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Mars Bar to be Demolished in August: Tenants Will Get $10 Apartments in New Building

By DNAinfo Staff on June 12, 2011 3:45pm  | Updated on June 13, 2011 7:11am

By Tim Gorta

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

EAST VILLAGE - Famous 1st Street watering hole, Mars Bar, will be ripped down in August to make way for a luxury housing development, according to a published report.

And in an eye-popping deal worthy only of a dive, nine former tenants of the building at 25 E. 1st St. will be able to buy back into the new development for a mere $10, reports Crain's New York.

Among the lucky ones who live above the grungy saloon at the corner of 1st Street and Second Avenue and an adjoining building are an elderly playwright and a drag queen, according to the report. 

Two years after leaving the 1920s building, they will be able to return and cash in on the out-of-this world deal in the new, 12-story digs.

Despite the deal, not all of the tenants are excited about it.

"Look at this stuff all around us, all these high-rises. Everywhere you look. Behind us. West of us," tenant John Vaccaro, 81, told Crain's. "It bothers me that New York has changed so much. It's not the New York I came to."

Mars Bar was a vestige of a grittier era in the East Village when it was filled with abandoned buildings and gripped by crime.

"It's the end of an era," Steve Herrick, executive director of the Cooper Square Committee, told Crain's.

The bar's fate was sealed last December when a plan from developer BFC Partners was revealed.

Permits to demolish the bar were filed in May.

Mars Bar, in better days.
Mars Bar, in better days.
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DNAinfo/Patrick Hedlund