Good morning, East Village.
Prepare for another hot one today, as an excessive heat warning and air quality alert are in effect today for the entire city. Cooling centers will be open through Saturday, and you can find one here or by calling 311.
In other neighborhood news, a truck used by the firefighters of Ladder Company 3 on 9/11 returned to the former site of the World Trade Center. Twelve firefighters from the company lost their lives when the North Tower collapsed. In a ceremony Wednesday, firefighters were honored as their truck was lowered into the 9/11 Memorial and Museum where it will remain permanently.
Back in the East Village, the lot at 417 East 12th Street is about to get a major facelift. EV Grieve is reporting that Montreal-based architect Karl Fischer, designer of multiple luxury towers along the Bowery, is designing a six-story, 11-unit residence.
In other building news, it’s moving day on 11-17 Second Avenue. Today, the final two tenants of the “Mars Bar” building will officially leave when John Vaccaro and Joe’s Locksmith close the doors behind them for one last time.
And tonight, “Star Trek” will be playing in Tompkins Square Park as part of the Epix free movie series. The Local is told that Gilbert Gottfried will be on hand to introduce the show.
Phillip Kalantzis Cope Mars Bar closed its doors Monday.
It happened a little before 4 p.m. The patrons were let out, the door was shut. And with the resignation of a whimper in place of the much anticipated bang, Mars Bar closed, forever.
On any other afternoon, the iconic bar — a symbol of a time gone by for a neighborhood experiencing an era of commercial development — would be sprinkled with regulars yakking away about the day’s gossip with a sympathetic young bartender.
Debates over the distinction, if any, between bands like Foreigner and Journey would be overheard as music from John Fogerty to Wesley Willis bounced off the bar’s graffiti-laden walls. Glasses of whiskey and discount red wine would be filled to the top, and the beer was always served ice cold.
But by late Monday afternoon, Mars Bar had finally served its last drink.
Raymond Bell, 60, a longtime regular with a taste for red wine, described being on the scene Monday afternoon when the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene closed the bar down — only a few weeks before the building’s demolition to make way for a new 12-story condo.
“I didn’t even get to finish my last drink,” he said. While other customers lingered outside, Mr. Bell said he “just walked away.”
Phillip Kalantzis Cope
Good morning, East Village.
With the days numbered for 11-17 Second Avenue — perhaps better known as the site of Mars Bar — The Times published an in-depth piece Sunday recalling the history of the block and the lives of the residents who lived there. And, in case you missed it, The Local’s Ian Duncan offered an investigative report Friday about the developer of the site, which is home to the iconic Mars Bar.
The Women’s World Cup wrapped up last night, and though Team U.S.A. lost in the final in penalty kicks, it did not stop fans, and CNN, from spending the day at Zum Schneider.
Some new breakfast options will line 14th Street, EV Grieve reports, including an International House of Pancakes and the relocation of the coffee and smoothie bar, Xoom. And just a couple blocks away, The Bean will be opening a new location on Broadway and 12th Street, just across the street from Strand Book Store.
And DNAinfo tells us that a new mural honoring women’s suffrage is planned for the same Avenue C site where a controversial mural featuring President Obama once stood.
Ian Duncan The site BFC will develop, 11-17 Second Avenue – the current home of Mars Bar – is squeezed in among the much larger Avalon Bowery Place development
For Donald Capoccia, the developer behind 11-17 Second Avenue — the new apartment complex to be built on the current site of Mars Bar — the project is a return, after a decade away, to the East Village — the neighborhood where he launched his career and where he left his mark during the gentrification of the late 1990’s.
BFC Partners, Mr. Capoccia’s company, was responsible for the construction of hundreds of units of affordable housing in the East Village at a time when property values in the area were taking off. But the firm also became mired in a bitter dispute with residents over the destruction of community gardens to make way for Eastville Gardens, a mixed income development on Avenue C between East Seventh and East Eighth Streets.
Despite some rumblings over the loss of Mars Bar, a relic of the rough-and-tumble East Village of the 1980’s, the reception for the current project could hardly have been more different. In the past decade, the neighborhood has changed dramatically: when the 12-story building rises, it will stand among the much larger Avalon development on East Houston and Bowery. So far, BFC’s plan is going smoothly and Mr. Capoccia stands by his record.
“Housing production of that type in a neighborhood that was changing so rapidly is a great asset,” Mr. Capoccia said in a recent interview. Referring to low-income owners of units at the co-op he added, “community gardens are also a good asset but what was going on in the East Village then and where we are today, clearly a lot of these people wouldn’t be able to afford to live in the neighborhood.”