Abbie Hoffman, the brilliant 1960s social activist, anarchist and media darling, died of a broken heart.
He killed himself in 1989 after deciding his life's work of political activism was meaningless in the wake of Ronald Reagan and the nation's rightward shift.
His best years were spent on St. Mark's Place where he entertained John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Norman Mailer, Allen Ginsberg and countless others. Also, The Fillmore East was around the corner so any rock group that played there that was politically inclined also would stop in - such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, the MC5, etc.
He was part of the famous Chicago 8, a founder of the Yippie party, he threw dollar bills onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to watch traders fight for the cash (afterwards the Stock Exchange spent $20,000 to enclose the gallery with bulletproof glass), a fugitive who reinvented himself as upstate environmentalist Barry Freed, the author of "Steal This Book," and a true icon of the era. Fred W. McDarrah photographed his 1967 wedding in Central Park.
The FBI file on Hoffman was 13,262 pages long. Impressive.
We need more like him, and his connection to St. Mark's Place is an important part of the street's political history.
More discussion of Hoffman is on the various Save the Village tours.