At the Times this past weekend, Dan Glass checks in with an article on the artistic history of the Mars Bar. And there's this passage about the bar's debut:
When the bar opened in 1984, at First Street and Second Avenue, the facade was gleaming. “We thought, 'Oh no, another sushi bar; there goes the neighborhood,'" said Jim Sizelove, who was part of the rowdy art scene called the Rivington School.
As Glass notes, that crowd hung out at the bar/performance space No Se No at 42 Rivington St. near Forsythe. When No Se No closed several years later, "Mars became the unlikely new home."
Fortunately, there is a well-curated website for The Rivington School and No Se No. You can find it here.
A few shots from the site... showing the bar's exterior and interior...
Per an essay by Freddie the Dreamer: "Getting to No Se No on Rivington Street was a trip through shattered and burnt buildings, empty lots of scattered bricks bordered by sagging cyclone fences, once were homes but now were fields where whores and junkies were busy about. Respite from the desperation of the streets, warmed with thick smoke and black lights, cheap beer and whiskey, through the door of No Se No and the magic of life became an impending adventure."
There are also photos and background on The Rivington School Sculpture Garden on Rivington at Forsythe featuring Cowboy Ray. (Access that here.)
The garden-clubhouse was adjacent to Adam Purple's space. The city bulldozed the Rivington School Sculpture Garden in late November 1987.
[All images ©1980-2009 rivingtonschool.com and photos ©1980-2009 Toyo Tsuchiya]