East Village resident Ori Carino's mural on the rolldown gate outside the former Mars Bar was a familiar site in recent years on East First Street.
The bar, and other buildings along here on Second Avenue were demolished in the fall of 2011 to make way for the 12-story Jupiter 21.
One nearby resident, a fan of the bar and of the mural, wondered what was going to happen to the gate when workers tore down the building. At this point, Mars Bar owner Hank Penza had already removed the bar, jukebox, etc.
The resident shared some background:
They were going to destroy a building to build condos ... that had beautiful graffiti covering the exterior walls and security garage rolldown. I contacted the developer to see if anyone had requested the rolldown, as it was assumably detachable from the building and could be preserved. I offered to pay if needed and he said he would contact me when they had taken it down. I'd have to make arrangements to transport it offsite.
They called me the day before Thanksgiving  to tell me that I had to pick it up the day after Thanksgiving at 8 a.m., otherwise it would be turned into scrap. I had not made any arrangements. I needed help moving it, a truck to move it in and a place to store it — at 11 feet by 12 feet, there wasn't a wall large enough wall to display it on in my two-bedroom apartment.
After some frantic searching, I discovered that Moishe's offered free pick-up with three months of storage, solving all my problems in one swift motion.
However. The three months turned into 18 months, "so in many ways I did end up paying a fair chunk after all." Now, though, the resident has more than half of the former gate on his apartment wall. The remaining pieces are in his aunt's basement for the time being.
He also was able to salvage another piece of the gate.
We asked the resident about why he saved it.
"I love street art — graffiti, stickers, tags, etc. Most of the pieces I'd love to have on my own walls are unattainable — permanently affixed, illegally done [and] commissioning a piece from the artist is too expensive," he said. "I had never heard of someone getting one of these in this fashion, but I had nothing to lose. It worked out alright, but my eyes might have been a bit bigger than my stomach because I didn't have a space to hang it — eventually I will."