I spent two Easter Sunday’s in a row at the Mars Bar in the East Village when I lived in New York and they were two of the best Easters I ever had the pleasure to celebrate. I thought since today is Easter Sunday I’d put up some pictures of those Easter adventures from days gone by. Let’s take a trip back to the past.
Easter Sunday at the Mars Bar—April 4th 2010—365 Bars
I tried to go to the Mars Bar for my 365 Bar Crawl adventure on Saturday, March 27th but the bartender told me that I would have to get permission to take photos inside of the bar. I was kind of amazed, considering the Mars Bar was kind of a place where anything goes, but I wasn’t going to ruffle any feathers, so I left my card and said I’d call back to see if I could come back later. So I called back and the bartender told me that the only day I could take pictures in there was the upcoming Sunday, which was Easter Sunday. I told her I’d love to spend Easter Sunday in the Mars Bar, so I marked it on my calendar and a week later I was on my way for my first Easter Sunday at the Mars Bar. And it went something like this...
Here we are at the Mars Bar. As you can see, it's a pretty different looking bar. The outside was always a changing work of art and was constantly being repainted. Inside...well, let's just go inside and I'll show you the bar.
And here we are inside of the Mars Bar. As you can see, the walls are covered with graffiti and art and I don't think the place had ever been cleaned. I went in and asked the bartender if I could take her photo and she was nice but said no. After that everyone followed suit and said no to my picture taking. I took this one shot and a couple of guys told me to fuck off and things were not going well. The crowd wasn't taking to the "365 Bars Guy," and I was starting to wonder if this stop was going to be a dud. I thought about leaving and going somewhere else when all of a sudden...
A guy at the end of the bar asked if I wanted to draw on a mannequin that others had been drawing on. I later learned that his name was Hamlet and I told him I'd love to draw on it. I think this was a little test to see if I was a square or not. He then asked if he could take pictures of me since I had been asking people to take their picture. I told him that I'd love it if he would. Everyone at the bar was taking notice of this and I stepped up to the plate and started drawing.
Here's the picture I drew and when I was done, Hamlet applauded me by clapping his hands and the whole bar joined in. It was that moment that I felt I was accepted at the Mars Bar. I knew that this was going to be a great post and a wonderful Easter Sunday.
Hamlet took a photo of me at the bar and I asked if I could take his photo and he said, "Sure."
Here's Hamlet, holding a book of his art and Terry who was seated nearby. This was the moment that the tide really turned and people started wanting to get their picture taken. The "365 Bars Guy" had been fully accepted into the Mars Bar and the Easter Sunday celebration was getting into full swing.
Terry asked if I'd take a picture of him holding his Easter art, it's the Easter Bunny hanging on a cross. Ha!
Here's Ray at the bar. After this Sunday I became a semi-regular at the Mars Bar and whenever I'd see Ray he'd always say to me, "Well if you're going to twist my arm, I guess you can buy me a drink!" And I'd buy him a drink...life at the Mars Bar!
I got a kick out of this, there was a Marty decal on the cash register!
Fast forward a few hours and many, many beers later, I announced to the bar that it was Easter Sunday and we should have an Easter dinner at the Mars Bar. So I called up Two Boots pizza and ordered two large pies to be delivered to the Mars Bar. The guy who took the order said he had never delivered to the Mars Bar and asked me to swear that I would pay for them. Ha! I swore I would, they showed up and I not only paid but gave the guy a good tip for delivering them on a holiday. Everybody at the bar loved this and it really turned the evening into a celebration. Several people bought me shots and I ended up getting really fucked up.
Speaking of fucked up, these two kids stumbled in and they were wasted and fit right into the scheme of things. There names were Denise and Rafael. I think they were from Portugal, but at this point I was on automatic pilot and I'm not really too sure. I barely remember taking this photo.
The next day I woke up with a horrific hangover and had to put up my daily 365 bars post. I downloaded the photos and was happy with what I had. It was one of those days that started out as what I thought would be a bust and ended up a highlight on my 365 day bar crawl. You can read the whole post here.
Easter Sunday at the Mars Bar—April 24th, 2011—Marty After Dark
Okay, just a little over a year later I was pretty much a regular and known at the Mars Bar after having bought everyone pizza the year before. I had finished the 365 Bar Crawl and had started another blog called, Marty After Dark. Buying pizza was a big hit the year before, so I wanted to think of something special to do that year. I decided to make a special Easter cake and you can follow along on the adventure below.
Here's the cake. Jesus Fucking Christ! I added the bit about Michael O'Keefe's birthday because I had learned that it fell on that year's Easter Sunday via fellow NYC blogger, EV Grieve.
And here we are a year later. By now I had become a semi-regular at Mars Bar and didn't have to bother asking permission for photos as i had gotten to know the owner, Hank and was considered part of the Mars Bar gang. The bad news was that Hank had sold the place and the end of the Mars Bar was near. Hence the words, "Thanks For The Memories," painted on top of the bar. Everyone was dreading the closing of the Mars Bar.
The cake was a big hit and another Easter celebration was well under way. Here I am with Hamlet and the cake.
I forget this bartender's name, but she happily posed with the Easter cake. It got passed all around the bar and everyone was cracking up at it. And of course the drinks were flowing fast and freely. They always did at the Mars Bar.
Here's Bob Arihood who was a friend and a known photographer and presence in the East Village. Bob was a great guy and documented the East Village on his blog, Neither more nor less. He died in the fall of 2011 and it was such a shock and a loss for New York City when he died. R.I.P. Bob, you were one of the good guys. Glad I got to know you.
The cake was a real hit at the bar and people were taking photos of it.
Here's my friend Goggla who showed up to join in the festivities. Goggla was a regular at Mars Bar and documented the place on her blog, Gog in NYC.
Terry shows off a picture of a wrecking ball smashing the Mars Bar. A sign of the times to come.
I really liked this woman's art and had a major crush on her, so...
I took a second photo and asked if I could buy her a drink. Sadly her boyfriend showed up shortly after this photo was taken and he whisked her away and that was the end of that!
My graffiti was still there over a year later.
The bathroom at the Mars Bar was always an unsettling experience, no matter how many times you had been there. It didn’t matter how plastered you were, it was always a sobering moment taking a piss in there.
Fast forward a few hours and many drinks later, I took the plastic cover off the cake and myself, Goggla and others at the bar started adding things to it.
Someone put their drink in the center of the cake...
Then they took it back out and someone added a paper plate to the mix.
The cake is quickly becoming a work of art as two beer bottles are placed on top of it.
Shortly after this photo was taken, I stumbled out and took a cab home. On July 18th, 2011, the Mars Bar closed and it was the end of an era for a lot of us. I'm glad I was able to be a part of that scene for a little while. Happy Easter and we'll see you all tomorrow!
Bonus Mars Bar Art From Jaws the Cabbie!
Jaws the Cabbie put the Mars Bar where it belongs...on Mars! Thanks, Jaws!