattan headed to Foley Square. At 4pm, the large crowd was divided into several small groups and then entered the respective subways in the area. Each group then boarded a subway car; consecutively the trousers came off. There was one rule for participants if asked, “Why aren’t you wearing pants?” As a part of the joke, weren’t allowed to talk about the No Pants Subway Ride or Improv Everywhere. Instead, they were told to say “It’s too hot today”, “I forgot my pants” or “I don’t believe in pants”-leaving riders befuddled.

Boxers, Briefs, Underwear, and Thongs flooded the subways till the 59th street stops threw out the city; then headed to the last stop, Union Square. The cold weather didn’t phase the pant-less mob as they existed the Union Square stop. Participants were then greeted by a large conga line of panties, which engulfed the Union Square area. The crowd featured a mix of people of all ages, ranging from: parents with children, anime-fans, a Pedo-bear cosplayer; and yes, the free hugs guy. The night ended with an after-party at Bar 13, just two blocks down.

Happy No-Pants Day! – From Off-Tangent ~.^

via Off-Tangent Podcast 

Mai Kawamura live at The Bitter End

Mai Kawamura live at The Bitter End

December 27, 2009 :: Sara Barton

  Located in the East Village, The Bitter End is well known for giving musicians their big break since 1961. Mai Kawamura’s performance follows those of music legends such as Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, and Norah Jones (to name a few), who got their first gig here.

  Mai electrifies the audience with her phenomenal vocal talents, performing along with Tsubasa Matsuda on piano; Ajia Sato on bass; Richard Davis on guitar; and John “Sully” Sullivan on percussion. As soon as she starts singing she lights up the stage with her positive energy. Hearing her live is an experience of a lifetime.

  Mai sang, “Another Day”, and several other hits from her new album, MAI Life; released on December 7,2009. As well as the classic, “I used to love”, which she wrote 10 years ago. Mai is also a talented lyrist. Her lyrics are genuine, it’s easy for the audience to identify with them. They’re upbeat while remaining true to life. Her songs have the ability to touch the soul and evoke powerful emotions among listeners, the mark of a true artist.


 MAI Life, is a pun of “my life”, in essence, music is Mai’s life. Like all her music, she has put her heart and soul into all her songs. It’s her personal artistic vision to sing about love and to give world hope, which is conveyed eloquently in this album. A great feature about MAI Life is that the songs are both in Japanese and English; providing a variety that listeners will enjoy; whether you’re an avid J-pop fan or just starting to listen.


 It’s a tradition at The Bitter End to paint portraits of famous musicians who have played there. We look forward to the day when Mai’s portrait will be painted on the wall.


MAI Life, (LUCERORECORD), is available for purchase at:


More info on Mai Kawamura can be found at:


To learn more about The Bitter End check out:


Edited by: Mandy Ng