Mars Bar, famously seedy dive and East Village institution, will be torn down in August. According to an article in Crain’s New York, the 1920s building (which houses the bar and nine other tenants) will be demolished and a 12-story luxury high-rise will be built in its place. The East Village is dead; long live the East Village.
An octogenarian playwright, a drag queen and a kvetcher provoked nightly by the bar’s cacophony are among the nine tenants in two adjoining buildings at the corner of Second Avenue and East First Street who will receive this sweet deal.
At the end of the month, they will vacate their 1920s building, which will be demolished in August. When they return in about two years, each will pay $10 (tax free) to buy an apartment in a 12-story luxury high-rise.
The $10 apartment in a luxury high-rise thing sounds…awesome, though bittersweet. With Mars Bar’s departure, one of the last vestiges of the East Village’s “realness” is now gone. Although, real talk: The EV hasn’t been gritty or “authentic” for years and years. A quote from one of the building’s residents, 81-year-old John Vaccaro: “It bothers me that New York has changed so much. It’s not the New York I came to.”
When will the bar itself be closing, those of you who want a last chance to pee in a foul bathroom and drink warm canned beer? According to EV Grieve, June 30 is probably the last night.