Friday, February 11, 2011

While we're on the subject of Mars...

Vivienne Gucwa has published a wonderful essay on Mars Bar that is a must-read, especially for anyone trying to get a fix on what it is people are so upset about.  Her photos are beautiful and capture that late-afternoon feeling, when the bar seems to exhale, relishing in that moment of calm before the next wave of chaos comes crashing through the door.

Mars Bar, East Village, New York City 114
photo by Vivienne Gucwa

You can see more of her Mars Bar photos here.

I'm still struggling with the thought of an East Village without Mars.  I stopped in on Christmas Day, expecting it to be filled with sadness and depression, but to my relief, it wasn't at all.  In fact, the bar was full and when I walked in, I was greeted with many familiar smiles and cheerful hellos. 

I think, for me, this marked the last stage of grief in mourning the loss of Mars:  Acceptance.  I'm pretty sure I covered all the other stages in just a few days prior:

Denial - Noooooo!  This can't be happening, there must be a mistake!

Anger - WTF?!  Damn developers!  Does no one care about anything?!  F-ing gentrification, money, greed, Bloomberg, blah blah blah!!

Bargaining - Ok, maybe something can be worked out.  Mars can stay open during construction...we'll just find another nearby bar...if I can just win the lotto, I'll buy the whole lot and leave it as-is.

Depression - Hey, bartender, how about another round?  Keep 'em coming...

AcceptanceMerry Christmas.  Happy New Year.  It's just a room; the patrons and Mars spirit live on, and will always outshine anything that comes to that corner.

Mars Bar in the Afternoon III

If you're losing your soul and you know it, then you've still got a soul left to lose.  
--Charles Bukowski

More to come, stay tuned...

Related: Is there life after Mars?

Related: Roy


  1. I love the love for Mars Bar. These photos are great. Lovely work all.

  2. Thanks, Melanie

    I was recently thinking of the woman who originally introduced me to Mars, many years ago. It was a summer night in the EV, she was hosting a party in her apt on 5th St...things got out of hand, so the party moved itself to the sidewalk along 2nd Ave and 1st St. I listened with much amusement as she and a few others recalled all their crazy times at Mars. The merriment lasted all night and the memory of that night has stuck with me all these years as being my official intro to the EV. Sadly, I just learned of this woman's untimely passing and the news hit me pretty hard. We're not only losing places and moments in time, but people who belonged to those places and times...

  3. Sadly its just about the last place where folks still know your name ....well at least sometimes .

  4. @Bob - true, yet you can also remain anonymous. It's amazing how you can know someone in there for years, yet still know nothing about them. And, that's how a lot of people like it...