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Theatre 80 signage stripped away, but memories live on through monthly online posts

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Fade to black… .

The curtain already fell on Theatre 80 St. Marks a couple of months ago.

Last week, as if to hammer it home, the shuttered East Village venue’s name was blotted out on the canopy and the outdoor dining shed for its William Barnacle Tavern demolished and carted off.

In early May, the iconic building was auctioned for $8.8 million, with the winning bidder being Ori Kushnir of Foxface sandwiches, a former commercial tenant there. Kushnir tells The Village Sun he’s been diligently trying to find a new theater tenant for the place.

The canopy and neon sign above it on April 20, a few weeks before the property was auctioned. Although the theater’s name was removed from the canopy, the sign above it remains. (Photo by © Jefferson Siegel)

Lorcan Otway and Genie Gilmore of Theatre 80, who were forced to vacate the property in April by a bankruptcy court-appointed trustee, found a home nearby with Father Pat Moloney — a feisty Irish liberation priest — at his Bonita’s House just east of Tompkins Square Park.

But they knew that living arrangement couldn’t last forever, and so have now been searching for permanent housing. To that end, Otway has started a Patreon campaign to help pay for their ongoing housing needs. A recurring monthly fee gets members regular installments from Otway writing about “The story of the Otway family and Theatre 80.” The entry-level rate, $5, offers access to “exclusive content” from Otway. In Episode 5, for example, members learned about the time “Dad gets paralyzingly drunk at Bar Berta at Taxco, Mexico, in 1936 and we ask, and maybe answer [questions about] Quakerism… .”

At the next level up, $10 a month, members can send a question to Otway that he will try to answer within the month.

Workers dismantled the William Barnacle Tavern outdoor dining shed outside the former Theatre 80. (Photo by Linda Justice)
(Photo by Linda Justice)

Another fundraiser on GoFundMe, “Save Historic Theatre 80 St. Marks,” is still active and has raked in more than $9,500. That drive was launched in a last-ditch effort to raise millions of dollars to fend off the May auction and save the building from sale. Otway said that GoFundMe is a separate funding stream and is still intended for use to “buy back the building.”

Correction: The original version of this article said that the neon sign that hangs out from the former Theatre 80 St. Marks had been removed, but it’s actually still there.


  1. Bill Nevins Bill Nevins July 16, 2023

    This is a profound tragedy. It is the stuff of poetry, and of course Lorcan Otway is a fine poet and singer, and I know he will sing this song well. But damn, this is so sad. NYC will never be what it was when this beautiful couple welcomed us into their beautiful place, their home which they made our home. Ah, the music, ah the talk, ah the songs, ah the drinks and laughter! Ah, Lorcan and Eugenie, we love you forever!

  2. Linda S Justice Linda S Justice July 13, 2023

    NOBODY can replace Lorcan’s smiling, warm embrace. And NO ONE can copy Eugenie’s kindness. And the two of them created a warm venue that I have frequented since 1977. It will be impossible to duplicate since it comes from genuine care that cannot be manufactured. The community did not lose a building or a piece of real estate but one of the anchors (which it seems every block has) which makes the East Village a neighborhood. I am not a fan of Tucker Carlson, but since leaving Fox he has been revealing his deeper thoughts. And the other day he said something I have been thinking about myself: That is you can build buildings that hate people or love people; that hate the neighborhood or love the neighborhood. And here we are. Most businesse owners don’t even live here anymore, which previously was not the case. People worked and lived here, creating a vital neighborhood. 🙂

    • Karen Karen July 16, 2023

      Hi Linda, did they take down the big neon Theatre 80 sign as well? Surely that deserves a landmark status!

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