Friday, May 29, 2009

So this guy walks into the Mars Bar in a green shirt with a pink sweater around his shoulders...



When he walked in, I thought he was lost. I expected him to say, "Excuse me, where's the Bowery Wine Company?"

But he didn't. He ordered a drink.

Did he lose a bet? People don't usually walk into the Mars Bar wearing yellow sneakers, green shirts, and pink sweaters draped over their shoulders.

A few people stared.



Trying to get my head around it, I've told this story to several people this past week. Their first reaction has usually been, "Seriously?" Someone asked me if the guy got his ass kicked. No. We're not in high school, though I often think I'm living in one on weekends. The thing is, we're so used to seeing entitled young professionals in the neighborhood, we hardly give it a second thought. It has been happening for years. Usually it's much more intrusive than someone simply having one drink and leaving. Somewhere last Friday, Bloomberg was likely smiling. It's still the city of his dreams, built in his likeness.



Everything is so watered down that even someone dressed like a dish of sherbet can walk into the Mars Bar. Nothing is sacred. Bloomy and the gold-mining developers have beaten the city into submission. They're vampires and they've drained the remaining drops of lifeblood from what was once the most vibrant, potent city anywhere.

But is it too late?

[Bloomy photo via]

47 comments:

Jeremiah Moss said...

reminds me of the james spader character in "pretty in pink."

EV Grieve said...

Steff!

Bowery Boogie said...

dressed like that, you'd get your ass kicked anywhere. except the country club.

Ken Mac said...

If they did kick his ass the cops would show and that would restore some grit to the corner. But he's just some guy in pink and doesn't deserve that. Money is so oblivious.

esquared said...

I've seen them, too at Holiday Cocktail lounge, along with the frat boys. That's when I decided to leave EV. It was fun while it lasted.

That douche was, is, and always will be nada!

Goggla said...

Mwahaha! And I thought I was tempting fate by wearing a dress.

Did he venture into the bathrooms?

Anonymous said...

What about the yellow keds?

jon said...

This is solved easily enough, just grunge up the wine bar.

bryan said...

Awesome post/photos. Reminded me of this jaw-dropping article from the Times in 2007 about Bar Martignetti, the now defunct bland, overpriced bar in my neighborhood that promoted itself as a safe place for preppies downtown. Imagine! Preppies, a persecuted class with no place to go for an expensive drink!

Paul C. said...

People should go to the bars they want to go to, even if they're partial to pink sweaters. I "get" why folks find this sort of thing shocking, but...there are better objections to New York's current trajectory. It's basically saying that certain people belong in certain places, and others don't — which, I think, is not very productive.

Anonymous said...

I've always thought that "high school" summed up this blog pretty well.

EV Grieve said...

Does this mean that you're not helping with the float?

Mark said...

yes, it's too late, we've lost our neighborhood. it's officially gone.

hntrnyc said...

If the preppies can breach the defenses of the Mars Bar and suffer no casualties, will they then feel safe anywhere? Hmmmmm.......can't be a good thing.

Anonymous said...

No offense meant, but a friend of mine (who was a rugby player in Glasgow and looked like Telly Savalas with a hell of a lot scars on his dome), thought there was nothing funnier than drinking at Mars Bar in a business suit. This was about 1990, and his great line was "Punks turn into hippies pretty quick when you're bigger than them." Obviously the guy in the photo is a bit of a douche, but I'm not sure he's any more contrived than the crowd at Mars Bar these days.

Anonymous said...

so this guy had to audacity to walk into mars bar wearing that. And he expected to be able to order a drink and mind his own business? Save it for the club is right.

The Biggest Pants said...

that's me.

prodigal son said...

Agree with the second to last comment. That area was lost when they built the shopping mall -its a shopping mall, right? next door to the Mars Bar. If you approach the bar walking along 2nd Avenue, everything seems normal. If you approach it walking east down 1st Street, it looks like some weird theme bar at the mall.

I like the bar but honestly wouldn't blame the owners if they decided to sell out at this point.

In terms of it being too late, it looks like the bailout will be successful in at least keeping the financial industry afloat (too bad for the rust belt). New York needed a good economic downturn to keep from becoming a monoculture.

Karen Lillis said...

That guy didn't know whether to shit or go sailing.

Great post, EV.

Karen Lillis said...

Let's see, I used to have a running survey, Which thing had the single worst effect on the flavor of NYC?: Giuliani, Sex in the City, Friends, Time Out New York, KMart at Astor Place, Barnes & Noble...Anyone else care to add?

Anonymous said...

didn't you guys get the memo? preppy is the new punk, and srsly why would you judge? It's not like the Mars Bar is some bastion of authenticity because it hasn't been renovated in years. It's a crummy, smelly and honestly, kind of shitty bar. I am a native, and used to hang around there before shows at CBs and frankly think that this guy has more balls, and is probably more punk, than everyone of these commenters combined.

ak said...

eh, mars bar has a huge wide variety of clientele.

and this whole commenter conversation reminds me of those ive-been-in-ny-x-amount-of years/this-place-is-less-cool-than-x-years-ago/this-place-has-gotten-so-gentrified etc.. bar conversations. geez, i think i'm gonna need a vodka or five.

ak said...

tho, i forgot to add - "dish of sherbet" is hilarious wording.

prodigal son said...

This is getting ridiculous. Wearing a pink shirt and green sweater is not "punk". And its also something I would do a double take on in Midtown, let alone a dive bar.

The conversations about how things are less cool happen because things really are less cool. The complaining is happening because you get get country club just about anywhere else in the US. If you lose what was unique about New York, you just get a more expensive and crowded version of the rest of the US, which kind of sucks.

Anonymous said...

Back in 1997 this sweater guy would have gotten his ass kicked, albeit, by a drunken heroin addict who couldn't do a lot of damage, but still....

Cary said...

"Where's Bowery Wine Company?" Funny. I have a shot of knuckle-tattooed guy texting inside Mars from several years ago: http://www.visualdiaries.com/nostalgia13.html and a guy smoking outside with an early iPod: http://www.visualdiaries.com/variance15.html Can't help myself from staring every time I walk by.

Larry Slade said...

Bowery Wine Company is right down First St, BTW Mars Bar & Bowery in the new building.

Screaming Queens Entertainment said...

I've been in the East Village for 20 years and have spent much of that time running around as a crazy drag queen. Personally I find the pink and green look kind of novel and interesting. It's certainly better than a frat boy look. Most guys wouldn't be caught dead in pink.

And, while I wouldn't call it "punk", there is certainly a dressed up "dandy" movement going on in alternative circles lately. Every other person on the street has been wearing distressed jeans for a decade. It's refreshing to see someone with a look that's a bit more individual.

I also think the fact that he came in alone is commendable. it's not like a bunch of disruptive people came in and acted like assholes.

Anonymous said...

The Mars bar should have provided him proper attire like a good country club would. Surely they have an extra ratty leather jacket for a poor soul out of the proper uniform!

Anonymous said...

Brett! You need to work harder at keepin' your double life on the dl.

Elizabeth said...

I don't get it. Did this guy act obnoxious? Did he come in with ten friends and take up the whole bar? Was he yelling belligerently? Did he order a sour-apple martini? Or are you so-called New Yorkers all judging this guy solely on what he was wearing? I was raised to think that New York equalled live and let live; can't that extend to drink and let drink, no matter the color of one's sweater?

Anonymous said...

That guy is more punk rock than anyone in the bar, and anyone on this blog.

Anonymous said...

what, did someone post your pic on Look At This Fucking Hipster, so now you have to mock non-hipsters in return?

Karen Lillis said...

>>The Mars bar should have provided him proper attire like a good country club would. Surely they have an extra ratty leather jacket for a poor soul out of the proper uniform!<<

This is my favorite comment now. What a great idea. Reminds me that Richard Leck told me stories about restaurants in midtown in the early 60s that had a rack of coats for downtowners who didn't have one. You had to wear one to be seated, so...

ak said...

"Screaming Queens Entertainment" has my favorite comment yet - so true, so true.

and truth be told, there prolly is a ratty soiled shirt or leather something for the guy to wear if he so desired. basically, if the guy fuckin tipped, he's awesome by me.

ducky said...

The thing is, if a punk person were to walk in to one of these wine or hotel bars, he/she would probably be turned away at the door. And if they do make it past the door, they would either get shitty service or no service at all and be ridiculed by the patrons. Point being, what goes around comes around.

A punk person is offensive to the sanitized yunnies. And this guy is offensive to the punks. He need not be rude, loud or take up the whole bar with 10 other people to be offensive.

I'm sure most of the commenters here that had defended this guy have judged people based on one's appearance on the street/work/restaurants, such as wearing white after labor day, mixing incompatible colors or outfits, etc. etc.

Yes, NYC or EV is about individuality, but ever since this fellow and his Bloomberg clones have gentrified NYC, that individuality is out of the door.

If they expect us to conform to the SATC norms, then they should also conform to the MARS aesthetics. Then again, they are narcissists; they only think of themselves. He probably needed some sort of feeling of superiority by going into MARS bar.

ak said...

only what are "MARS aesthetics"? other than "blindingly drunk" - i'm not really sure what the aesthetics are.

Karen said...

I didn't like Scream Queen's comment: >>Personally I find the pink and green look kind of novel and interesting. It's certainly better than a frat boy look. <<

Where I come from, frat boys and preppie pink and greens were the same thing. I went to school at a disturbingly preppie place where the preps/frat boys were pretty racist, smug, oblivious, and money hungry. I escaped to downtown New York 5 days after graduation. I didn't appreciate it when the preps started feeling comfortable downtown, because they already felt WAY TOO comfortable all over the rest of the East Coast. Let the freaks have 2 fucking square miles.

Anonymous said...

i've got an idea:

apply just the slightest bit of critical thought to this scenario and consider, just momentarily, that perhaps there's a better way to judge one's merit than how he/she is dressed.

is this a highschool hallway, for god's sake? grow the fuck up. further more, you missed the fucking point. bars like mars bar, and neighborhoods like the east village aren't about homogony, they're about open-mindedness. They're not about carving out a place of our own, they're about carving out a place where anybody can be anything. and that includes people that you all didn't like at your yuppie, 40k private colleges.

fucking deal with it. you are the exact opposite of openminded. and why is that the case? because you don't think you have to consciously be open-minded. you think your "downtown" clothes establish it for you.

idiots.

Anonymous said...

And anon 9:41's comment above is the freakin best comment of all. Amazing that the "downtown individualists" who don't want to be judged do the same exact judging. Whoever this guy was, and for whatever reason he dressed like that, my first thought was this is probably some guy dressing like this (come on, it's pretty extreme, even for a true prep) just for the irony, to just fuck with everyone around him and at the bar. But who knows? All it looks to me is some guy, dressed completely differently than everyone else at the bar, comes in to relax and have a drink.

ak said...

ok, but WAS HE TIPPING?! and not like that "oh, here's a freaking quarter for your troubles on this $4.75 drink" but like "here's $1 or $1.25 or $5.00 (heh) for your troubles."

hint. hint. nudge.

Goggla said...

You're all over-thinking this. Have any of you actually been in? I spent over 8 hours in there yesterday (yeah, call me what ever you want) and I can tell you no one gives a sh*t what you wear.

An asshole is an asshole...if you go in, tip decently, keep your mouth shut and don't pick a fight, it's a great place to hang out. I go there because they treat me like family. People seem to project their fantasies on this place - you want it to be a punk hellhole, that's what you see. You want it to be your secret hideaway where you can be anonymous, that's what it is. You can make it the new kitchy place to be as well...it's just a bar, albeit one that houses some of the most colorful characters in the city and just happens to be a portal to hell.

Go in on a Sunday and you'll actually find many of the regulars all dolled up. Most of them clean up quite nicely.

EV Grieve said...

Well said, Goggla.

Eden Bee said...

I am not the guy wearing the sweater, but if I had to make an educated guess I would venture to say that under that sweater he may well be sporting a spectacular Three Wolves Moon Tshirt.
http://www.amazon.com/Three-T-Shirt-Available-Various-Sizes/dp/B000NZW3IY

Erik said...

Why can't a guy just have a drink in a bar without you haters judging and looking down on him??? You don't know him. I hang at the Mars Bar too, in my eyes It's a sweet bar run by open minded people. I would love to see something different than old smelly Lou Reed neverwas and wannabes hanging at my joint day in and day out.. Sluta hata så jävla mycket!!!

sunflowerpipes.com said...

That asshole stole my pink sweater!!!

esquared™ said...

He had that certain confidence in his bearing, that democratic interest in his surroundings, and that understated presumption of friendliness that are only found in young men who have been raised in the company of money and manners. It didn't occur to people like this that they might be unwelcome in a new environment--and as a result, they rarely were.

--Amor Towles, Rules of Civility