East Village's Mars Bar Gets Demolition Date; Displaced Tenants Have Option To Buy $10 Apartment
Mars Bar officially knows when it will meet the wrecking ball, and EV Grieve postulates that the legendary East Village dive will probably give its last, last call as soon as June 30.
Of course, we've known this was coming for months--we've seen the "Thanks For The Memories" sign and the graffiti that camouflaged the bar as one of the neighboring condos. What we didn't know about, however, was the remarkable deal the displaced tenants from the 1920's building that houses the Mars Bar, would be getting in two years.
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.
Put into perspective, the price this eclectic crew will pay for their new condos is less than the cost of one cocktail at Van Daag a few blocks up on Second Avenue.
And although the tenants basically just won the real estate lottery, at least one man finds it bittersweet, if sweet at all.
"Look at this stuff all around us, all these high-rises. Everywhere you look. Behind us. West of us," said John Vaccaro, 81, the lone tenant willing to talk to Crain's. "It bothers me that New York has changed so much. It's not the New York I came to."
Curbed has renderings of what the new, 65-unit condo building will look like and Gothamist notes that although Mars Bar will technically have the option to move back into the building, it would be impossible to replicate the smell and aesthetic provided by decades of decadence and abuse.